Milbank Misplays The Race Card

May 24, 2006

I submit that, not only does Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank unfairly play the race card against Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions; in his myopic view, he totally fails to see where and how it actually should be played on the issue of illegal immigration.

WaPo columnist Dana Milbank headlines: Forget Politics. This Battle Is Personal

Alabama’s Jeff Sessions sure knows how to nurse a grudge. Talking about his family earlier this year, the Republican senator recalled that "Lincoln killed one of them at Antietam."

Now he is turning his prodigious anger on legislation the Senate is expected to approve on Thursday that would allow millions of illegal immigrants to become citizens. In the process, Sessions is taking on the White House, his leaders in the Senate, the Congressional Budget Office and business interests at home.

"This bill is one of the worst pieces of legislation to come before the Senate," he proclaimed at a news conference yesterday, his second on the topic in as many weeks. He paused, unsatisfied with that superlative. "It’s the worst piece of legislation to come before the Senate since I’ve been here."

This is absolutely political and were I from the South, I might take offense at Milbank’s choice of lede. It’s at least plausible that by highlighting Senator Session’s Southern roots while introducing the immigration issue, Milbank could be accused of subtly suggesting Sessions has racist motivations.

After all, isn’t that the same prodigious anger Milbank clearly states Sessions is turning against immigration legislation? Read it again without the break.

Alabama’s Jeff Sessions sure knows how to nurse a grudge. Talking about his family earlier this year, the Republican senator recalled that "Lincoln killed one of them at Antietam." Now he is turning his prodigious anger on legislation the Senate is expected to approve on Thursday that would allow millions of illegal immigrants to become citizens.

What Milbank fails to take into account is the incredible anger many Americans, North and South, Black, White, Brown and Red are feeling at this atrocious undermining of the value of American citizenship. And although it’s spelled out for him in his own story, Milbank misses the point as to where the race card could justifiably be played.

Linda Scott of PBS’s "NewsHour" pointed out that the Alabama Farmers Federation takes the opposite view.

The senator fired back: "They want cheap labor and they’re not considering the interest of the United States of America."

Cheap farm labor? Of a different color and at a lower wage? Come on, Mr. Milbank. If you are such a keen observer of things, why don’t you call a spade a spade? Or is that Mexican in this case?

Between special interest groups served by a growing underclass and big business special interests intent on maintaining a steady supply of cheap labor, it’s apparent to many in this debate who has the interests of America in their heart … and who is simply looking for access to the 2006 equivalent of, or next best thing to slaves.

AdSense 300×250
NewsMax Trending Now
  1. SinCerely says:

    Sessions is one of the few if not the only member who took time to investigate the impact of immigration on our economy. If he is racist……..count me in!

  2. hobo says:

    Big time shell game, kiddies. Be careful of the smoke and mirrors and what’s going on behind. Time to sit back and really take in the concrete issues without being guided into being misguided. Like being on a path and meeting with three snakes. Will the fat one bite or will the long slender one, or will the one lying half on its side? Answer is, all of them will, if given the opportunity.

  3. M. Simon says:

    Don’t worry none about it.
    If the bill passes as written you will need to be in a government database in order to get or keep your job.
    Congress knows this is going to cause people to lose their jobs so there is a provision exempting the government from class action suits on the matter.
    Don’t it make you feel better?

  4. TLB says:

    Milbank is too much of a lightweight to engage Sessions on the issues he’s raised:
    On a related note:
    Regarding the last, see

  5. PrestoPundit says:

    Bush & the Senate are betraying the Lincoln legacy of the Republican party. So I would argue. It all goes back to the “Free Labor” philosophy of the first Republicans. For me it’s personal. Let me explain.
    My Republican roots go back to Lincoln. My father has excavated enough family history to make it clear why our family was attracted to Lincoln’s party and it’s ideology. You look back at the lives of these people and what you find are working people — laborers — folks who built railroads and cities and worked on farms and in factories. They worked hard and saved their money and started businesses and family farms. They lived out the promise of Lincoln’s “Free Labor” philosophy — the original underlying philosophy of the Republican Party. Through the decades the Republican party protected “free labor” — like my ancestors — by opposing slave labor and the unrestricted flow of poverty wage foreign labor.
    President Bush and the Republican Senate are turning their backs on that legacy with their plan for a permanent indentured servant class of poverty wage foreign workers — the so called “guest workers” — who will compete directly against America’s laboring class. I can’t think of anything more unLincolnian than that — a sort of hybrid between slave labor and unrestricted poverty wage foreign labor. The Republicans over the last century and a half have opposed this sort of class warfare against laborers on principle — as part of their “Free Labor” ideology, a view which believed American laborers should be allowed the opportunity for social mobility without the burden of working at the wage rate of slaves or the poverty classes of the whole world.
    So this betray is one of historical — Lincolnian — proportions.

  6. DWPittelli says:

    1) Wouldn’t legal guest workers be less exploitable than the currently illegal workers (provided they aren’t just added on top)?
    2) I don’t know Lincoln’s position on the issue, but with exceptions, to be sure, the Republicans, as the party of business, have generally favored fairly lax rules on immigration for some time now.
    As it happens, I don’t know whether I will favor the bill; nor does anyone until it comes out of a House-Senate committee.

  7. M. Simon says:

    The government is my union, I shall not want.
    With enough guns the laws of supply and demand can be permanently repealed.
    There are no illegal drugs available any more in America. Congress said it would happen by 1998 with the right laws, which they enacted. And lo. It has come to pass.
    Republicans used to be the party that respected economics.
    It is good to see Republican Socialism in action. Governments are always smarter than markets.
    Not to worry. If we drive out unwanted workers and crash the economy the attraction of the American economy to poor Mexicans will definitely decline. It will hurt a lot. But at least we will be rid of the Mexicans.

  8. M. Simon says:

    BTW how did our drug laws come about?
    The early laws against opiates were an attempt to keep Chinese labor off the market. The pot laws were enacted against the Mexicans.
    That has really worked out well.
    And who passed those laws nationally? Progressives.
    I guess we are all progressives now.

  9. medicinegirl says:

    Sessions has done nothing but WHINE for the last to weeks. He’s either stupid or 2 years ols.

  10. TLB says:

    “Wouldn’t legal guest workers be less exploitable than the currently illegal workers”
    Actually, no. They’d be in a program, and if they “misbehaved” they might get kicked out of the program and lose the future benefits such as citizenship.
    More about that here:

  11. unaccountable rats says:

    The Open Borders Lobby* and the Nation’s Security After 9/11
    “America’s borders have been under assault for forty years … led by an open borders lobby* that is sophisticated and powerful..a history of antagonism to American purposes and a record of active support for America’s enemies. Its funders are multi-billion dollar entities.. unaccountable.. They have more discretionary incomes at their disposal to influence these issues than..either political party, or any business group, or even the federal government itself.”
    *(Led by Ford Foundation – MALDEF, ACLU, with La Raza, LULAC, National Lawyers Guild (Lynne Stewart)…ETC)

  12. jamie says:

    Sessions is a waste of space. I live in Alabama and it is well-known that he is decidedly less effective than Shelby.
    I am sick of politicians who cite their Civil War ancestors in any way, shape, or form. For people like Sessions (and sympathizers among the idiotic Sons of Confederate Veterans) the war is still on. What a supreme idiot.

  13. bamabama says:

    Have we forgotten that Sessions was nixed for a circuit court position in 1986 for, well, positions and activities that came uncomfortably close to “racist”?
    I’m glad the country is seeing what folks in Alabama have known for a while.

  14. John says:

    I just wanted to make a few points. Mr Sessions is not being honest the American people. The “rational statistics” he cites as the reason for his opposition to the bill, are out of whack, to say the least. A careful observation of the methodology for the analysis would make a 12th grade statistics student ashamed to be associated with such a report. The number of new immigrants he predicts (72 – 95 million) over the next 20 years is higher than the 66 million estimate by the Heritage foundation report, a report statisticians everywhere are ripping to shreds. Even conservative minded analysts agree. Check out this article.…le.php? id=15193
    The official CBO report estimates 10 million new immigrants under the bill, in 10 years. And the revenue-costs as a net plus over 10 years. The Heritage foundation report and the Sessions report are deceptive and factually inaccurate, to say the least. Cheap numbers tricks, thats all. If you have to resort to such devious scare tactics to promote your agenda, odds are your side of the arguement dosent hold much water.
    I just wanted to put the facts out there, just in case anyone was interested in the truth.

  15. MarchDancer says:

    I was agreeing with the start of this debate re: Sessions and Millbank, that the Senator had been misunderstood and that Dana Millbank was being a jerk. Then I find two Alabama residents who kicked my beliefs right out the window. I find more and more that there are two sides, but this time I was truly shocked. The Senator is a racist! (or at least two progressives believe he is, and they know him better than I do.)