Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Accomplish Something

Yesterday, we examined the root of the Jim Wheeler slavery brouhaha. Believe it or not, behind the "libertarian populist" grandstanding of today's G-O-TEA is some (actually, a whole lot of) good ol' fashioned "Culture War" angst.

Don't believe me? Believe Fred Steeper. He's a prominent Republican pollster who advised Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. And when asked by The New York Times' Johm Harwood on the Republican Party's current conundrum, he cut right to the chase.

“Racism may be a part of it,” especially among working-class whites, Mr. Steeper said of the immigration stance. “The Republican Party needs to stop pandering to that.”

And he has some actual data to back him up. In the same article, prominent Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg explained his recent findings.

Stanley Greenberg, a pollster for Mr. Clinton and other Democrats, said that recent focus groups among core Republican voters highlighted anxiety that “big government is meant to create rights and dependency and electoral support from mostly minorities who will reward the Democratic Party with their votes.”

“While few explicitly talk about Obama in racial terms, the base supporters are very conscious of being white in a country with growing minorities,” Mr. Greenberg wrote. “The base thinks they are losing politically and losing control of the country.”

As we've discussed many times before, the 21st Century Know Nothings have amassed a dangerous amount of control over today's Republican Party. And their control of that party is what's holding back the completion of comprehensive immigration reform CIR, along with other important policy goals (like ENDA, and even the most basic governance). Sadly, it's that simple...

Or maybe not? While the same G-O-TEA darlings who forced another manufactured crisis upon the nation are out to kill CIR, another Republican is stepping forward to cosponsor HR 15.

“It’s important to keep the conversation going in trying to fix the broken immigration system,” [Rep. Ileana] Ros-Lehtinen [R-Florida] said in a statement. “I favor any approach that will help us move the negotiations forward. Other Members may soon produce a bipartisan product that may also deserve support and I’m cautiously optimistic that we can pass meaningful immigration reform.”

The House Democrat’s immigration bill is modeled after the bipartisan Senate immigration bill and a House Republican-approved border security measure.

Ros-Lehtinen has long supported immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. Yet in June, she said that the Senate immigration bill was “not going to move in the House.” At a massive immigration reform rally held on the National Mall that resulted in the arrest of eight House Democrats in early October, she told thousands of immigrant activists, “We’ve heard a lot of lip service and a lot of promises. Both political parties have had a chance to solve it. Neither have. It’s about time we get it done this year.”

And keep in mind that Rep. Ros-Lehtinen's announcement comes on the heels of Rep. Jeff Denham (R-California) becoming the first Republican to cosponsor HR 15. And if more House Republicans, like Rep. Joe Heck (R-????), jump on board, CIR can actually pass some time in the foreseeable future.

But can they do it? Can they quit the manufactured crises and unnecessary drama long enough to actually accomplish something? Or are they too afraid of their own party's base to actually do that?

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