Monday, February 18, 2013

GOP Congress backs immigration reform to garner votes…opposes gun control to hold on to votes

It’s all about “ME,” and by that I mean a dysfunctional Congress thinking only about what it takes to get reelected.  When it means turning on a huge new voting population like Hispanics, they are now rushing in to enlist this group in hopes of holding on to their jobs in 2014, and maybe adding a few seats in heavily Latino districts.  But when it comes to curbing gun violence through the passage of reasonable gun control legislation that will save innocent lives, the votes evaporate under the cloud of Wayne LaPierre and his National Rifle Assn. (NRA).

And it isn’t just Republicans.  There are turncoat Democrats representing conservative to moderate districts who walk the fence and vote with the right just to stay in office.  The primary example is Dems who refuse to back the President’s gun control legislation because of the gun bubbas they represent.  Much of this group is likely to be against immigration reform but if their district has a sizable Hispanic population, the typical politician will no doubt find a way to justify a vote in favor just to stay competitive.  I say throw ‘em all out.

As an example of a classic flip-flop, there was Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain who championed immigration reform prior to the 2008 election.  But in his run for President, in a time where the Tea Party still had a firm grip on the GOP, he turned against the issue to please his Arizona and national constituents.  As it turned out it worked, at least as far as turning off the Latino vote.  Obama received 67% nationally, 56% in McCain’s home state of Arizona compared to McCain’s 31% and 41% respectively.  Overall, Obama 52.9%, McCain 45.7%.

In a recent CNN/ORC International survey, 53% want the main focus of the immigration issue focused on allowing undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship.  This is a change from 2011 when 55% said the main focus should be on deportation.  With a wishy-washy American public, is Congress making its decisions based on the current direction taken on immigration reform?  If so, why don’t these blockheads listen to this same constituency when it says in a CBS News poll following the Sandy Hook massacre that 59% favorstricter gun control?

It’s clear why.  Because of the intimidation of LaPierre’s NRA and the fear he instills in Congress that he will get them fired if they don’t back his brand of gun control.  Once again, looking out for number one over passing common sense gun control legislation that could save thousands of lives.  And there’s a connection between the Hispanic vote and gun control. A November 2011 poll by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that 69 percent of Latino voters support stricter laws on gun sales.  Hispanics for gun control in 2014 could be a formidable force.

After the Romney disaster with Hispanics, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said: "I think you are seeing a lot of movement from our party on these issues.  A lot of it, I tell you, was tone. You know, it wasn't necessarily the policy on immigration, it was what is coming out of your mouth."  I’m not sure just how to interpret this but it sounds suspiciously like an approach to Latinos of ‘we will tolerate you for your vote but don’t expect too much from the GOP in the way of change on immigration issues.’  That’s just my take.

John Feinblatt, chief adviser for policy and strategic planning to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, says our “antiquated immigration laws” are still meant for the black and white TV era.  Adding, even China provides generous stipends and other perks to lure the best scientists and engineers to its country.  Further, while “Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore and Chile offer visas and other incentives to attract entrepreneurs to their countries, we make it nearly impossible for most entrepreneurs to come here.”  There’s more but you get the idea.

And gun control is just one more example illustrating the mental retardation of the United States on issues clearly beneficial to Americans living a better life.  But in Congress you will jeopardize your career in politics if you cross Wayne LaPierre and his NRA.  FormerArizona Sen. Dennis DeConcini, a Democrat, championed legislation against assault weapons in 1989 after the Stockton, CA shooting of school children.  It passed in the Senate, failed in the House.  DeConcini, in Arizona, was almost recalled.  What else would you expect from this state?

The 2014 elections will be interesting from several standpoints.  A lot depends on what happens to gun control and Immigration reform legislation in the next several months.  Even more will be decided on how the GOP Congress of “NO” will work with the President on the programs he laid out in his State of the Union message.  Obama’s win was a mandate but he is still hampered by a Republican led House and a bare majority in the Senate.  And so far the conservatives have shown few signs of cooperation.  How long will the American public put up with this?

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