Friday, January 11, 2008

Hillary's New Gaffe - The Elite's Constant Refrain

Last year conservative Americans all but blew a gasket as the watched the Republican party leadership try desperately to pass President Bush's "comprehensive immigration reform" (read: AMNESTY) bill - a bill that the White House and GOP leaders had written in close consultation with Democrat open borders enthusiasts like Ted Kennedy, sponsor of the original 1965 immigration act that opened America's borders to the non-Western world. The vehement response of rank-and-file republican voters, who bombarded GOP lawmakers with emails, letters, faxes and phone calls threatening to withdraw their votes and dollars from the party, forced the GOP amnesty supporters to back down and the bill failed. The lesson for republicans was that amnesty is a four letter word and immigration enforcement was what republican voters wanted. (That lesson hasn't stopped the open borders GOP crowd, however. The border fence, once promised, is now being quietly killed with GOP acquiescence.)

But the GOP isn't the only party whose elite is sharply disconnected from the voters. The democrat party elite embrace open borders even more fervently than the republicans - and with the open hope that immigration with erase the US's white majority and thus increase the country's racial diversity and thus its political power base. The problem is that the democrat voters don't necessarily share their party's elite's open borders enthusiasm. And to the extent that democrat leaders and candidate misread the wishes of their voters, they may well end up falling into the same trap the GOP did.

Hillary Clinton is a prime example. The Clinton campaign cruised solidly through last summer with its "aura of inevitability" very secure. No one doubted that she would be party's nominee (and she may well still be). Then in a democrat debate in late October, Mrs. Clinton stumbled - and stumbled badly. Asked whether she supported New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's recently announced plans to give state drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants, Mrs. Clinton tap-danced around the question, defending the governor, but refusing to answer the question. Her opponents pounced on her failure to provide a clear answer to a simple question. The next day Mrs. Clinton affirmed that she did indeed support the plan.

This proved that Mrs. Clinton and the democrat party's leadership (both in New York and nationwide) are every bit as deaf to their base as their GOP counterparts. Why? Because even in liberal New York State, Spitzer's plan constituted an act of political suicide with voters. According to polls taken at the time, 75 percent of New Yorkers strongly opposed the governor's plans. In fact, Spitzer's approval numbers, already battered by a minor press scandal, collapsed after he announced his plan. Faced with a firestorm from his own constituents, and some say, fury from the Clinton staff, Spitzer hastily abandoned his plan just two weeks after it tripped Clinton up.

It is impossible to believe that Mrs. Clinton was unaware of the popular opposition against Spitzer's plan. Even if her focus is entirely on pursuing national office, her New York office staff and her campaign staff must have seen the polls - one assumes they do at least read the New York newspapers. This is why she tap-danced at the debate. Like most democrat leaders, Hillary wholeheartedly accepts leftist dogma about multiculturalism, the value of diversity, and the need for mass immigration to build up the party's voter base. But she also knows that the party's white, working class base is deeply ambivalent to, or opposes outright, the effort to change the nation's demographic and cultural landscape, and that many black and even native born Latino voters resent illegal immigrants. Still, she couldn't resist ultimately siding with the governor because she needed to appease the political elite who run her party (and the GOP, too) and because she didn't want to offend Latino voters, who constitute a growing portion of the democrat vote. So, just like President Bush and many leading GOP office holders, she dismissed the concerns of more than three quarters of her constituents, and embraced what they detested.

Since this, the Clinton campaign has faltered badly, leading to her stunning defeat in Iowa and her scramble to hold off the Obama challenge. One wonders what the state of her campaign would be today if she had denounced Governor Spitzer's plan that night and called for greater enforcement.

But the lesson of the Spitzer plan debacle has apparently been lost on Mrs. Clinton. Campaigning in a heavily Latino neighborhood in Las Vegas, Nevada, this week, Mrs. Clinton demonstrated her inability to understand the American electorate once again.

Clinton and her busload of traveling press moved from there to the popular local Mexican restaurant Lindo Michoacan, where a "roundtable" that was actually square passed a microphone around to tell her people's concerns about the mortgage crisis and foreclosures. She took notes and munched on tortilla chips.

In broken English, one woman told Clinton how she wasn't making money as a broker anymore.

"I have no income at all," she said. "So how will I survive?"

Choking up with emotion, the woman said, "In my neighborhood, there are brand-new homes, but the value is nothing. I'm glad you are here so I can tell you, because you're going to be the president, I know."

A man shouted through an opening in the wall that his wife was illegal.

"No woman is illegal," Clinton said, to cheers.

That's exactly the sort of statement that may come back to haunt her, since it flies in the face of the expressed opinions of the majority of Americans who want illegal immigration stopped.

True, the other democrat candidates support open borders immigration and amnesty for illegals as well, but they have avoided making an issue out of it. And the Republicans, who have now almost uniformly embraced immigration enforcement, find themselves fighting an uphill battle trying to resurrect their fortunes amidst the economic and political mess created by the Bush administration's financial mismanagement and foreign policy disasters. Indeed, the fallout from President Bush's two terms has been the fracturing of the republican coalition, disillusionment and detachment among any republican voters and a highly motivated surge of left-of-center and moderate voters to push the GOP out of the White House.

Right now it's still the democrat's election to lose, and Hillary's nomination to lose before that. But if Mrs. Clinton and, ultimately, her party, continue to badly misread the voters, then no one else will be to blame for the outcome.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More Scenes from the Democracy in Kenya

The post-election violence in Kenya continues, reaching ever greater depths of depravity.

SYLVIA MUDEGU knew she was in grave danger in the violent aftermath of Kenya’s disputed presidential election when there was a tremendous hammering on the door of her home.

As she heard the sound of wood breaking, she put her hand over the mouths of her children Esther, 18 months, and Rose, 3, and hid behind a curtain. “Don’t move. Don’t make a noise,” she whispered.

Minutes later the 20-year-old woman was begging for her life. Men wielding sticks and machetes poured into her house, a two-room tin-roofed shack in a malodorous slum on the eastern side of Nairobi, grabbed her hair and dragged her outside.

All around, she saw homes on fire and people fleeing as arsonists and looters tore through the slum taking vengeance on anyone perceived to have voted for President Mwai Kibaki.

Kibaki is a member of Kenya’s largest tribe, the Kikuyu, and the attackers went on the rampage believing he had stolen the election from his challenger, Raila Odinga, in order to stay in power for five more years. Odinga is the leader of the smaller Luo tribe.

Mudegu knew what to expect next. The men from Odinga’s Luo tribe would rape her. With other women, she was taken to a stream by the edge of the slum.

“They raped even the old women,” she said. The screams went on and on. “One girl was 12, and at 12 you know how to scream loudest.”

* * *

As rival mobs were hacking each other with machetes the cruelty of the violence could be seen in the gaping wounds that nurses were washing and bandaging in Nairobi’s hospitals.

There was one teenage boy whose body was perfectly whole except for a calf severed to the bare bone. He had been brought from the slum in a wheelbarrow and his eyes were still wild with fear. Another had a wound in the back from a police bullet. The city morgue was heaped high with bodies.

On Wednesday, during a momentary lull in the fighting, a woman gave birth to a baby girl in the street amid the cheers of the crowd. She had been trying to reach a nearby dispensary but stopped for fear of being killed. Then the fighting began again.

“I cannot believe this is my country,” said a Kenyan businessman when he saw the misery. “We saw these pitiful scenes with refugees from the Sudan and Rwanda and now we are seeing them here in the heart of our own capital. It is unbelievable.

The explosive violence now shattering Kenya stands as a sharp rebuke to those who held Kenya as a model for African democracy.

The election was projected as a milestone in Kenya’s advance to a more mature democracy. In 2002 Kibaki had put down the first marker on this path when he won a multi-party election that ended Moi’s autocratic rule. Odinga helped in his victory. But the two fell out and became political opponents.

On December 27, Kenyans voted, with Odinga consistently ahead in opinion polls. He won a parliamentary majority, but two days after election day, delays in counting for the presidential contest and rumours of electoral fraud sparked riots.

Last Sunday, Kibaki was declared the winner by 231,728 votes, even though Odinga had led by a substantial margin in preliminary results. Kibaki was sworn in secretively as 152 European Union observers declared the election deeply flawed.

Aggrieved at having apparently been cheated out of power, Luos went on the rampage against Kibaki’s Kikuyu supporters. Even mobile phone text messages called for violence. “Let’s wipe out the Mt Kenya mafia,” they read, a reference to Kibaki’s power base. “Kill two, get one free.”

Kenya, which has been colonized by both Europeans and Arabs, and most recently by the British, had been considered one of the most stable nations in Africa, a refuge from the insanity that plagues its neighbors and a hope for the continent's future. But, in fact, the appearance of stability in Kenya is now exposed as illusory and the tribalism that marks the rest of the continent now waters Kenyan soil in blood.

The speed of Kenya’s unravelling has been breathtaking. In Africa, one country after another has been racked by political violence, massacres, corruption and civil war. For 44 years, since independence from Britain, Kenya was largely the exception.

It is true that Jomo Kenyatta, its first leader, and his successor, Daniel arap Moi, countenanced little dissent and plundered the national treasury. But viewed against the savagery that descended on its neighbours – Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Rwanda – Kenya was a success story. It was an economic hub and a top tourist destination.

Hidden away were problems, however. Kenya is a mosaic of 42 tribes. But since independence the Kikuyu have dominated politically and economically.

Political patronage enabled them to settle across the country outside their densely populated traditional homeland near Mount Kenya. While poor Kikuyu drove communal taxis or ran street stalls, the wealthier ones owned the big businesses.

Their growing presence and economic power attracted resentment, especially in the Rift Valley in the west.

In the last elections many Kalenjin, the original Rift Valley inhabitants, backed Odinga. Other minor tribes threw in their lot with the flamboyant opposition leader, hoping for a better deal under a Luo president. This led to the closest-fought election in African history.

Tribalism is the normal condition of human existence. One of the greatest acheivements of Western Civilization was to weaken familial and tribal loyalties among Europeans - and even then only imperfectly - just enough to permit the rise of individualism and democratic states. This took centuries of trial and often hideous error in Europe, and only recently resulted in success, mostly in northern Europe and its colonies. The post-colonial nations of Africa may have inherited the legal and governmental structures of the former colonial powers, but not their culture, largely because Europeans never succeeded in establishing sufficiently large European populations in Africa. As European influence has ebbed, indigineous tribal identities, and hatreds, often exploited by the colonial governments, have reawakened, exposing both the deep fissures of African societies and some unpleasant truths about human nature. Group identification isn't only for Africans. It is a basic feature of human behavior. Competition between groups - especially ethnic or tribal groups - can be extremely violent because the stakes are perceived by group members as being very high. This is true everywhere.

Without a rapid solution, Kenya’s image as a haven of stability will be shattered. Thousands of western tourists have already been warned to keep away. The country’s billion-pound tourist industry is in jeopardy, and the unrest threatens Kenya’s impressive recent economic growth.

Although the violence softened at the end of the week, few expect the killing to stop until Kibaki and Odinga negotiate a compromise.

“The level of hatred is very high,” said a Red Cross official. “Violence of tribal origin is the worst. It knows no limits and is extremely difficult to quell.”

There is a pointed warning here, both to those who foolish propose democracy as the solution to all problems, and to those (usually the same group) who favor mass immigration of non-Westerners to Western nations. If the indigineous population of Kenya cannot help but fracture along ancient tribal lines, what will happen in Western nations whose ethnic makeup had been transformed by mass immigration and identity politics into a mosaic of disparate colors and ethnicities, in which the once dominant racial group is no longer dominant enough to hold the others in check?

Monday, January 07, 2008

A Murmur of Dissent

In Britain, a ranking Anglican cleric, Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester recently commented that in Muslim neighborhoods Christians often feel neither welcome, nor safe. British Muslims rapidly rose in their usual, well-choreographed stampede of outrage to demand that the archbishop be silenced, censured and expelled from his post. Surprisingly, so far the Anglican Church has not acceded to these demands, though given the Archbishop of Canterbury's well-known advanced case of political correctness, whether or not that holds is an open question.

The archbishop's remarks and the predictable reaction are causing some Britons to publiclly lay the blame for England's cultural balkanization directly at the feet of one ideology-turned-official-government-policy: multiculturalism. Writing in the Telegraph Philip Johnston lays out the irrefutable case.

However, few politicians have been willing to do what Michael Nazir-Ali has done, which is to question the impact of a growing Muslim population upon the very fabric of the nation, turning it within half a century into a multi-faith and multicultural land. It is hardly surprising, perhaps, for a Christian prelate to lament the powerful appeal of another faith challenging where his own once reigned supreme. Furthermore, the recent immigration of more than half a million eastern Europeans has delighted Roman Catholic leaders whose churches were full to bursting over Christmas.

But they share an historic and religious heritage. The issue that Bishop Nazir-Ali raised has more to do with our failure to integrate Muslims because our political elites were in thrall to what he called "the novel philosophy of multiculturalism". One consequence was the ease with which extremists exploited an emphasis on separatism to recruit among the more impressionable young men in their communities.

Attempts have been made to impose an "Islamic" character in some cities by insisting on artificial amplification for the adhan, the call to prayer, and even to introduce some aspects of sharia to civil law. Sitting in the background, seemingly stalled for the time being, are plans to establish Europe's largest markaz - an Islamic prayer and meeting area able to accommodate at least 40,000 people - right beside the site for the 2012 London Olympics, where it would be a potent icon of how Britain has changed.

In truth, the bishop has simply articulated what many in the Government and in the race relations world have already come to realise (and which most of the rest of us understood years ago), and that is the baleful consequences of three decades of multiculturalism. Last year, even the Commission for Racial Equality, once a cheerleader for the concept, recanted with a report that depicted Britain as an unequal and segregated nation in danger of breaking up.

Like Bishop Nazir-Ali, it feared that extremism was being fostered by the retreat of different groups behind their ethnic walls. For many years, those who wanted Britain to be recognised as a multicultural society which needed to revise, or even jettison, five centuries of Protestant hegemony held centre stage. Anyone who questioned it had their reputations trashed. The multiculturalists even coined an insult - Islamophobia - to try to close down the debate. Some of them yesterday accused the bishop of "scaremongering".

Americans should take strong notice of the disaster currently unfolding in Britain and throughout Europe, since the same thing is happening inside the US and Canada, through the mass immigration of non-Westerners, mostly Mexicans, to their shores. In America, too, any criticism of the invasion - or any defense of American culture - is attacked as "racist" or "nativist" - words meant to shut down any argument. And, as in Britain, in the US it is government policies that are driving the cultural destruction of the nation (the deliberate decision not to protect the border; the immigration laws that encourage non-Western peoples to migrate to the US).

Johnston makes the same error as many commentators, assuming the multiculturalism was originally conceived with benevolent intentions.

But while multiculturalism began as a facet of Britain's characteristic toleration of other people's ways, religions, cuisines, languages and dress, it metamorphosed into a political creed that held that ethnic minority groups should be allowed to do what they like. It became a guiding principle of governance. When he became prime minister in 1997, Tony Blair urged the nation to embrace multiculturalism. Almost 10 years later, as he prepared to leave Downing Street, he was making speeches informing immigrants they had "a duty" to integrate with the mainstream of society. "Conform to it; or don't come here. We don't want the hate-mongers, whatever their race, religion or creed," he said.

But the "hate-mongers" were already here; and if they weren't they found getting here easy enough. There was a ready-made audience for their anti-western rhetoric among some sections of the Muslim community who had become estranged from the rest of the country - not just from the white Christian majority but from everyone else. So estranged that some were, and still are, prepared to kill others and themselves. When Mohammed Siddique Khan, the leader of the July 7 suicide bombers, spoke in his "martyr video" of "the injustices perpetrated against my people" he did not mean the folk among whom he grew up in Yorkshire.

The real "hate-mongers" were those on the Left that created the ideal of multiculturalism, which was always intended as a Trojan Horse which would play upon Western values to destroy the West from within. It has been one of the most amazingly successful ideological campaigns in history, rotting the world's most powerful civilization from its core.

The problem for Britain and for the US (and the rest of the West) is that even as people wake up to the nightmare unfolding around them, simply exposing the ideology which has created the chaos does little to ameliorate it. Millions of non-Western immigrants are now firmly established within Western nations, busily creating their own little enclaves and enlarging their numbers. Their numbers - and Western fecklessness - give them the ability to resist assimilation (where that is even possible) and the power to exert change of the Western countries they are colonizing.