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Congressman Dave Brat Making all the “Right” Enemies on Illegal Immigration

On Wednesday, Markus Schmidt of the Richmond Times, published an article, Brat Under Fire for Remarks on Undocumented Immigrants, detailing the reaction to comments made by Congressman Dave Brat with regard to illegal immigration and the rule of law in the United States of America. In response to Mr. Schmidt’s article, Shaun Kenney of Bearing Drift, responded with his reaction to the reaction with an article entitled, “Brat’s Anti-Immigrant Remarks are Becoming a Problem“.

My intention here is not to berate either Mr. Schmidt or Mr. Kenney, as each have their own reasons for the bias they bring to the table. However, what follows is a deconstruction of their reactions, language, logic, and lack of contextual and historical perspective. This is a defense of Congressman Brat and I intend to demonstrate that nothing the Congressman said was factually inaccurate, bigoted, or even unfeeling. Lastly, I also intend to use this “controversy” as an example of why Conservatives shouldn’t be afraid of making enemies on “The Right”.

Here is Mr. Schmidt’s presentation of the Congressman’s “controversial” remarks:

On Monday Brat told conservative radio show host John Fredericks that he was angered by comments by some of his colleagues in Congress that undocumented immigrants who want to enlist in the military are showing their patriotism.

“I wanted to stand up and shout, I mean, ISIS is willing to serve in our military as well,” Brat said on “The John Fredericks Show,” heard in Richmond on WNTW (820 AM).

The Republican from Henrico County also said that the practice of opening military forces to immigrants has toppled previous world powers.

“Part of the reason Rome fell is because they started hiring barbarians, otherwise known as the Germans at the time, to be troops in their own army,” Brat said. “What’s going on is the decline of western civilization at the highest level.”

That the desire to serve in the United States Military does not equate to patriotism is not controversial. The Congressman’s point regarding ISIS is exactly right, but it is not a comparison of nouns. The Congressman isn’t comparing illegal immigrants to the Islamic State. He is comparing potentially non-patriotic motivations for serving in the United States Military. There is no judgment in his comment which equates the ill-motives of the Islamic State with the motives of illegal immigrants.

The more hawkish Republicans may love the idea of indenturing illegal immigrants into risking their lives for the wealth and honor of the American People through military service, but such circumstances certainly do not necessarily equate to patriotism.

What the Congressman was responding to is the assumed absolute that anyone willing to serve in the United States Military must necessarily be patriotic and wonderful and therefore accepted and lovingly embraced by the American Citizen. Shaun Kenney’s response unwittingly strengthens the Congressman’s point! Kenney points out that,

when it comes to the threat of terrorism within the ranks, using ISIS as a rationale to wind back is just silly talk.  Nidal Hasan was an American citizen.  Timothy McVeigh received military training.

Shaun, this was the Congressman’s point, that military service does not necessarily equate to being patriotic, or even being an all around good guy. Which is why we shouldn’t just let anyone serve in the military. Therefore, if you accept the fact that it is not an absolute that a willingness to service in the United States Military alone equates to a necessary patriotism or virtue, then you can have no problem with the Congressman’s comment which implied nothing other than that.

Now, with regard to the second controversial point referring to the Romans’ use of barbarians in their military, the Congressman was pointing out the historically accepted fact that using mercenary forces to defend the culture, ideals, and way of life of a civilization has rarely ever been employed effectively. He is correct. I doubt anyone could find a sober historian who would disagree. Alas, the Republicans are decrying the idea that Congressman Brat would call illegal immigrants barbarians, which he clearly did not do. There is a vast difference between an analogy, or metaphor, which compares two different things that share a common context, and a simile which states that one thing actually is another thing.

The Congressman was not saying that illegal immigrants are barbarians. He was simply making the point that employing foreign nationals in the United States military is a bad idea and that history bares this out quite explicitly (the barbarian mercenaries as an example).

I have heard establishment Republicans refer to the Congressman’s comments as “nativist” or as Shaun Kenney called them, “anti-immigrant”.

I cannot wrap my mind around the level of intellectual dishonesty required to contend that an opposition to illegal immigration is the same thing as an opposition to immigration. In fact, I have never met a legal immigrant incapable of making this distinction for themselves, after going through the expensive and rigorous process of naturalization. Meanwhile, the Republican Party wants us to believe that there is no difference between a legal immigrant and an illegal immigrant, and they also want us to believe that there is something noble in the illegal immigrant that must somehow be lacking in the legal immigrant.

So, when you hear people criticizing Congressman Brat’s comments on illegal immigration, I have given you all the ammunition you’ll require to defend him. However, I assure you, as soon as you demonstrate that you are not, in fact, an idiot who believes every ridiculous criticism they hear, you will immediately be confronted with a demand that you detail your plan for dealing with illegal immigrants. You will be presented with a slew of impossible dilemmas, that if you respond to them, you’ll almost inevitably have to take a position you’ll regret. In my next piece, I will attempt to explain the best way to deal with the Republican Party’s insane positions on illegal immigration (It’s so simple, it might just blow your mind).

So, keep an eye out for that, and in the meantime, when your Republican friends start freaking out over Congressman Dave Brat’s comments, you now have everything you need to assuage their group-think anxiety.

From Wikipedia with respect to the Wall Street Journal (The most Republican Publication out there):

The editorial board has long argued for a pro-business immigration policy. In a July 3, 1984 editorial, the board wrote: “If Washington still wants to ‘do something’ about immigration, we propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders.”

Do not be deceived. The Republican Party supports illegal immigration for reasons that could only benefit Wall Street. Congressman Dave Brat is not one of those Republicans, which is why you elected him and why you threw Eric Cantor to the curb. It’s not always a bad thing to offend the Republican Party, since the Republican Party is not always virtuous or constitutional or correct.

About Steven Brodie Tucker

Graduated with a degree in Philosophy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Also studied economics and political science at George Mason.

4 Responses to “Congressman Dave Brat Making all the “Right” Enemies on Illegal Immigration”

  1. Anita Hile
    Twitter:
    says:

    Excellent article Steven. Dave is representing his Constituents very well.

  2. William Barnes says:

    Let us remind everyone that the Bitter Cantor Clinger Shaun Kenney and his wife were paid consultants ( K6) for Congressman Eric Cantor and Mr. Kenney just can’t adjust to the fact that Eric has left the building and the lights have been turned off.

    His personal mission in life appears to “poke” Dave Brat at every opportunity. Isn’t Mr. Kenney part Lebanese? Does he have some agenda here?

    Delegate David Ramadan is Lebanese as well. Cantor endorsed Candidate Ramadan and donated and now he is giving up his seat after the filing date has passed for a Republican to file. Now that’s a story.

  3. Mark says:

    Great explanation Mr. Tucker. Mr. Brat will have no problem getting re-elected because he is representing his constituents very well, instead of his own interests.

    • I asked Shaun why in the world he’d expect Congressman Brat to flip-flop on illegal immigration, as it was the decisive factor in his victory over the powerful and unpopular House Majority Leader. This seems to be the establishments’ stratagem. Even when a conservatives wins as a conservative, the establishment continues to tell them that the only way to win is to run as an establishment candidate. That candidates continue to fall for this nonsense is beyond me. I am very excited to see that Vince Haley isn’t falling into this trap. Clearly he has surrounded himself with excellent people.

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    Tom White Says:

    Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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