Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

Posts Tagged ‘immigration reform’

Candidate Clinton?

What an interesting week it has been in politics. First, last week’s stunning defeat of Virginia’s Eric Cantor, who lost to an unknown Tea Party candidate. Then the admission on the heels of the Romney summit in Utah that there is a division within the Republican Party and no clear Presidential candidate in sight for 2016. Today, I read rumblings that some are hoping Gov. Mitt Romney will give it another whirl. That would be interesting, especially if he decides not to be muffled by the extremists and to run on a platform similar to the one he employed in Massachusetts. It’s time for moderate Republicans to organize and he really is a moderate at heart, as evidenced by his leadership as Governor. Speak past the extremists if you do, Mitt!

Now, Hillary Clinton’s “Is She or Isn’t She?” interview on CNN. The interview was ostensibly about her book, “Hard Choices.”  I dialed in late so I don’t know if Christiane Amanpour disclosed at the outset that her husband, James Rubin, had worked on Clinton’s 2007 campaign. Amanpour was clearly a “friendly” as we say in the media but I will not slam CNN or Hillary for that given that this is one woman in politics who has had her share of harsh treatment. Interestingly, harsh was missing from the exchange. She was measured and circumspect.

I will say it was interesting that the speech bubble Amanpour held up with viewers’  impressions of Hillary had only positive messaging on it. The most visible word on there was “President.”

Highlights of the interview include her statements that she is going to move forward on immigration reform, that she would send young children back to the Latin American countries they have fled to enter the U.S. illegally (once a responsible party is identified), that the blame for not arming rebels in Syria lies with Obama, that she is going to let states decide on recreational marijuana but hasn’t smoked herself. She was her most forceful on the issue of background checks, saying polls show Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of them.

Even if she doesn’t run, her interview raised some interesting points about American attitudes towards female candidates. Of course, we should be as comfortable electing a woman as a man. And we should pay her the same as we would pay him. But when someone like Hillary Clinton is asked why she wants to run when she has a grandchild on the way, you seriously have to wonder whether people realize how inherently sexist our assumptions still are. Her answer that a lot of Grandfathers have run for public office was spot on.

I just got back from a week in Texas. I saw three Presidential libraries in a week. First, President Bill Clinton’s in Arkansas, then Lyndon Baines Johnson’s in Johnson City and finally George H.W. Bush’s at Texas A & M in College Station. I told friends my favorite thing about the trip was how each of these Presidents’ libraries allowed them to depict their legacies as they see fit. The truth is there is more room for that than ever. With partisan rancor at its worst, Americans are so unsure of what is news and what is spin, that they are turning away from politics altogether.  That is where the danger lies. Not only when it comes to an informed electorate but also for future generations.

I’m actually beginning to question whether our conventional methods of weaning out the differences between candidates, like press conferences, debates and :30 campaign spots have become obsolete. Maybe each candidate should be given weekly one-on-one, half-hour or hour long, interviews in which they are asked to focus on just one issue like education, the economy, foreign affairs or energy. Americans will at least get to choose without the constant interruptions or one liners that make for exciting television but do little to help Americans decide who is telling the truth, who has the temperament and experience to lead and who inspires them.

I would love to see Mitt Romney in a similar interview to tonight’s interview with Hillary. After all, many people believe, he was treated unfairly by the press at times, in part because he was wealthy and successful.

In the last week, I have had a bright young person tell me she no longer believes in party politics. I listened to an accountant who has voted for Democrats say he’ll vote for whoever can right the ship financially by reforming entitlements, military spending, underfunded pensions and reigning in the interest on our debts. I’ve had a green Republican admit alternative energy has to be part of the energy mix going forward because of EPA mandates to upgrade infrastructure as well as concerns about global warming and sustainability.  I read an article about how handwriting could be phased out after second grade under Common Core because “kids won’t need it.”  I signed a petition urging our Governor to veto a law that creates a 72 hour waiting period for abortion because I am outraged that the one legal provider in our state is under attack … again. (As I’ve said before, “agreeing to disagree” on social issues is fine but dialing back rights isn’t) I wondered who is going to pay for Medicaid expansion in this state, which I was originally opposed to, but am reconsidering, as hospitals lay off employees because of the unfair burden Obamacare has placed on them.

I write this a day after the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to consider whether vicious lies in the midst of political campaigns about a candidate’s criminal convictions and mental state fall under free speech or whether that should be criminal, as it currently is according to Ohio. A law like that, broadly applied, would be a game changing tipping point in politics as we know it.

 

 

 

Civics for Kids

This is a great talking point for kids. Ask them what they think about the following 

story. Was the Congressman wrong? 

Anti-Immigration Crowd Applauds Congressman’s Assurance That Young Girl’s Father May Be Deported

BY ESTHER YU-HSI LEE ON AUGUST 19, 2013 AT 10:26 AM

dont deport my dadAt a town hall in Mursfreeboro, Tenn., 11-year-old U.S. citizen Josie Molina approached the stage to ask anti-immigration reform Congressman Scott DeJarlais (R-TN) whether there was anything she could to do stop her father’s imminent deportation proceeding. “I have a dad who’s undocumented and what can I do so that he can stay with me?” she asked as her voice trembled. But when DesJarlais broke the news to her that “we have laws that we need to follow,” the crowd broke into rousing applause.

DesJarlais fielded questions about undocumented immigrants who want to serve in the military and from so-called DREAMers, who are undocumented youths brought to the country by their parents. But at all times, DesJarlais remained adamantly opposed to immigration reform, each time making border security and law-breaking the focal points of his argument. When Molina asked her question, DesJarlais responded just the same.

JOSIE MOLINA: I have a dad who’s undocumented and what can I do so that he can stay with me?

REP. DESJARLAIS: Joanna, thank you for being here and thank you for coming forward to speaking to us. This is a big intimidating crowd, and I appreciate you coming forward to ask your question. But the answer still kind of remains the same that we have laws and we need to follow those laws and that’s where we’re at.

Watch it:

 

According to some reports, both Tea Party members and numerous immigration advocates attended the packed event. But it was the Tea Partiers who applauded when DesJarlais told Molina that people need to follow the law.

But the law is not as cut and dry as DesJarlais suggests. The Obama administration implemented a policy to limit enforcementthat includes consideration of whether an individual has a U.S. citizen child or spouse. The policy also allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to focus deportations on criminal immigrants.

The immigration bill that passed the Senate would provide a path to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants, and allow parents to make decisions about their child’s care before they are deported. The bill is pending before the House, with many Republicans like DesJarlais withholding their support. In the absence of such reform, more than 205,000 parents of U.S. citizen children like Molina, have been deported between 2010 and 2012.

Bi-Partisanship is breaking out on Capitol Hill

 WASHINGTON (AP) — A filibuster averted. A likely accord on immigration reform. A former Republican presidential candidate thanked — publicly! — by the Senate’s top Democrat. Lawmakers of both parties lunched together for the first time many could remember, agreeing to agree on the heroism of Sen. John McCain and the tragedy of the Newtown, Conn., massacre.

Bipartisanship broke out on Capitol Hill on Thursday, a newsy development after years of polarization that infuriated the public, brought Congress to a near-halt and the country to the brink of economic disaster. It could all blow to pieces by the time you read this article — fierce disputes remain on gun control and immigration, among others issues. And looming over it all is a midterm election next year with big implications for the divided government and President Barack Obama’s legacy.

But let history record that for a full day in battle-scarred Washington there it was: legislative progress, bipartisan bread-breaking and the emotional stuff of human relationships long-mourned and little-seen in recent years.

Obama helped set the harmonic tone in his budget Wednesday, calling for cuts in benefit programsRepublicans have been seeking for years, a gesture widely seen as an effort to preserve the prospects of immigration and gun control legislation.

But at the center of all of the civility was McCain, the president’s vanquished GOP opponent from the 2008 presidential election. The gruff Washington veteran, Vietnam war hero and, lately, scolder of would-be obstructionists in his own party threw cold water on a filibuster threat by 13 conservative senators who oppose gun control.

“What are we afraid of?” the Arizona senator said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” ”Why not take it up and amend it and debate?”

A bipartisan gun control deal by freshman Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., inspired Senate conservatives to drop their filibuster plans, even though many Republicans who allowed the legislation to advance said they were unlikely to vote for its passage. Also helping to remove the obstruction were the family members of some of the 20 children and six adults murdered by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School who had spent days lobbying lawmakers for strictergun control laws. Several lawmakers said they were brought to tears in those meetings.

On Thursday, the Senate departed from its streak of legislating by filibuster. Under the grim gaze of Sandy Hook victims’ relatives, 16 Republicans voted with 50 Democrats and two independents to begin debate on tightening the nation’s gun laws. In the gallery over the chamber, some in the delegation wiped away tears, held hands and appeared to pray as each senator cast a vote.

Much emotional debate lay ahead and the Toomey-Manchin bill’s fate was far from certain. But after the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gave Republicans — “especially John McCain” — some rare, nationally televised credit for the progress.

“There have been many things written in the last several months about how the Senate cannot operate,” Reid, who frequently decries congressional dysfunction, said on the Senate floor. “John McCain has been a leader in this country for 31 years. People respect his opinion.”

Senators then adjourned to spend time together at a lunch for McCain to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his release from captivity in Vietnam. In a gilded room named for John, Robert and Edward Kennedy, surrounded by black-and-white photos of a young McCain returning on crutches, Republicans, Democrats and independents dined on enchiladas and tilapia as McCain revealed harrowing details of his captivity and torture.

The account of McCain’s five years as a POW was new to some in attendance. Several said they were moved to tears by it, reminded again of bigger matters than how this or that vote would go over with certain constituents back home.

“It makes you think about the human condition,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said.

Even Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican tea partyer whose 12-hour filibuster delaying the confirmation of John Brennan as CIA director inspired a rebuke from McCain, emerged reporting good times.

“He got a standing ovation from both parties,” Paul said. “The idea of defending the country brings everybody together.”

Late in the day, there was even more apparent progress: Four Democratic and four Republican senators reached agreement on all the major elements of sweeping legislation to remake the nation’s immigration laws, and expect to unveil the bill next week.

Don’t get used to all this civility and forward motion, Reid warned.

“The hard work,” he said, “starts now.”

 

Obama’s Valentine

You didn’t have to look past the triumvirate up on the podium last night to see that the overall theme Washington is trying to project right now is softer and more unified. The power rep tie has given way to soft violets, blues and pinks. Gone are the hard edges and traditional bright reds and blues that used to dominate in Congress.