NRO Senior Editor Jay Nordlinger: Reagan ‘Welcomed Wetbacks’
Today at National Review Online, senior editor Jay Nordlinger has a piece arguing Against Growth!
Nordlinger’s point is that the word “growth,” when applied to conservative figures, usually means they’re becoming more liberal. And as an example he cites Ronald Reagan, who was praised for “growing in office” when he welcomed the “wetbacks.”
Yes, that’s the word Nordlinger uses.
Truth is, some conservatives lamented that he had indeed “grown” in office. He had gone out of his way to accommodate liberals and moderates, and to accommodate the Kremlin. He was raising taxes, spending like crazy, welcoming wetbacks, pursuing arms control. One common cry from the right was, “None of this would be happening if Ronald Reagan were alive.”
Commenters for Nordlinger’s piece are trying to make excuses, of course, by saying he was being “ironic.” But if there’s irony here, it’s hard to see — because the point of the article is that Reagan did become more liberal, and one of the reasons is that he “welcomed wetbacks.” In other words, Nordlinger is arguing this was a bad thing — not castigating Reagan-era Republicans for their bigoted attitudes. He’s saying the Republicans who criticized Reagan for “welcoming wetbacks” were right.
It’s kind of amazing to see a National Review writer using a highly offensive slur like this to describe Latino immigrants, after they recently had to disassociate from not one, but two other writers for blatant racism and white nationalism. Amazing not because it’s surprising, but because you’d think they’d be trying to hide stuff like this so soon after the Derbyshire debacle.
(h/t: Max Read.)