[Marxism] Obama's immigration speech echoes Bush in policy, rhetoric
dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Wed Jul 7 13:58:26 MDT 2010
> Obama's immigration speech echoes Bush in policy, rhetoric
> Both presidents took a centrist position while calling for more border
> security. They also favored a path to citizenship for immigrants and
> opposed rounding up those who were in the U.S. illegally.
> By Peter Nicholas, Tribune Washington Bureau
> 7:18 PM PDT, July 3, 2010
> Though he is quick to deride former President George W. Bush's
> performance in office, President Obama seems to think his predecessor
> gives a pretty good immigration speech.
> Obama's widely publicized speech on the controversial topic Thursday
> closely tracks, in rhetoric and basic policy, a speech Bush gave on the
> same subject in May 2006.
> Speaking at American University, Obama delivered an address intended to
> rally the nation behind a plan that would strengthen border security
> while providing a path to legal status for the estimated 12 million
> people living in the U.S. illegally.
> Obama's speech was longer than the one Bush delivered four years ago —
> 4,100 words compared with 2,600. Bush, speaking from the Oval Office,
> did not have to expend words thanking people. And Obama used the
> occasion to recap victories on healthcare and education.
> But in fundamental ways, the speeches carry the same message. The
> parallels show the two presidents — one a Republican, the other a
> Democrat — have staked out basically the same centrist position on
> The speeches also reveal similarities in ways presidents of both parties
> communicate with the public.
> After reading a transcript of Obama's immigration address, former Bush
> speechwriter Matt Latimer said in an e-mail that "this speech could
> almost word for word have been delivered by George W. Bush on the exact
> same subject. Do they just copy our old speeches?"
> Latimer, who wrote a book called "Speech-Less" that was critical of the
> Bush speechwriting operation, added, "That's not a compliment."
> The policy similarities are not that surprising. Bush, even before he
> ran for president, was at odds with many in his party on immigration. As
> governor of Texas, he challenged Republicans — including the California
> governor at the time, Pete Wilson — who took a hard line on immigration
> and wanted a crackdown on illegal immigrants.
> Bush's position was ultimately repudiated by his party and he was
> repeatedly rebuffed by Republicans in Congress when he offered proposals
> for tightening borders but also creating a path to citizenship for
> A White House official said Friday he did not believe that anyone
> examined Bush's old speeches while drafting the Obama address. Rather,
> the speech was written by a member of the president's speechwriting
> team, with Obama providing "a good deal of writing," the official said.
> Both speeches talk about immigrants who "live in the shadows." Both
> mention immigrants who came to the U.S. in search of "a better life."
> Both describe the U.S. as "a nation of immigrants" and reject calls to
> "round up" people who are here illegally.
> And both use the same language about business. Obama said businesses
> "must be held accountable" for hiring undocumented workers; Bush said,
> "We need to hold employers to account."
> Plunging into the body of his speech, Obama discussed how "in recent
> days the issue of immigration has become once more a source of fresh
> contention in our country." That's a reference to the strict new
> anti-illegal immigration law in Arizona, which has touched off protests
> and lawsuits.
> Bush, in his speech, alluded to a wave of street protests in favor of an
> immigration overhaul, saying, "The issue of immigration stirs intense
> emotions, and in recent weeks, Americans have seen those emotions on
> Neither Bush nor Obama wanted to be seen as neglecting border
> enforcement. Obama said that "government has a threshold responsibility
> to secure our borders," whereas Bush said that securing the border is "a
> basic responsibility of a sovereign state."
> Each president laid out steps they'd taken to prevent illegal crossings,
> using the same multipliers. Bush said he "doubled" the size of the
> Border Patrol; Obama said that he "doubled" the personnel assigned to
> border enforcement security "task forces."
> Yet neither claimed that the borders are impregnable. Bush said, "We do
> not yet have full control of the border." Obama said that the Mexican
> border is more secure than ever, but acknowledged that "that doesn't
> mean we don't have more work to do."
> Both speeches use a device in which they rejected what they portrayed as
> extreme positions — blanket amnesty on the one hand, and deportation of
> all illegal immigrants on the other.
> Instead of those extremes, each president said, the country should adopt
> a more moderate alternative in which illegal immigrants could gain legal
> status by meeting tough requirements.
> Bush said immigrants must "pay their taxes" and "learn English." Obama
> used the same language — "pay their taxes" and "learn English," among
> other things.
> And at some point in each speech, the president told an inspiring story
> of an immigrant who came to the U.S., joined the military and gained
> Bush mentioned Guadalupe Denogean from Mexico, who joined the Marines
> and was wounded in Iraq. Obama's example was Perla Ramos, who came to
> the U.S. from Mexico after the Sept. 11 attacks, joined the Navy and
> became a citizen.
> peter.nicholas at latimes.com
> Julia Love in the Washington bureau contributed to this story.
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