If you are Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) this has to have been a great couple of weeks. The whole Arizona kerfuffle is a gift from Quetzalcoatl to any demagogue who appreciates the value of a highly emotional issue, especially when it comes to burying facts and logic in large amounts of noise. The good congressman—who is very noisy indeed—has made the most of his opportunities and for his pains has become something of a regular on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” Presumably he will continue to be so until Olbermann is finally canceled or Arizona is driven out of the Union.
Given the cordial relationship between the two men it must have come as something of a surprise Monday night when Olbermann departed from form and actually asked Gutierrez a non-puffball question, thereby giving new legitimacy to the “infinite number of monkeys—infinite number of typewriters” theory.
The congressman after all was coming off a very successful weekend in which he managed to impose himself into pretty much every frame of the carefully organized spontaneous illegal immigrant demonstrations when not getting himself arrested at the White House fence.
One can only guess he was anticipating hardball questions such as, “As you were being taken away to God knows what Gulag did you actually see the specter of Martin Luther King or was it just a still small voice singing ‘We Shall Overcome’?”
Instead he got this.
OLBERMANN: I don‘t say this often, but let me start with a question that is similar to that that raised by Jonah Goldberg at “The National Review.” If police asking for papers immigration papers is akin to Nazism, how is employers asking for some sort of work biometric ID card progressive?
Gutierrez first thought must’ve been, “Jeez why did you say it now?” Olbermann’s point of reference of course was the proposed universal ID card for everyone working in the United States as laid out in the pending congressional immigration plan. The contradiction between this and the sputtering rage heaped on Arizona for instituting ID checks at traffic stops is obvious and incontrovertible, so the congressman, whose favorite color is clearly plaid, did the courageous thing and argued both sides of the issue. This in itself is less remarkable than the fact he managed to do it in so few sentences.
GUTIERREZ: […] I don‘t know that it is, Keith. But here‘s what it does tell you: it tells you that there are those of us that are reaching across the aisle, that are for enforcement, that are for ending illegal immigration as we know it. So here‘s my point: I think we need to debate it and to discuss it so we don‘t create a national I.D. card.
Okay, so you’re against it.
Whoops, not so fast there Binky.
GUTIERREZ: But here‘s what I do think we might agree on: my grandfather in the ’30s was the first one to get a Social Security card, right? Then my dad got one, I got one, my daughter got one, and now Lucito, my grandson, seven years old, a gorgeous kid, he has a Social Security card. Same technology as his great grandfather got? I think we can do better.
Okay, so you want to apply modern technology to a card currently required by everyone working in the United States, and this differs from a biometric ID card how exactly?
The congressman’s response demonstrates a couple of principles that drive arguments from the Left. First, there is no requirement that any part of an argument be consistent with any other part. The assumption seems to be the people listening to one sentence are incapable of remembering the sentence that preceded it. Call this the “Memento” principle.
The second is that no argument is complete without a reference to at least one doe-eyed child, aging relative or miscellaneous victim of oppression to provide the necessary human touch in an otherwise incoherent assertion.
It is probable that Olbermann will be forgiven this one time lapse into actual journalism if he promises to get back to the reservation and inject at least one reference to the injustices of the Mexican-American war and/or the imbecility of Sarah Palin next time around.