One of the things immigration advocates always say these days when talking about comprehensive reform is that as part of a path to citizenship, we should "make them learn English." This is pretty good as a policy matter, since knowing English is only going to be a help to any immigrant, and the more smoothly immigrants can be woven into the economic and social fabric of the country, the better. But it's also driven by a political calculation -- "make them learn English" polls very well, and the reason is that a lot of the unease people have about immigrants comes from language differences (the tone of it also makes it seem like we're being punitive, or at least kicking them in the butt a little, which people like).
In the latest issue of Democracy, former TAP editor Michael Tomaskytakes to task what he calls the "professional disgruntleists" -- progressives who work hard to find the downside of every Barack Obama initiative and use every available opportunity to cry, "See? I told you he'd sell us out!" Tomasky reminds us that even the great liberal hero Franklin Roosevelt was subject to similar criticism during his time:
Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for California governor, speaks in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
"U.S. businessmen," lamentedTime magazine in August 1956, "whether Democrats or Republicans, have a deep-seated aversion to political activity." These days, however, every election brings a new spate of CEO candidates, arguing that their know-how in the ways of commerce makes them far better suited for government service than people who actually have some experience at government service.
You thought it was too early for the 2012 presidential campaign to start? Worry not -- the Des Moines Register has a poll of the state's Republicans, testing their feelings about potential GOP nominees. They tell us that "62 percent of Republicans who identified themselves as likely to vote in this week's primary election are very or mostly favorable toward [Mitt] Romney. [Sarah] Palin follows, with 58 percent very or mostly favorable about her, with [Newt] Gingrich at 56 percent." Nothing too alarming there -- before the campaign begins, it's mostly about name recognition.