Posts Tagged ‘Michael Barone’
December 10th, 2012 at 12:03 pm
Barone: Illegal Mexican Immigration to U.S. Over?

Michael Barone thinks illegal Mexican immigration into the United States might be a thing of the past for three reasons.  First, birthrates among Mexican-born, America-residing women are down 24 percent.  Second, up to one-third of the housing foreclosures in California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida since 2007 are estimated to belong to low-income Latino households.  Since there is always a time-lag in getting these kinds of data points, they go a long way to explaining reason number three: Mexican migration north was reported to be zero earlier this year for the first since the boom began in 1982.

All of this adds up:

Beneath the cold statistics on foreclosures and births is a human story, a story of people whose personal lives have been deeply affected by economic developments over which they had no control and of which they had no warning.

Those events have prompted many to resort to, in Mitt Romney’s chilly words, “self-deportation.” And their experiences are likely to have reverberations for many others who have learned of their plight.

Still, I’m hesitant to adopt Barone’s conclusion of a complete end to illegal Mexican immigration.

If it’s true that the bursting of the housing bubble and the concurrent recession are causing illegal Mexican immigrants to voluntarily repatriate themselves, then it’s a mixed bag for conservative immigration reformers.  While it’s good that the number of illegal immigrants is dropping, it’s not because of any fealty to enforcement policy by government officials.  Instead, it’s because of terrible economic stewardship by President Barack Obama and his tax-and-spend allies in Congress.

In short, if the economy rebounds, so will illegal immigration.

But don’t think that liberal amnesty seekers won’t use Barone’s data points to deny that cause-and-effect relationship.

Moreover, if the rumors are true that comprehensive immigration reform is the next bipartisan agenda item after the fiscal cliff showdown, then conservative reformers shouldn’t give an inch on the need to secure the border.  Furthermore, in order to blunt calls for amnesty because the illegal immigration problem allegedly is under control, conservatives need a Paul Ryan-esque big think on how federal immigration serves the national interest.

Personally, I’m open to a lot of different conclusions.  However, I deplore the incoherence of the current federal regime of passing laws politicians don’t intend to fund, and political appointees don’t intend to enforce.  Like every big issue, the American people deserve a clear, coherent vision on immigration policy and how it serves the national interest.

April 19th, 2012 at 11:40 am
V-P Analysis Begins

Michael Barone has a very wise piece today on why Mitt Romney may go the “white bread” route — or, as he puts it, “double vanilla” — in choosing a vice president. He focuses on Paul Ryan, Mitch Daniels, Rob Portman, and Bob McDonnell, and I agree that all four of them would each be a solid choice.

On the extreme other side of the VP-strategery spectrum is my column today at The American Spectator online about a “Crazy Eight” of potential long-shot choices, which include a mix of ethnicities, genders, ages, and even political parties. I’ll ask you to read it for yourselves… but PLEASE note what I went to great pains to repeat, but which some readers apparently overlooked, which is that this is the first of a multi-part series I am writing on the subject, and thus amounts to a creative list of long-shot outliers, not the likely picks or the ones I think would be best. It is an illustrative list, to show the sorts of creativity Romney should use in analyzing every angle. These are not me recommendations as to who the choice should be, but they are suggestions for the sorts of people who should be on the original, very long, list under preliminary consideration. Subsequent columns will move into more likely, and probably more wise or desirable, territory (although I do think one or two of the Crazy Eight should move up the ranks at least somewhat).

For the record, I think Barone’s list is a mighty fine one.

January 9th, 2012 at 5:54 pm
How the Republican Candidates Fall Short
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The ever-perceptive Michael Barone is out with a new piece today chronicling — in his trademark even-handed style — the weaknesses of the various Republican presidential candidates (Barone makes clear up front that this isn’t an attack piece, just an attempt to balance their professed strengths with the demerits they try to obscure). My favorite is his judgment of Jon Huntsman, who hasn’t been able to break through with conservative voters despite the fact that he had a serviceable record as Governor of Utah:

Jon Huntsman, even more dependent on a breakout in New Hampshire than Santorum, has a different weakness. His disdainful dismissal of other Republicans, even more than his service as Barack Obama’s ambassador to China, has antagonized many conservatives.

That’s it in a nutshell. Attitudes matter just as much as — if not more than — positions. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and Huntsman’s decision to curry favor with the media by running down the conservative base in the early days of his campaign can’t be ameliorated by the virtues of his positions on taxes, education, or abortion in Salt Lake City.

Where I think Barone gives us a genuinely new insight is in his read of Mitt Romney:

His weakness is that he never experienced the cultural revolution of the 1960s and so sounds corny and insincere. So far, that hasn’t been disabling.

Here, I think Barone dramatically oversimplifies. The sense of insincerity has a lot to do with Romney’s ideological elasticity, which has seen him seemingly take every side of every issue at some point in his career. But the cultural point is still well-taken. Barack Obama is the ultimate postmodern president — cool, detached, ironic in the fashion of those who spend too much time on college campuses, and utterly solipsistic. It’s a long way from there to Romney, who seems like the buttoned up father figure on a black and white sitcom. But while the former Massachusetts Governor is far from the ideal corrective to the current occupant of the White House, there’s no doubt that a president who seems pried from “Leave it to Beaver” is preferable to one whose entire political career seems like an extended audition for “The Real World”

July 20th, 2011 at 2:44 pm
Higher Education Bubble Next to Burst?

If you or a family member are weighing a decision about whether or how much college loan money to request from the government next fall, consider this nugget from Michael Barone’s column on the coming burst in the higher education bubble:

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, is adept at spotting bubbles. He cashed out for $500 million in March 2000, at the peak of the tech bubble, when his partners wanted to hold out for more. He refused to buy a house until the housing bubble burst.

“A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed,” he has said. “Education may still be the only thing people still believe in in the United States.”

Owning a college degree may certify completion of a program, but it does not guarantee that the holder has marketable skills to land a job, as this report on the ongoing talent shortage details.  Higher education – like all levels and kinds of education – is an investment only if the students, faculty and administrators involved focus on learning and teaching things that matter.  And with a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, that increasingly means basic comprehension of grammar, logic and rhetoric, with some grounding in finance thrown in for good measure.

So, if you know someone thinking about going back to school for a master’s in Religious or Women’s Studies – for the good of your fellow citizens and taxpayers, urge them to reconsider.  We can’t afford the experience.

July 19th, 2011 at 1:19 am
How to Destroy the Most Powerful Economy in the World — in Three Paragraphs
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Michael Barone is one of those rare Washington pundits who thinks facts are more important than feelings. That means that when he makes sweeping claims, he’ll always have the data to back them up. And he’ll do so in the dispassionate fashion of a doctor reading an X-ray. That’s part of what makes his new column on the debt ceiling so chilling. In it, he writes:

The bedrock issue is whether we should have a larger and more expensive federal government. Over many years, federal spending has averaged about 20 percent of gross domestic product.

The Obama Democrats have raised that to 24 or 25 percent. And the president’s budget projects that that percentage will stay the same or increase far into the future.

In the process, the national debt as a percentage of gross domestic product has increased from a manageable 40 percent in 2008 to 62 percent this year and an estimated 72 percent in 2012. And it’s headed to the 90 percent level that economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart have identified as the danger point, when governments face fiscal collapse.

Barone’s words are a bracing reminder of the stakes in this fight. Virtually all Democrats — and even many Republicans — would have us believe that this is a moment defined by pure political philosophy; that it’s simply a question of whether you balance the books through tax increases, spending cuts, or some combination thereof. But it’s more than just principles that hang in the balance. It’s the fate of a nation.

July 13th, 2011 at 1:48 pm
Barone: New Reality in Immigration Debate

Michael Barone says that thanks to a sputtering economy, a growing Mexican middle class, and measures like Arizona’s e-Verify system that puts the onus of enforcement on employers, President Barack Obama’s push for immigration reform is behind the curve.  It would be far better if the federal government reacted to facts on the ground.

That means we can shift our immigration quotas to more highly skilled immigrants, as recommended by a panel convened by the Brookings Institution and Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics and as done currently by Canada and Australia.

Such a change would be in line with the new situation. Mexican immigrants have tended to be less educated and lower-skilled than immigrants from other Latin or Asian countries. Lower Mexican immigration means lower low-skill immigration. Employers of such immigrants may have to adjust their business models.

Probably they are already doing so. But government adjusts more slowly.

Tell us about it.

November 3rd, 2009 at 5:23 pm
History of the New York Conservative Party in 5 Minutes (Maybe 10)

For those wanting to impress others at your election returns party tonight (and if you’re reading this blog, you’ve at least thought about it), here’s the link to the New York Conservative Party website.

And below is a link to short video description of its history by the incomparable Rick Brookhiser of National Review:

Rick Brookhiser on the New York Conservative Party

Don’t be upstaged by that know-it-all acquaintance who can quote Michael Barone’s “Almanac of American Politics” from memory.  You’ll be able to counter with factoids like this:

The 1994 elections were a breakthrough for the Conservative Party as we provided the margin of victory for Governor George E. Pataki with the 326,605 votes cast on our line.  Attorney General Vacco nosed out radical Karen Burstein by 88,340 votes.  He received 305,961 votes on the Conservative Line.  In 1998, 348,272 votes for Governor George E. Pataki were cast on the Conservative line, almost 20,000 more than in 1994, an anomaly in political history.”