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Tilting at Windmills

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April 28, 2010

A TEST OF MORAL SERIOUSNESS.... I rarely myself in agreement with Michael Gerson, but his column on immigration policy today noted a sentiment that I can strongly endorse: "The Arizona law -- like others before it -- does have one virtue. It sorts Republicans according to their political and moral seriousness."

It does, indeed. At this point, the serious GOP contingent is quite small, but it's slowly growing. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) criticized Arizona's awful new immigration law yesterday, and was soon followed by former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge and California gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman. Florida's Marco Rubio also doesn't care for the odious Arizona measure, and even former Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado believes it goes too far.

But all of those Republicans have one thing in common: none of them currently hold public office. How about actual GOP officeholders?

Amanda Terkel has been keeping track of Republican lawmakers who've stated their public position on Arizona's effort, and so far, only two GOP members -- Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- have been willing to criticize the state law.

What about their colleagues? Kasie Hunt reports that Republicans, who usually can't wait to pop off in front of reporters, are suddenly feeling shy.

Democrats can't shout loud enough about how much they hate Arizona's harsh immigration law. But Republican lawmakers are hedging, dodging, and reaching for nuance -- anything to avoid taking a strong stand on Arizona.

House Minority Leader John Boehner says it's a state issue and, well, it has 70 percent support in Arizona. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is "sympathetic." ... Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), caught between Texas' large Hispanic population and his job running national Senate campaigns, thinks it's "probably constitutional." [...]

Even the normally outspoken Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was subdued. "You know I haven't even really been following it to tell the truth," she told POLITICO when asked about the law.

If the issue is a test of Republicans' political and moral seriousness, it appears most of the party caucus on the Hill is content with an "incomplete."

Here's a thought: what about a non-binding resolution expressing a sense of Congress that the Arizona law is a legally-dubious travesty? Why not get every member of both chambers on the record?

Republicans tend to love pushing these kinds of resolutions, hoping to put Democrats on the spot. Perhaps Dems might be in the mood to turn the tables.

Steve Benen 10:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (27)

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Comments

Cranks and cowards, all of them!!

http://www.gregpalast.com/behind-the-arizona-immigration-lawgop-game-to-swipe-the-november-election/

Posted by: Dave in Austin on April 28, 2010 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

The party of 'small government' doesn't have much to say when their party REGULATES moral/ethical issues instead of FIXING the problem? What a SHOCK!

Posted by: SYSPROG on April 28, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Go after the employers and the illegal immigration problem will fix itself.

Posted by: qwerty on April 28, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

The Rethugs wouldn't think twice about such a non-binding resolution, but the Dim-Dems will probably think about it forever.

Posted by: rrk1 on April 28, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

I abhor this new law in Arizona because it will turn Arizona into a police state. It is draconian. I have even suggested that MLB consider boycotting spring training in Arizona, where 15 teams, including the Cubs and A's, not only train, but, thousands of fans travel to Arizona for some sun and early baseball.

However, I would, also, like to see the NFL boycott playing any more games in Mexico City until the Mexican government steps up to the plate and does more to stop the flow of drugs and provide meaningful jobs for their citizens. For too long, their government has enjoyed the benefits of the cash cow of their workers coming to the US and sending money back to their families. This has kept many a Mexican city afloat. The Democratic Party, also, needs to step to the plate and pass immigration reform. We can carp about this draconian law, but, this issue is huge and needs to be solved by both countries.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 28, 2010 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

A non-binding resolution would be an excellent idea. Keeps the issue in the spotlight, makes national Repubs squirm at something that's already becoming a subject of widespread ridicule outside Arizona.

Posted by: Basilsic on April 28, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans are so two faced.Another example of it is Haley Barbour, who has done a good job of smearing Obama, telling lies, bad mouthing Democratic spending etc. I have a deep sympathy for the people of his state and feel that they need help. Haley Barbour now is quietly asking Obama to declare his state a disaster area to qualify for a billion of federal money, although his people need it, it leaves a bad taste that he will keep smearing Obama as soon as he gets it.

Posted by: jJS on April 28, 2010 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

But Republican lawmakers are hedging, dodging, and reaching for nuance -- anything to avoid taking a strong stand on Arizona.

I'm betting none of them will take a strong stand on this, either. These are not serious, principled or even moral people. I think the last 30 years have proven that.

Posted by: electrolite on April 28, 2010 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Tom Tancredo has actually clarified his statement and says he thinks the law is fine. So change it because the facts changed. Reading the statement it was pretty bland.

Posted by: MNPundit on April 28, 2010 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP is using the playground defense 'I did this so the other side MUST be doing this'. It is on every issue (see post of Steve's right before this one). WATCH FOR IT. They have run out of talking points. As far as Haley Barbour goes he is a two faced ahole. Always has been. His defense AFTER he gets the money will be 'HEY we paid IN'...of course, not as much as OTHER states that don't continually ASK for aid. While money was pouring into Mississippi during Katrina he totally dissed Louisana cuz you know, it's LIBERAL saying what poor excuses for human beings they were, while he was SUCKING at the federal trough just as much.

Posted by: SYSPROG on April 28, 2010 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Show me your moral standing

Republicans tend to love pushing these kinds of resolutions, hoping to put Democrats on the spot. Perhaps Dems might be in the mood to turn the tables.

And why not?

If Arizona Republicans demand that the US President and US citizens show papers on demand, why shouldn't national Democrats demand that national republicans show their moral acquiescence with the policy?

Posted by: koreyel on April 28, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, please -- please, please, please -- stop including JEB in with any group of "serious" republicans.

He is a Bush. There is not a bone in his body that is not after power and money.

Posted by: karen marie on April 28, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Non-binding resolutions like this are stupid when Republicans do them, and they're not made any less stupid if they're proposed by Democrats.

I want to be member of the non-stupid party.

Posted by: JD Rhoades on April 28, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

What JD Rhoades said.

Posted by: bluewave on April 28, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Bachmann hasn't been following the issue because she couldn't whip up any anti-immigrant hate in Minnesota when she made it her marquee issue a few years ago. She moved on from there to incandescent light bulbs or drill baby drill or something equally headline-grabbing.

Posted by: Albert on April 28, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

The Arizona draconian state is exactly how the Republicans want America to be. Republicans signed loyalty pledges and hate a having a black president.They are shy because Arizona has allowed a right wing supremacist write the legislature and this is the actual direction Republicans want America to go to. White Only ! All others should just serve as servants to the White Elite. The Republican old boy network wants only whites from original 13 states to be in power. Stand up America and stop this idiocy.

Posted by: MLJohnston on April 28, 2010 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "I rarely myself in agreement with Michael Gerson, but his column on immigration policy today noted a sentiment that I can strongly endorse ..."

Funny thing how Republicans begin expressing uncharacteristically reasonable "sentiments" ... when they realize that their hateful, extremist pandering to jingoistic xenophobia is going to cost them the Hispanic vote, nationwide, forever.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 28, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

as this drags out, and as the Repugnants and their thug base absorb all the blah blah blah fro the usual suspects -- SF mayor, lib sports fans (Geo Will will fix you folks!), the result will be that Arizona has moved to the premiere spot bringing the future police state of Amerika (yee haw!)

Fuck Oklahoma! All they do is enslave women and their uteruses -- that is so 19th century (so prehistoric, really)

AZ now -- AZ has got the neo-crypto-nazio thing goin' sweetheart... they's in the driver's seat!

Let's see you match that Haley Barbour, you fat pig!
(Hell, AZ's got a woman for a guv!)
Let's see you match it, McDonnell, you little Jesus dawg, you...

Posted by: neill on April 28, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Karen Marie. You don't hand out "reasonable" credits for being merely tepid about laws that have *actual* fascist overtones (and I don't use that word polemically or lightly; this is a truly disturbing expansion of state power into private lives).

This is not screaming and stamping your feet on the floor of the senate. This is real law where real police officers are going to use real tasers on real people. Citizens or not, if it's enforced, it's going to get ugly. Authentic American values demand real opposition not this "well, the federal government MADE them do it" bs.

Giving Jeb Bush credit on this just moves the window on human decency.

Posted by: vig on April 28, 2010 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

I do not believe the 70% approval rate ... Yes, people in the weird reactionary conservative parts of Phoenix and the religious kooky part of Cochise County might agree... but I do not see it here in Southern Arizona.

Yes, it sounds cool to "punish" undocumented immigrants or "illegal aliens" (a term which sounds vaguely like some "fifth column" has invaded Arizona.) but the expense of catching them, holding them, and shipping them back to some undefined country south of the border is fantastic.

When caught, they go to jail which is expensive about $100 a day... plus time for police arresting, judge, juries turning them over to the federal government for retrials.. the opportunity costs for police and courts which could be better spent elsewhere.

The reactionaries who wrote this have no concept of the additional burden they have placed on local governments.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on April 28, 2010 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was subdued. "You know I haven't even really been following it to tell the truth,"

That's never stopped her before. Why should she not have an opinion on something she knows nothing about now?

Posted by: Texas Aggie on April 28, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Stupid Is US

I want to be member of the non-stupid party.

And I want to be a citizen of a non-stupid country. But that ain't going to happen. Is it? Like it or not we live in a country where 40% believe the president is a socialist. That despite the fact that economic inequality continues to grow. (Well then, maybe he is a ineffective socialist?) We live in a country that is legislating against non-existent government embedded microchips. What's next? A law to ban liberals from other planets from landing on earth?

America is dog shit stupid. You live in loon land. Get over it. Or better, figure out how to manipulate Ma and Pa Stupid to bring about the change you wish to see. For me that is all about giving Science a chance to do its miracles. That means I want Democrats in power. They tend to believe in the efficacy of Science as distinguished from the mystical realism of Palin and company.

So if playing hardball with immigration is one way to keep Barack as President, than so be it. Roll out the wedge politics, or better: Don't be shy to express moral outrage when moral outrage is committed. And if demanding that the President show his papers to Phoenix (America's white anus) isn't outrageous, what is? How about this: That any US citizen has to show their papers on demand to Phoenix's white anus? Fuck that. It's outrageous.

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Posted by: wzmhqgzydlp on April 28, 2010 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

"..even former Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado believes it goes too far..."

OK, whoa. That's amazing.

Congrats, Arizona - you have outcrazied Tancredo. That is a feat that no person or group of people have ever even dreamt of achieving.

Posted by: Ohioan on April 28, 2010 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Perhaps Dems might be in the mood to turn the tables".

Forget it. That would require action of the part of a political party that stood in genuine opposition to the unhinged GOP.

Posted by: JW on April 28, 2010 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

I believe it was on KO's show that had the clip of McCain saying AZ passed the law because the federal government had failed to do anything about illegal immigration. KO said at the end: "But Senator, you ARE the federal government."
Beautiful.

Posted by: Schtick on April 28, 2010 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I always thought these "gotcha" resolutions were a waste of time when the Republicans did it, and I would think they are an equally big wast of time when the Dems might do it. Forget the theater, and stick to governing.

Posted by: mogwai on April 28, 2010 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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