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Look at this wetbackNational Review famously maintains a roster of aging white nationalists to blab about the non-white aspects of American society in disparaging tones. This is not of my white ’50s culture, they write, and we must stop it. But usually they’ll at least work with sanitized think-tanky buzzwords to describe their pure belief that non-whites are ruining the country. Thoughts on “assimilation,” for example, always add a nice distance to the thing at hand. And yet today, there’s Jay Nordlinger, just stone cold typin’ “wetbacks” as a direct substitute for illegal immigrants, and my god how has this not been changed yet?

It was Nordlinger’s shift on the Reagan Desk this morning, just wanking away as usual about whatever, Ronald Reagan and stuff, and we’re going along reading his article, and it’s fine, okay, fine, and then HA HA UMM WHY DOES IT SAY WETBACKS?

During the 1980s, Tip O’Neill and other liberals said, “We were hoping that Reagan would grow in office, but he hasn’t grown at all.” What they meant was, he had not shed his small-government principles and his hawkish views. He had not accepted the post-LBJ state, and détente. He had not learned to love Big Brother. He was still clinging to guns and religion, so to speak. He was as provincial, blinkered, and right-wing as ever.

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.”

It seems he’s writing “in the voice of ’80s conservatives,” like that was their mainstream line at the time, “welcoming wetbacks.” (It’s sort of funny how much shit you could still say in public in the 1980s.) And of course, the Reagan Foot Soldiers were all really racist. Ronald Reagan was a racist person too.

But even some sort of historical use of “welcoming wetbacks” to describe the popular vernacular of the time doesn’t work well alongside “raising taxes,” “spending like crazy,” and “pursuing arms control,” which are all basic ways of describing policies. How did they say these things in the ’80s, Jay Nordlinger? “Spending at the rapid pace of rich young starlet Madonna,” for example, was a common line. “Pursuing arms control, the arms being from the Cold War, which is still happening because we are in the ’80s,” was another bit of hip lingo. “MTVing taxes.” MTV was in the ’80s and they would just say “MTVing” to describe any action, so entranced were they with the new music video channel. Anyway, Jay, we’re just throwing out a few suggestions, because you look like an asshole right now.

[The Corner via Gawker]

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