The Score: Incredibles Two, Immigration Issues, Denver Riggleman, Joe Walton

This week on The Score – Tim Hulsey reviews Incredibles 2. Congressional candidates Denver Riggleman and Joe Walton talk about the issues. America thinks about immigrants and immigration.


This week The Score will focus on immigration, which has been Topic A across the United States for the past week or two. Interspersed among the interviews and reviews are audio clips of U.S. presidents talking about immigrants and immigration, starting with an exchange between George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan from a Republican presidential primary debate in April 1980. We also reach back to Lyndon Johnson’s first State of the Union Address in 1964, Jimmy Carter’s remarks during his only debate with Reagan in October 1980, Bill Clinton‘s 1996 State of the Union, and speeches specifically about immigration law reform by George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

In my interviews with Virginia congressional candidates Denver Riggleman and Joe Walton, my first question put to them was about immigration.

Virginia Seven
Joe Walton Libertarian Dave Brat Abigail SpanbergerFirst, Joe Walton. He’s the Libertarian Party’s nominee in Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District, where he is running to unseat incumbent Republican Representative Dave Brat in the district once represented by former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The other challenger in that race is Democrat Abigail Spanberger. Walton is an unusual Libertarian congressional candidate, at least in Virginia, because he’s previously served in elective office, as a member of the Powhatan County Board of Supervisors. We spoke by telephone last Wednesday, June 20, when President Trump was expected to sign an executive order aimed at ending the practice of separating migrant children from their parents. I asked Walton what his take was about the situation on the southwestern border of the United States.

That’s Incredible!
One of the biggest anticipated movies of the summer of 2018 is Incredibles 2, a sequel to The Incredibles, the 2004 Oscar nominee for best animated feature with Randian undertones. Incredibles 2 includes most of the original cast of its predecessor, including Holly Hunter as Elastigirl, Craig T. Nelson as Mr. Incredible, and Sarah Vowell as Violet Parr. Others in the cast include Barry Bostwick, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabella Rosselini, John Ratzenberger, and director/screenwriter Brad Bird. Our film critic Tim Hulsey has a review.

Virginia Five
Denver Riggleman Rick Sincere virginia politicsDenver Riggleman is the surprise nominee of the Republican Party in Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District. I say surprise because everyone expected Congressman Tom Garrett to run for a second term – but he abruptly announced his early retirement. I spoke to Riggleman by telephone on Thursday, the day after President Trump signed his executive order on migrant families. My first question was, what did he think of the current immigration situation? Later, Riggleman emphatically positioned himself as the liberty candidate in this race, with (perhaps unintended)echoes of the first chapter of Barry Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative:

I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ interests, I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.

(Finding any excuse to quote that passage from Goldwater’s 1960 book, I use it.)

Riggleman’s opponent in the Fifth Distict election is Democrat Leslie Cockburn.

From the Archives
Daniel Lin American University immigration economicsSince we’re talking about immigration this week on The Score, I pulled an interview with American University economist Daniel Lin “from the archives.” Our conversation took place in October 2013 but his insights about how immigrants affect the American labor market are incredibly relevant today. Some highlights:

Having laws that impede immigration into the United States makes everybody poorer, he explained.

“The current laws allow foreigners to come in but it is a trickle compared to the number of people who want to come in and the number of people who Americans want to hire,” Lin said.

“If you look at the waiting list for visas” for people who want to work in the United States, which are often multiple-years long, Lin said, “we certainly can conclude that America is, on average, poorer because we block these types of contracts from happening – these exchanges from happening.”

When people who want to work in the United States “are being prevented from coming here and the Americans who would benefit from having these extra workers are not allowed to have those benefits,” he argued, “we certainly do see Americans on the whole being poorer than otherwise they would be.”

The two interviews with Joe Walton and Denver Riggleman this week are the first in what I hope will be a series of such conversations with candidates for the House of Representatives. As I announced in this space on May 5, I will be happy to interview any candidate for Congress regardless of party. Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, Whig, or independent — those candidates are welcome to discuss their campaigns and the issues on The Score. Campaign managers and schedulers, you know where to find me.

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