A few weeks before he was nominated as the Republican candidate for
president of the United States, I happened to see Bob Dole being
interviewed on TV. As I watched, everything I knew about Dole came to
mind — the love for big government that he had unembarrassedly revealed
in his Senate retirement speech a few days earlier, the constant hints
and sardonic asides by which he distanced himself from conservatives and
accommodated himself to liberals, even the way his eyes kept shifting
from side to side as he spoke. Suddenly the thought flashed into my
mind: “He’s not on our side; he’s on their side.”
It gives me no pleasure to say it, but George W. Bush, at least on
some key issues, has given conservatives reason to have similar concerns
about him. Of course, many conservatives were already put off by W.’s
“compassionate” conservatism, his inclusion-soaked nominating
convention, and his failure to say anything serious about the
Clinton-Gore corrup-tion of our national life. If W. would not take
even a minimal stand against the epic illegalities and abuses of power
that we have been living under, then how could his election be seen as a
repudiation of those abuses, and how could it cleanse the country of the
stain that Clinton has left?
By the same token, given the fact that W. panders to Hispanics and is
so conspicuously fond of diversity, how can he be counted on to defend
America’s national identity and sovereignty from the organized Hispanic
interest groups and globalist elites who are hostile to both? A case in
point was his refusal during the primaries to criticize a Texas town
where Spanish had been declared the official language.
Thus W. had already shown a troubling degree of softness on the
important issues of public morality and national identity. But in a
two-day period in late August, he went much further (or much further
backward) on both fronts than he ever had before.
On the matter of public integrity, he announced his approval of Janet
Reno’s decision not to appoint a special counsel to investigate Al
Gore’s role in the 1996 campaign scandal. In doing this, W. was not
just avoiding a “partisan attack” on Clinton-Gore corruption; he seemed
to be going out of his way to help protect Clinton and Gore from
On the matter of national identity, W. delivered in Miami on Aug. 25
a major address on U.S.-Latin American relations, in which he unveiled a
startling — at least for a Republican — view of America. We should
pay close attention to his words:
We are now one of the largest Spanish-speaking nations in the
world. We’re a major source of Latin music, journalism and culture.
Just go to Miami, or San Antonio, Los Angeles, Chicago or West New
York, New Jersey … and close your eyes and listen. You could just as
easily be in Santo Domingo or Santiago, or San Miguel de Allende.
For years our nation has debated this change — some have praised it
and others have resented it. By nominating me, my party has made a
choice to welcome the new America.
Let us be clear that W. is not (as Republican politicians
including Reagan have done for decades) celebrating immigrants from
diverse backgrounds on the assumption that they are becoming part of our
culture and way of life. On the contrary, he is applauding the
expansion and the increasingly dominant role of the Hispanic culture and
the Spanish language in this country. He is explicitly welcoming the
very things that are making America less and less like its historical
self and more and more like Latin America.
To repeat, this is not the usual establishment conservative line of
“immigration with assimilation.” This is multiculturalism, the
view of America as a collection of unassimilated yet “equal” cultures in
which our former national culture will be progressively downgraded and
Also surprising is W.’s claim that Republicans have “made a choice to
welcome the new America.” Did Republicans realize that by nominating W.
they were not only committing themselves to a pro-multicultural
candidate, but shutting down all debate on the issue?
Complementing W.’s support for the Hispanicization of American
culture was his view of Mexico-U.S. relations:
I have a vision for our two countries. The United States is
destined to have a “special relationship” with Mexico, as clear and
strong as we have had with Canada and Great Britain. Historically, we
have had no closer friends and allies. … Our ties of history and
heritage with Mexico are just as deep.
In equating our intimate historic bonds to our mother country
and to Canada with our ties to Mexico, W. shows a staggering ignorance
of the civilizational facts of life. The reason we are so close to
Britain and Canada is that we share with them a common historical
culture, language, literature, and legal system, as well as similar
standards of behavior, expectations of public officials, and so on.
We share none of those things with Mexico, which, along with the rest
of Latin America, constitutes a cultural region quite distinct from that
of the United States and Europe. Everyone, on both the left and the
right, has always known this to be so. W., apparently, does not. As he
sees it, our mere physical proximity to Mexico is tantamount to
cultural commonality with Mexico.
W.’s delusions of cultural similarity don’t stop there. “Differences
are inevitable” between Mexico and the U.S.,” W. continued. “But
they will be differences among family, not between rivals.”
Coming from the Republican candidate for president of the United
States, the statement boggles the mind. It was bad enough when the
Democrats in the 1980s started their socialist rant (soon echoed by the
Republicans) that Americans are all “one family.” But now George W.,
“The Man from Inclusion,” has taken the “family” idea several steps
further. For W., it is not just the United States, but the United
States and Mexico, and ultimately the United States and the
whole of the Americas, that constitutes one “family.”
With this thoughtless clich?, W. is moving in symbolic terms toward
the goal that Mexico’s newly elected president Vicente Fox is calling
for in concrete terms: the opening of the U.S.-Mexican border. After
all, who would want to maintain national borders and high-tech barriers
between members of the same family? Within a family there is
unconditional support, mutual obligation, and the sense of a shared
destiny — not armed patrols and checkpoints.
Whether or not W. himself understands the logical implications of
his “family” rhetoric, its political consequence if he becomes president
will be the same — the further delegitimization of our borders and our
All of which leads up to the question: Why is he doing this? Most
conservatives had accepted, if without enthusiasm, the pragmatic need
for W. and other Republicans to project a warm and “inclusive” image,
conspicuously embracing minorities and so on. But by no reasonable
calculation did that require W. to embrace multiculturalism, any more
than the need to avoid “negative attacks” on his Democratic opponent
required him to praise Reno’s cover-up of Gore.
Since his adoption of a multicultural vision of America makes no
sense in political terms (indeed, it would tend to alienate his own
base), the only explanation is that W. really believes in it. Watching
his speech in Miami, you couldn’t help but feel that W. is genuinely
moved by this “We’re all one family” sentiment. It is as central to his
heart (about which he is always telling us) as the love of big
government is to Bob Dole’s.
Just as Dole at the 1996 Convention showed his liberal colors when he
declared that the Republican party is rife with unspecified “haters” for
whom “the exits are clearly marked,” W. has unambiguously demonstrated
his allegiance to the liberal policies of open borders and
multiculturalism, characterizing everyone who dissents from those
policies as driven by “resentment” and implying that they have no place
in the Republican party. He has left no wiggle room for honest
conservatives to tell themselves, “Well he’s really on our side,
the side of a unified American nation. He just has to say all these
things about welcoming other cultures in order to get elected.”
Of course, many principled conservatives feel they have strong
reasons (I will leave it up to the reader to decide whether they are
compelling reasons) to vote for W. They believe that with W. in the
White House, there will be at least a chance of forestalling a further
leftward lurch by the Supreme Court and such nightmarish statist
projects (endorsed by Gore) as universal childcare. They also feel that
our country cannot endure the continued debauching of our national
institutions and character that has occurred under Clinton and Gore.
But, if conservatives do mark their ballot for W. on Nov. 7, they
should do it without illusions — and they should be prepared to fight
President Bush every inch of the way to preserve what remains of our
national identity and sovereignty.
Lawrence Auster lives in New York City.