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Interviews

The Bushes vs. the Tea Party Movement?

By Laura Ingraham

Last November, President Bush remarked that the Tea Party is good for the country. But if he really believes that, why did he recently attack a key priority for many Tea Partiers, namely getting our borders under control and preventing a mass amnesty for illegal immigrants?

While he was out promoting his book in Dallas, President Bush was asked about the future prospects for comprehensive immigration reform.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What's interesting about our country, if you study history, is that there are some "isms" that occasionally pop up -- pop up. One is isolationism and its evil twin protectionism and its evil triplet nativism. So if you study the '20s for example, there was -- there was an American first policy that said who cares what happens in Europe. And there was an immigration policy that I think during this period argued we had too many Jews and too many Italians therefore we should have no immigrants. And my point is we've been through this kind of period of isolationism, protectionism and nativism. I'm a little concerned that we may be going through the same period.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Now, as someone who was at the forefront in opposing the 2006 Bush immigration reform effort, I was saddened but not all that surprised by the president's insulting characterization.

Let's be clear: Opposition to so-called immigration reform is rooted in a belief in the rule of law and outrage over politicians who just don't seem to be all that serious about border enforcement. To say that it's really all about hostility to foreigners is ludicrous.

An internal poll done by the Dallas Tea Party last year showed that 98 percent of its members supported Arizona's tough anti-immigration law. So, are these fellow Texans also nativists, Mr. President?

During an interview this week on my radio show, even Sen. Orrin Hatch, who was the original co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, said this regarding President Bush's use of the nativist charge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ORRIN HATCH, R-UTAH: No, I don't agree with that. I -- I think -- I think American people want to be fair, but -- but they also want to be secure and they want to make sure that people abide by our laws.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Now, of course plenty of politicians besides George Bush have also maligned those of us who favor the rule of law over granting millions of illegals eventual citizenship and voting rights. Of course, most of those people are Democrats.

But then there is his brother Jeb who in a fit of compassionate conservatism called Republican opposition to immigration reform "wrong and stupid." Now, that's an interesting way to court future GOP voters, given their overwhelming opposition to amnesty, Gov. Bush.

Maybe President Bush was right. We are suffering from an outbreak of "isms." Elitism comes to mind.

And that's "The Memo."