Wednesday, February 12, 2014

It's Their Choice

And it's happened again. Is anyone surprised? Late last month, Former Lt. Governor Sue Wagner caused a political earthquake here in Nevada by announcing she's no longer a registered Republican. And when Neena Laxalt soon followed, we got quite the aftershock.

And this week, we have another prominent Republican quitting the party. But this time, it's in Florida. And Former Florida State Rep. Ana Rivas Logan made waves by switching her registration from Republican to Democratic. But why?

"The GOP of today is not the party I joined," said Rivas Logan, who also served on the Miami-Dade School Board. "It's not the party of my parents. It's a party that has been radicalized and held hostage by a group of extremists."

Rivas Logan was welcomed to the party by another Republican-turned-Democrat: gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist. 

"Bienvenida @anarivaslogan to the Democratic Party!" Crist wrote on Twitter. "Glad you are here my friend." [...]

On Monday, Rivas Logan called the Republican Party "a party that attacks women and minorities — and one that asked me, and my former Hispanic Republican colleagues in the Florida legislature, to turn on their own people by supporting extreme anti-immigrant policies."

What else can we say? They can't say we didn't warn them. When we said that Republicans' stealth campaign to kill comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) would come back to bite them, we envisioned this happening.

After all, who would feel welcome in a party that rewards politicians who try to use xenophobia and hatred for political advantage? And sadly for those Republicans who share the same worries as Ana Rivas Logan, this trend shows no signs of letting up. Instead, (current federal Rep. and) "King of Crazy" Steve King (R-Iowa) is running victory laps around the rotting corpse of CIR on Capitol Hill.

"It's the right position and makes sense and is consistent with a majority of our conference -- a significant majority of our conference," Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told TPM in a brief interview on Monday evening.

He claimed House Republicans oppose bringing up immigration reform by "a three or four to one" margin.

The Iowa congressman said reform opponents must keep the heat on Republican leaders so that they don't change their minds.

"We still have to man the watchtowers because things could change," he said.

Wait, what?! What does Rep. King mean by "manning the watchtowers"? Perhaps he's referring to this. The House voted yesterday to raise the debt ceiling in order for the nation to pay its bills. The final tally was 221-201, with 28 Republicans joining 193 Democrats to pass it. (For the record, Reps. Mark Amodei [R-Carson City] & Joe Heck [R-Henderson] voted against paying the nation's bills, while Reps. Dina Titus [D-Paradise] & Steven Horsford [D-North Las Vegas] both voted in favor of doing so.)

So what does the latest debt ceiling vote have to do with CIR? Think two letters and a number: HR 15. It already has bipartisan support, and it's modeled after the bipartisan Senate CIR bill that easily passed that chamber last summer. Since House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has now demonstrated that bills can pass the lower house of Congress without the "TEA Powered Total Obstruction Caucus", why can't he bring to the floor legislation that achieves what several of his backbenchers (cough- Joe Heck- cough) have said they want to accomplish?

Right now, Steve King is running victory laps on Capitol Hill because he believes Speaker Boehner is too afraid of him and his fellow 21st Century Know Nothings to actually cross them & let CIR pass. But if Speaker Boehner & other Republican "leaders" want to prove they're serious about offering America a realistic option for sound governance, then they must drop the "rebranding" nonsense and actually start governing for real. And that means they must pass long awaited & sorely needed legislation that has clear bipartisan support, even if it's legislation that the 'baggers don't like.

Either Republicans can finally let CIR pass, or they can let more members like Ana Rivas Logan leave their sorry excuse for a party. It's ultimately their choice.

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