“There has been no crime committed, so why is there a criminal investigation three weeks prior to a very important election?” -Tan D Nguyen
Pointing out that illegal residents are committing a criminal offense if they vote illegally is itself a “hate crime,” according to Governor Schwarzenegger. Nguyen’s campaign headquarters, his home and a staffer’s home were searched by California Department of Justice investigators.
I’m about half a dozen kinds of disgusted over the caterwauling over the Tan Nguyen “anti-immigrant” letter. I’m not sure which is worse, but I’m probably more disgusted by the pure dishonest cowardice of the Republicans than the typical opportunistic race baiting by the Democrats.
Tan Nguyen (a naturalized citizen immigrated from Vietnam) is the 2006 Republican candidate for US House of Representatives running in California’s 47th district against the incumbent Democrat Loretta Sanchez. A few days ago, a letter went out in Spanish to approximately 14,000 people in the district from Nguyen’s campaign stating that voting by illegal immigrants is a crime for which they could face arrest.
Immediately, everyone in the vicinity went nuts, declaring Nguyen unfit for office and demanding that he quit the race. Of course, you expect this kind of nonsense from the opposition party and their tools in the press, but he’s been hit even harder by Republicans. The county party has officially and publicly called for his withdrawal, and Governor Schwarzenegger says “I think it was one of the worst letters that anyone could send out and I think those kind of tactics (are) illegal. It is a hate crime and I think that anyone who knew (about it), if he knew, has to resign immediately.”
On top of which, various police forces are investigating this supposed “hate crime.” According to Associated Press reporter Peter Prengaman, “Complaints about the letters this week prompted a state probe, and a spokesman for California’s attorney general said investigators had been questioning people in Orange County. U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Cynthia Magnuson said the department’s civil rights division was investigating in coordination with the state attorney general’s office.”
Nguyen is accused of hate crimes and violations of the Voting Rights Act and of killing Palestinian children to use their blood in baking cookies. No wait- that’s the Hebrews. I think the Vietnamese eat dogs, or is that just the Koreans? I get confused.
But Nguyen is seriously being treated as a pariah and under criminal investigation primarily because he (or his office staff on his behalf) sent out a letter that said in Spanish that “if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time.”
But what he said there is absolutely legally correct and proper. There have been numerous likely sounding stories of Democrat operatives actively recruiting illegal Mexican immigrants to vote. There’s been big opposition by Democrats in other places besides California to any idea of simply requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls, exactly because it would discourage their minions from hussling non-eligible people into voting booths.
Further, it is suspected that exactly such voting was how Ms Sanchez skinned ol’ B1 Bob Dornan out of this seat in the first place, back in 1996. Considering that this has been a tacit Democrat tactic, it’s only reasonable that the Republican candidate give people a general notice that such things are illegal – because they are.
Now, there’s one point of reasonable contention against the English translation of the statement: immigrants who are naturalized citizens have every right to vote. A Nguyen lawyer suggests that this is an issue of the translation of the word “emigrado,” and who is or isn’t covered by that word. But the point of the Nguyen operatives clearly is not to intimidate eligible voters, but the far more numerous ineligible residents. But being exquisitely sensitive, you might argue over the exact parsing of that. Perhaps a Spanish linguist could argue the finer points of that one specific word.
In any case, it’s just plain demagoguery for Democrats to label stating facts as “racism” much less as something specifically illegal. I doubt Mr Nguyen cares about their ethnic background, he’s just opposed to vote fraud being committed against him.
For my part, as a Libertarian I tend to at least want to favor open borders. I don’t like the Minutemen group, and I don’t know how much I would agree with Tan Nguyen on a lot of issues. A brother Blogcritic makes a seemingly pretty strong general argument against Nguyen as a mere political opportunist.
Particularly though, he seems to be somewhat anti-immigration. Even recognizing that there are legitimate issues about massive undocumented Mexican immigration causing some strains on the US social fabric, you have to be sympathetic to folks mostly just trying to make an honest living- whether it’s nominally “legal” or not.
But voting is something else. If you’re not even supposed to be here, don’t compound it with voting fraud. Look, if you’re not a citizen and don’t even know the language, what legitimate business have you got to be voting? How would they even begin to have a clue what they were voting for? There are way too many people voting as it is.
Of course, the most likely scenario is not that a bunch of Mexican illegals would take initiative to do such things, but rather that they would get roped into it by Democrat get out the vote efforts. Hey there Juan, all you need to know is to pull the lever with the big “D” for “Democrat.”
But then to try to mark the opposition candidate as a racist and criminal disgrace for simply pointing out that this is illegal is moral pretension of a particularly dishonest order. Perhaps you’d like to argue that illegal residents should be allowed to vote. You can bring that proposal before the elected legislature, and see how much popular support you can garner for your beliefs. Change the law. I might even would vote for that.
But the most distasteful part of this little passion play has been the absolute moral cowardice of the Republicans. The county party has asked for Nguyen’s resignation as a candidate, and Governor Schwarzenegger and the GOP state chair have renounced him. They have to know better than this nonsense, but they’re so afraid of being called “racists” that they’d stab their own candidate in the back.
Indeed, they all immediately rushed to out-denounce him over top of the Democrats and media. Oh, their plaintive cries of tender racial piety! It’s a particularly gutless girly-man move for the great fearless Governator Ahnold to be calling this letter a “hate crime.”
In all of this disgrace though, I have to give some credit to Tan Nguyen himself for re-instating the campaign worker specifically responsible for the controversial letter. He initially fired her from his staff, saying that he had not approved that letter. But in the midst of this demagoguery, he gave the letter another look and decided that there was nothing wrong with it, and asked her to come back. That’s easily the most honorable act of this cheap drama.