Newt Took Page from Perry Playbook

Well, Newt stole a play out of Rick Perry’s old playbook.  He’s decided to publicly announce that he has a heart.  This play actually backfired on Rick P. Guv. Perry and along with those abysmal debate performances sent him from front runner status to bottom feeder.  Republican voters apparently really don’t like candidates who say anything remotely sympathetic toward immigrants.  Some leading Republicans have little respect or patience for people who need a helping hand out of poverty, disease, hunger or unemployment.  They idolize author, philosopher, capitalist and atheist, Ayn Rand, who argued through her characters that the playing field is level or neutral and that success is achieved not with support, but by talent and hard work alone.  Of course in politics, each side needs an enemy.  For Republicans, the enemies appear to be immigrants and the Occupy Movement; for Democrats, the Tea Party and the 1%.

Now Newt either does not really want to be the Republican nominee or he was strategically pandering to Latinos when he said he didn’t want to break “illegal” immigrant families apart and thought that there should be a way to give them legal status so that they can continue to live and work here.   Ok, so this sounds pretty progressive when coming from a neoconservative, but I’m reminded of a point that Ezra Klein made on Up With Chris Hayes this morning.  He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that Newt made it clear that there would be no amnesty.  That instead of offering a green card, his position is tantamount to red carding. And as such, in my view, this is a way to legislate a permanent underclass who could never become an organized voting block and thus never pose a danger to the white right power structure.

Newt is a savvy politician.  He knows what he is doing.  He’s aligned himself squarely against the Occupy Movement, figuring there would be no votes for him there.  And he has come out in “support” of the undocumented, in hopes that Latino voters will fall for his tactics and vote for him over Obama who has actually done very little to advance a new immigration policy as promised.  There is just one flaw in this strategy.  He’s looking too far ahead.  It won’t get him the nomination.  The Republican base controlled by the Tea Party doesn’t want to hear any candidate say anything about the rights of people, particularly the rights of the undocumented.

No, Newt ought to be out there campaigning for the rights of corporations and the 1% who have been so unfairly stigmatized and abused that they’ve been forced to create jobs abroad to make untaxed profits.  As we know, the 1% aren’t really people, they are the chosen few, the elite job creators who we all owe are very existence to.  Newt’s star will fall, because he’s strayed too far from the Republican playbook.  And Mitt’ll be back on top before you know it. One thing Mitt has not flipped flopped on has been his anti-immigrant stance.  It’s going to be an Obama vs. Romney duel in the general election.  But it won’t be about immigration, wealth inequality, or taxes.  It’ll be about “what have you done for me” lately.  The politics of me, unfortunately.  And it’ll come down to voter turnout between the haves and the have nots.

Alabama Tough on Immigrants, Too Tough

Can you imagine politics without feuds?  Can you envision a life without enemies, where all humans live in peace and perfect harmony, where everyone respects and embraces differences;  a place where people keep the channels of dialogue open;  a place devoted to building bridges and not barriers, free of propaganda? The thing is, sadly, I cannot.

Alabama has announced a new enemy: immigrants.  The Republican led state legislature is following in the footsteps of Georgia and Arizona in proclaiming the  undocumented enemy number one.  This comes as no surprise.  Apparently, Alabama prefers to invent an enemy to divert attention away from its abysmal economic performance rather than create a recovery plan to help the state and its people prosper.  For the record, I am not an Alabama basher and have nothing whatever to gain by criticizing the state legislature.  Nor am I looking to stir up a North – South culture war.  I am originally from the South, but have spent most of my adult life in the Northeast.  I grew up in a neighboring state that rivals Alabama in a bad way on issues of poverty, unemployment, and spending on education. And while my home state may be more immigrant friendly than Alabama, it was once a place where neither immigrants nor blacks felt welcomed.

“Illegal” immigrants in Alabama are toiling in mainly agricultural jobs with poor working conditions, the kind of jobs the 10% unemployed of the state don’t want.  Farming concerns depend on cheap migrant labor and were  they all to be deported, I’d hate to think what would happen to the fruit, vegetable and cotton harvest. But even worse is the thought of what would happen to the undocumented immigrant whose family depends on the money sent home. The dollars sent home help support the fragile economies of many a country south of our borders.

Interestingly, Alabama, in the heart of the Christian Bible belt, has tried for years to institute prayer in the public schools blurring the lines between church and state.  To reject a vulnerable immigrant class of hard working, resourceful people who contribute to the economy and their communities in positive ways, is to forget that we are a nation of immigrants.  This anti-immigrant law in Alabama is decidedly unchristian and unconstitutional.

McCain-Palin: A Ticket Divided

Where would McCain take the country if elected? With the conservative base of the Republican party energized by his VP pick, the answer is not clear. What is clear is that McCain is no social conservative.

  • He has sponsored and voted for immigration reform measures that would provide a guest worker program and a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers in the US.
  • He voted Yes on a bill to provide human embryonic stem cell research.
  • He believes in evolution but says let local schools districts decide whether to teach creationism.
  • He voted No on a proposed constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
  • He voted yes to a bill to increase funding for AIDS drug assistance programs.
  • He would allow, but not require school prayer.
  • He does not own a gun.

McCain’s Votes

McCain on the Issues

If I were a member of the conservative base of the Republican party (and I am not, nor am I a Republican) I would not be enthusiastic at all about John McCain. The nomination of Sarah Palin would not secure my vote either. How much influence on social policy will Palin have as the VP nominee, particularly when her views are at odds with McCain’s? How much pressure will there be on McCain to give in to the base or to flip flop on issues? His “Maverick” status will definitely be tested.

So, where would McCain take the country if elected? To the extreme right or to the center – this is the big unknown. McCain’s USA USA USA is simply not clear. The Republicans are a party divided by an energized conservative base with expectations on a “Maverick” moderate.

If I were a social moderate sitting on the fence, I would vote for Obama. Obama and Biden agree on the issues; no divisive tug-of- war going on in the party. The Democratics are United.