Backbone Radio, April 25th, 2010: Our current Third Rail -- Immigration and Race

Today’s Third Rail: Immigration and Race:

The constant cries of “racism” against Tea Parties and their members, while falling mostly on deaf ears of Tea Partiers who recognize the charge to be utterly bogus, nevertheless bring issues of race and immigration into the broader debate about liberty and limited government.

In this week’s show, we’ll discuss these issues and more with a fascinating line-up of people who spend much (or most) of their time thinking about them.

Please join me by listening to (and calling in to) this week’s Backbone Radio program from 5 PM to 8 PM on 710 AM KNUS in Denver and 1460 AM KZNT in Colorado Springs.

If you’re not in range of the radio waves, you should be able to listen to the show online by clicking HERE.

I hope you’ll actively participate in the conversation with me, via phone at 303 696 1971, e-mail at ross(at), or instant message from my site at

While the immigration debate is usually argued between “liberals” looking for amnesty or an effective equivalent and “conservatives” who suggest closing the borders, there is an enormous space in between those positions. And in that space lies a policy which is not only best for the nation but which might allow conservatives (and by extension Republicans) to make an honest pitch for the support of new and would-be American immigrants.

Co-hosting the show with me will be Elliot Fladen. Elliot is a libertarian graduate of Stanford Law School and a former DOJ attorney in the Bush administration who advocates for a middle path on immigration between reducing legal immigration and giving citizenship to those who are here illegally. The subject of immigration is very personal to Elliot - he took his wife through the immigration process, briefly practiced immigration law himself, and frequently volunteers in outreach work with the Hispanic community.

At 5:15, we’ll be joined by Mark Krikorian, the Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a non‑profit, non‑partisan research organization in Washington, D.C. which examines and critiques the impact of immigration on the United States. The Center is animated by a pro‑immigrant, low‑immigration vision which seeks fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted. Mr. Krikorian is one of the nation’s leading thinkers about the issue of immigration. He is the author of "The New Case Against Immigration, Both Legal and Illegal" (Penguin 2008) and the just published booklet "How Obama is Transforming America Through Immigration" from Encounter Books. You can see his prolific immigration-related writings at

At 6:00 PM, we’ll be joined by the controversial documentary film maker Craig Bodeker, whose films, A Conversation About Race and More of…A Conversation about Race, are thought-provoking looks into reverse-racism, namely an all-too-common assumption among Americans that the only racism in America is anti-black or anti-Hispanic and that only whites are capable of racism. It is an extremely touchy subject and I (who take full responsibility for the choice of guests for my show) recognize as much. I also recognize that a little research on Mr. Bodeker can raise as many questions as answers about where his sympathies lie. We’ll touch on all of this during what I expect to be a spirited (and perhaps occasionally tense) interview.

And at 7:00 PM, our guest for 45 minutes will be Republican candidate for US Senate, Ken Buck. As a Senate candidate, Mr. Buck has to think about national issues, not least health care and the economy. But in his job as Weld County District Attorney, he’s had more than his fair share of experience with the pros and cons of immigration, legal and illegal, including a well-publicized case in which the State Supreme Court (wrongly, in my view) ruled against his raid of a “tax and translation service” agency which was aiding and abetting identity theft by illegal aliens. Some people paint Ken Buck as “Tom Tancredo lite” when it comes to immigration, but my sense is that Buck’s position is more nuanced and more sensible. (And I say that as someone who considers Tom Tancredo a friend…)

A couple of comments for listeners: During my show two weeks ago, I asked listeners to offer questions for Jane Norton by e-mail or to call them in to the show producer and I would then ask the questions. While my intent was simply time management and while the procedure was not requested or approved by the Norton campaign, I was asked whether I was “filtering” questions. Nothing of the sort was the case. I asked Ms. Norton three of the four questions received and brought up the broader subject of the fourth question (because the question asked for a numerical answer that I knew nobody would be able to answer.) I did take more seriously, however, a comment that the radio show would be more interesting if the listeners were asking the questions themselves.

Therefore, we will allow listeners to ask questions of Ken Buck directly, but PLEASE, in the interest of the short time we get with candidates, don’t start a question with a long preamble. I will of course gladly take questions for any of the guests via e-mail or instant message as well as by phone. I should note that I did ask the Buck campaign whether they wanted this interview under the same rules I imposed for Jane Norton’s interview, but they said they were happy to have listeners interact directly with Ken. Again, I reemphasize that my posing all the questions to Jane was NOT requested by the Norton campaign. In retrospect, it was probably an error on my part to do it that way simply because of the perception it could create of my protecting a candidate when my only intent was to get to as much material as possible in the short time I had speaking with her. I believe I’ve made it quite clear in my own writings that I, like many Colorado Republicans, are still considering the interesting choices in the chase for the Republican nomination to unseat Michael “Who?” Bennet.

Again, contact info for the show: Call the studio at 303 696 1971, e-mail me at ross(at), or instant message from my site at


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