Day: August 16, 2012

Brewer’s Immigration Blast At Obama Looks Like A Dud

Brewer’s Immigration Blast At Obama Looks Like A Dud

H/t:  Jamar L. Freeze

Think Progress

At first blush, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer seemed to be defying the federal government once again on Wednesday night.

The Republican governor signed an executive order saying Arizona had no plans to give government benefits, including drivers licenses, to the tens of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants in that state who would be getting work permits and immunity from deportation under President Obama’s new immigration policy.

But while the order sounded harsh, at least one high-ranking Democrat in Arizona quickly threw cold water on it, saying Brewer’s declaration appears to be little more than hot air.

“It doesn’t seem to really do anything,” state Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira told TPM. “I see it as her once again trying to grandstand on the issue of immigration.”

The order came the same week that the Obama administration began rolling out a program to bring undocumented young people out of the shadows and give them the ability to work and do things like pay taxes. Known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program had youths lining up throughout the nation to find out how to apply for it.

Brewer, who signed Arizona’s harsh immigration law known as SB 1070 and who has butted heads with Obama on immigration multiple times, said her executive order was a direct response to the president’s program. But whether that response actually changes the way Arizona will deal with the program is another matter.

Schapira pointed out that Arizona already had a number of strict immigration laws in place, including one that barred illegal immigrants from getting drivers licenses or state issued identification cards. The law may have already been interpreted to bar any newly immune immigrants from getting those state IDs, Schapira said. That means Brewer’s order effectively carried no weight at all.

Even the governor admitted at a news conference late in the day that nothing really changed because of her order. “It actually is no different than what was already in place,” Brewer said.

She also struggled to describe her action on a conservative talk radio show in Phoenix, saying it was only meant to guide state workers on how to handle the situation.

“It was an order to clarify where Arizona stands on this position so there would be no confusion for the directors of my agencies,” the governor said in the phone interview with KFYI’s Mike Broomhead.

Later in the same conversation, she stumbled when describing what role the state would play under the president’s new program. “We will issue an employment authorization card to these people,” Brewer said, then paused as if listening to somebody in the background. “The feds will, yeah, the feds will.”

After the order was issued, Alessandra Soler, the Arizona director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the whole thing made it look as if Brewer didn’t really understand the law in the first place.

“This is yet another reason why Arizona has no business trying to regulate immigration matters,” Soler said in a written statement.

Yet she also added that the ACLU believes neither Brewer’s order nor the current Arizona laws will bar the newly documented young immigrants from getting state issued IDs. “This order conflicts with state and federal law because people who are granted deferred action will, in fact, have authorized presence in the United States and under Arizona law people who have authorized presence are eligible to apply for Arizona state identification,” Soler said.

Regardless, other immigration activists and people involved in politics told TPM it was too soon to know for sure whether Brewer’s order would change anything. They said immigration attorneys would be looking at the language in the coming days to figure out what, if anything, comes next.

Listen to Brewer’s appearance on KFYI in Phoenix.

Why Obama-Romney Debate Will (Continue To) Be Vicious

This is a good read from Huffington Post‘s Editorial Director, Howard Fineman

The Huffington Post

Okay, I admit it: I was wrong. I was guilty of optimism. Also naiveté and ignorance. I predicted in this space that the elevation of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would produce a more serious, substantive tone in the campaign.

Well, if anything, the campaign is closer to the new hit movie “The Campaign” than it was a week ago. All we’re missing in reality is a punched baby and a candidate-only wrestling match.

What happened?

Well, for one, Ryan turns out, upon closer inspection, not to be a purifying ideologue, but rather a young, power-hungry, ladder-climbing trimmer — less Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman and more Karl Rove and George W. Bush.

Ryan’s principled opposition to big government and the welfare state would be more convincing, and give him more leverage and interest in serious debate, if he hadn’t voted for a wide swath of the Bush-era expansion of big government and the welfare state. He even sought to shovel federal money back to Janesville, as his family business had done for generations.

He shifted to the right out of ideological remorse, I’ll grant him that, but also out of calculation, once Barack Obama loomed on the horizon. Ryan has been amassing a war chest of his own ever since, and now has more money on hand than any other GOP member of the House. Looking back on it, it is remarkable that he didn’t run for the Republican nomination.

This is no debate society guy. He is a 42-year-old spreadsheet-reading attack dog.  That is all his budgets were about. He knew they couldn’t become law. He rarely passed any laws. He wanted Tea Party cred, and to advertise himself to the conservative money.

So Ryan’s one reason the conversation is mired in the mud. There are many others, some obvious, some not so. Here is a list of (some of) the reasons why this is still (as I have written before) the nastiest, most abrasive and personally accusatory presidential campaign in modern times:

ROMNEY – In the GOP primary, Mitt Romney’s main strategy was to destroy and discredit his foes. He crowed that there was “no whining in politics” after he tanked Newt Gingrich in Florida. He ran almost no positive advertising, advanced only vague positions and plans, and insisted on privacy or total control of the narrative around the most revealing parts of his life and career — his family, his faith, his business, his wealth. He may as well have been the helmeted Robocop. That strategy continues: The campaign’s main imperative is to accuse the president of a failure to create jobs and of success in wasting money.

OBAMA – It’s hard to sell uplift when 23 million people want and need full-time work, so the president is selling the fear that the Romney team will dismantle the cooperative social state that the country has erected on a bipartisan basis starting with the New Deal and Social Security in 1935. He has used Romney’s secrecy about his wealth to cast the GOP nominee, in personal terms, as a selfish man who is blissfully ignorant about the way real people live their lives.

LIKABILITY – One of the president’s leading advantages remains the fact that he is well liked on a personal basis. Romney seems to be under no illusion that he can achieve a similar popularity, which, in its own way, is refreshing. He doesn’t seem to need to be liked. But he can try to bring the other guy down to his level, which is what he is doing by accusing Obama of cheapening the discourse.

IMMEDIACY vs. COMPLEXITY – The main problems we face are monstrously complex: the federal budget and national debt; global banks and finance; the U.S. health care system; global climate change. And yet our attention spans grow shorter, and the old conversations we called “civil discourse” are too slow for our nervous systems. A half-century ago, Richard Nixon and Jack Kennedy – two of the toughest customers ever in U.S. politics — participated in a campaign and a series of televised debates that now seem impossibly polite and substantive, and lengthy, by today’s fiber-optic standards. If you have no time, the easiest thing to do is to hurl an accusation.

MEDIA – The more visual the media becomes, the more personal it becomes, and the more emotional. Measured, granular discourse about abstract topics fades and becomes all but impossible. One must try to make the other guy literally squirm, preferably on camera.

OUTSIDE MONEY – The flood of unregulated, secretly sourced outside money coarsens the debate in two ways. First, the rules favor independent groups that make accusations, because they can’t legally advocate for the election of a candidate. But they are free to trash anyone they want. And secret money doesn’t have to take responsibility for harsh attacks. We may never know who was flinging the dirt, which gives rich donors more freedom to throw it.

BASE GAME – The late Lee Atwater used to say that politics was a “base game.” I don’t think he ever bothered to examine the double meaning of that, but in any case, the idea was that you turned out your base. That was it. And in a split electorate, with a relative handful of undecided, the bias is toward hysteria. That is, excite your own base and depress turnout for the other guy. Romney for the first time has a positive way to do that: the base genuinely likes Ryan. But for the most part, the method will continue to be to attack. Same goes for the president — and Ryan is good for that, too.

BIDEN vs. RYAN – This match-up is going to be a sideshow of nastiness, with nearly a 30-year age difference between the two. You can already hear the GOP trying out the geriatric attacks on the vice president. Expect more.

NETHERWORLD – Race and religion are sure to surface as corrosive forces. The Romney campaign accused Biden of using racial language in Virginia when he said that banks wanted to keep voters in “chains.” But was that a way to decry the rise of race as a topic, or amplify it?

So much for my apology and explanation. And if you want to see what campaigns used to be like, check out an excerpt of the first Kennedy-Nixon debate in 1960. Obama-Romney won’t be anything like it.

Joe Conason’s Quote Is Still Relevant…

 

Joe Conason

From Wikipedia:

Joe Conason (born January 25, 1954) is an American journalist, author and political commentator. He writes a column for Salon.com and has written a number of books, including Big Lies (2003), which addresses what he says are myths spread about liberals by conservatives. He currently is editor-in-chief at The National Memo, a new political newsletter and website.

Conason wrote:

Liberal policies made America the freest, wealthiest, most successful and most powerful nation in human history. Conservatism in power always threatens to undo that national progress, and is almost always frustrated by the innate decency and democratic instincts of the American people…

The above quote comes from Joe Conason’s 2003 New York Times Bestseller, Big Lies.

It appears that the Republican attack machine’s vitriolic approach to politics by barely compromising across the aisle with Democrats,  inter alia, may have reached it’s peak during the Clinton Administration and has carried on to this day with perhaps even more vitriol and much less compromise.

 

Arizona Governor Tries To Thwart Obama’s Immigration Directive With Executive Order

Which is it?  Does Arizona’s Governor Brewer hate Obama immensely or is it a hate for “undocumented workers”?   By the way, in my mind, no human being is “illegal”…

Think Progress

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) has signed an executive order that attempts to thwart President Obama’s directive extending temporary work permits to more than a million undocumented immigrants. The Obama administration’s policy — which would grant two-year work authorizations to undocumented youth between 15 and 30 years of age who have lived in the U.S. continuously for at least five years — was announced in June and went into effect on Wednesday.

Brewer’s order directs “state agencies to deny driver’s licenses and other public benefits to young illegal immigrants who obtain work authorizations” and “directs state agencies to start emergency rulemaking processes as necessary to implement her order.” From the document:

Pawlenty suggests that Soledad O’Brien doesn’t understand English

Tim Pawlenty speaks to CNN’s Soledad O’Brien

The Raw Story

Romney surrogates going up against CNN host Soledad O’Brien clearly haven’t learned their lesson.

A day after former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu angrily told O’Brien to “put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead,” former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney’s national campaign co-chair, suggested that the CNN host didn’t understand English.

During an interview on Wednesday, O’Brien told Pawlenty that one of the presumptive Republican presidential candidate’s ads falsely claimed that President Barack Obama had cut $716 billion from Medicare — but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had determined that it was actually reduction in spending, not benefits.

“Isn’t that just patently untrue in that ad?” she asked the former Minnesota governor.

“No, that’s not correct, Soledad,” Pawlenty replied. “It is absolutely beyond factual dispute that [Obama] has cut $716 billion out of the money that was projected to be spent on Medicare over the next 10 years.”

“But, sir, it’s not a cut in Medicare, right?” O’Brien observed. “Let me just read from the CBO. It’s a ‘permanent reduction in the annual updates to Medicaid’s payment rates.’ It’s a cut in the spending — future spending. And it’s cut that actually goes to insurers, right? I mean, it’s not cuts to individuals.”

“No matter how you say this, it’s a cut to Medicare,” Pawlenty insisted. “You can’t even with a straight face, look your viewers in the eye and tell [them] that it’s not a cut to Medicare.”

“Well, I can’t look viewers in the eye from where I am,” O’Brien pointed out. “I’m saying the way the CBO puts it. … That is a savings.”

“Do you know what that is in English?” Pawlenty quipped.

“I speak English incredibly well, sir, as you know,” O’Brien shot back. “So, tell me what it is in English.”

“In plain speaking is this — and I just mean in compared to the mumbo jumbo in the bureaucracy in the CBO — what they’re saying is that Medicare was going to go up by X and now it’s going to go up by X minus $716 billion. There is no question that is a cut in where current law was before Obamacare was passed. There is no way you can present that in any other way.”

“Of you can call it a savings is actually the other way to present that,” O’Brien explained.

Although O’Brien is of Latino (and Irish and African American) descent, she actually only speaks English fluently.

On Monday, Sununu, who serves as the chairman of Romney’s national steering committee, had  lashed out at O’Brien after she tried to fact check his claims about vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s plan to cut Medicare.

“Soledad, stop this!” Sununu shouted. “All you’re doing is mimicking the stuff that comes out of the White House and gets repeated on the Democratic blog boards out there.”

“I’m telling you what Factcheck.com tells you, I’m telling you what the CBO tells you, I’m telling you what CNN’s independent analysis says,” the CNN host explained.

“Put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead when you do this!” the frustrated surrogate shot back.

“You know, let me tell you something,” O’Brien said. “There is independent analysis that details what this is about. … And name calling to me and somehow by you repeating a number of $716 billion, that you can make that stick when [you say] that figure is being ‘stolen’ from Medicare, that’s not true. You can’t just repeat it and make it true, sir.”

Watch this video from CNN Starting Point, broadcast Aug. 15, 2012…