April 6, 2012
“Just look at this crowd for Ron Paul. No other candidate comes close to getting audiences like this. Where is the mainstream media?! Fox News posted an article with the headline ‘Where Is Ron Paul?’ on the very same day this rally was held. Talk about media bias – not to mention massive voter fraud.” –KTRN
February 8th, 2012
By: Brianna Keilar
After an avalanche of criticism, the White House is working on a way to thread the needle on a new health care policy which will require all employers-including religious institutions-to cover contraception in their health insurance plans.
Policy makers are angling for a loophole that would ensure women receive coverage without forcing Catholic charities, hospitals and institutions to pay for it, two senior administration sources told CNN Wednesday.
The administration is especially interested in the Hawaii model, in which female employees of religious institutions can purchase contraceptive coverage directly from the insurer at the same price offered to employees of all other employers.
Sources said policy makers are also looking at laws in 28 states that have similar coverage requirements.
One source prominent in the progressive Catholic community said the Hawaii plan is a “reasonably good vehicle to try” for a solution that can allay the concerns of Obama’s Catholic allies.
Another favored plan, the source said, would be legislation that would allow women employed by religiously-affiliated employers to get contraceptive insurance from the exchanges created under Obama’s sweeping health care reform, rather than from their employer’s insurer.
But the source added the administration has not yet reached out to leaders in the progressive Catholic community to work on a compromise.
Senior administration sources said while the Hawaii plan has appeal, it would not work nationally because the federal government cannot compel insurers to provide a side-contraception plan.
As for a timeframe, policymakers will announce their decision when the Department of Health and Human Services officially releases the rule, sources said.
The new policy stirred an outcry last week among conservatives and religious groups–particularly Catholics, whose teaching opposes abortion and the use of contraceptives.
While churches are exempt from the rule, hospitals and schools with religious affiliations must comply. The new policy goes into effect on August 1, but religious groups will have a year-long extension to enforce the rule.
While the regulations have caused a firestorm of criticism, a new study released by the Public Religion Research Institute shows the majority of Catholics support the administration’s plan. Nearly 6 out of 10 Catholics think employers should be required to provide this kind of insurance coverage. Among Catholic voters, support for the measure is slightly lower at 52%.
The administration first signaled it was softening its stance on the rule on Tuesday, when White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the administration was seeking alternative solutions for the issue.
“The president’s interest at a policy level is in making sure that this coverage is extended to all women because it’s important,” Carney said. “(On) the other side is finding the right balance…concerns about religious beliefs and convictions. So we will, in this transition period …seek to find ways to implement that policy that allay some of those concerns.”
On Wednesday House Speaker John Boehner called the policy an “ambiguous attack on religious freedom” and announced the chamber would pursue legislative action to prevent the rule from going into effect.
“If the president does not reverse the department’s attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people, and the constitution, that we’re sworn to uphold and defend, must,” Boehner said on the House floor, adding the Energy and Commerce committee would spearhead the effort.
The Republican presidential candidates have also been vocal about the policy on the campaign trail. Frontrunner Mitt Romney has said he would eliminate the rule on his first day in office.
But on Thursday the White House hit back repeating an argument used by Romney’s GOP opponents and pointing to a Massachusetts law in effect while Romney was governor that required hospitals-including Catholic ones-to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.
“This is I think ironic that Mitt Romney is expressing – criticizing the president for pursuing a policy that is virtually identical to the one that was in place when he was governor of Massachusetts,” Carney said.
Romney, however, vetoed the original bill, and his veto was overridden by the state legislature. Responding to Carney’s remarks on Thursday, the candidate said Carney needs to “check his history.”
“I worked very hard to get the legislature to remove all of the mandated coverages, including contraception,” Romney said during a media availability. “So quite clearly he needs to understand that was a provision that got there before I did and it was one that I fought to remove.”
January 26, 2012
By Ken Walsh
“Ron Paul’s message is getting out there like never before.” –KTRN
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul’s strategists say they have discovered a surprising source of support for their candidate—Latinos in Florida.
Paul hasn’t made any overt appeals for the Hispanic vote, his advisers say. In fact, he has barely campaigned in Florida at all because he considers the odds too great against him, although he did participate in a Tampa debate earlier this week and is preparing for another one in Jacksonville tonight. But a Paul spokesman cites a new poll indicating that the Texas congressman has the support of 41.5 percent of likely Hispanic Republican voters in Florida, with former House Speaker New Gingrich second at 25.3 percent, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts at 9.2 percent, and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 4.1 percent.
This suggests that Paul could do better than expected in Florida’s presidential primary next Tuesday.
Other polls, however, have Paul far behind. A survey sponsored by Univision, ABC News and Latino Decisions, released yesterday, found that Romney was ahead among Latinos in Florida with 35 percent, Gingrich had 20, Santorum 7, and Paul 6, with 21 percent undecided.
But Paul strategists argue that their candidate is gaining traction with Latinos, a key voting bloc in Florida.
“Ron Paul’s support among Hispanic Republicans makes sense,” says Jesse Benton, Paul’s national campaign chariman, “since Hispanics desire the same reforms that their non-Hispanic counterparts want—strong purchasing power for their hard-earned dollars, a regulatory climate hospitable to business and job growth, and personal and economic liberties returned so decision-making on important life matters occurs in the home and not in Washington.”
Other Paul strategists speculate that Hispanics see Paul as a strong advocate of policies that reward individual effort and entrepreneurship so everyone can pursue the American Dream.
Today, Kevin gives you the vital information that can help improve your health and fill your wallet!
Drug Vending Machines
FDA To Halt Avandia Safety Study
USDA Admits Meat Supply Routinely Contaminated
Study Shows Fluoride May Not Help Teeth At All
U.S. Water Supply Widely Contaminated by Weed Killer
Even Bayer Admits GMO Contamination Is Out Of Control
Artificial Sweeteners Alter How Body Handles Real Sugar
3-D TVs May Cause Health Problems
Man Dies After Medics Misses Disease 6 Times
Brain Games Do Nothing For The Brain
School Lunches Are A Threat To National Security
Arizona Voters Support Immigration Bill
Take Trudeau on the Go! Click here to download this show to your iPod, mp3 player, or PC through iTunes!
August 20th, 2010
The New York Times
By: Edward N. Luttwack
Barack Obama has emerged as a classic example of charismatic leadership — a figure upon whom others project their own hopes and desires. The resulting emotional intensity adds greatly to the more conventional strengths of the well-organized Obama campaign, and it has certainly sufficed to overcome the formidable initial advantages of Senator Hillary Clinton.
One danger of such charisma, however, is that it can evoke unrealistic hopes of what a candidate could actually accomplish in office regardless of his own personal abilities. Case in point is the oft-made claim that an Obama presidency would be welcomed by the Muslim world.
This idea often goes hand in hand with the altogether more plausible argument that Mr. Obama’s election would raise America’s esteem in Africa — indeed, he already arouses much enthusiasm in his father’s native Kenya and to a degree elsewhere on the continent.
But it is a mistake to conflate his African identity with his Muslim heritage. Senator Obama is half African by birth and Africans can understandably identify with him. In Islam, however, there is no such thing as a half-Muslim. Like all monotheistic religions, Islam is an exclusive faith.
As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mother’s Christian background is irrelevant.
Of course, as most Americans understand it, Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He chose to become a Christian, and indeed has written convincingly to explain how he arrived at his choice and how important his Christian faith is to him.
His conversion, however, was a crime in Muslim eyes; it is “irtidad” or “ridda,” usually translated from the Arabic as “apostasy,” but with connotations of rebellion and treason. Indeed, it is the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit, worse than murder (which the victim’s family may choose to forgive).
With few exceptions, the jurists of all Sunni and Shiite schools prescribe execution for all adults who leave the faith not under duress; the recommended punishment is beheading at the hands of a cleric, although in recent years there have been both stonings and hangings. (Some may point to cases in which lesser punishments were ordered — as with some Egyptian intellectuals who have been punished for writings that were construed as apostasy — but those were really instances of supposed heresy, not explicitly declared apostasy as in Senator Obama’s case.)
It is true that the criminal codes in most Muslim countries do not mandate execution for apostasy (although a law doing exactly that is pending before Iran’s Parliament and in two Malaysian states). But as a practical matter, in very few Islamic countries do the governments have sufficient authority to resist demands for the punishment of apostates at the hands of religious authorities.
For example, in Iran in 1994 the intervention of Pope John Paul II and others won a Christian convert a last-minute reprieve, but the man was abducted and killed shortly after his release. Likewise, in 2006 in Afghanistan, a Christian convert had to be declared insane to prevent his execution, and he was still forced to flee to Italy.
Because no government is likely to allow the prosecution of a President Obama — not even those of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the only two countries where Islamic religious courts dominate over secular law — another provision of Muslim law is perhaps more relevant: it prohibits punishment for any Muslim who kills any apostate, and effectively prohibits interference with such a killing.
At the very least, that would complicate the security planning of state visits by President Obama to Muslim countries, because the very act of protecting him would be sinful for Islamic security guards. More broadly, most citizens of the Islamic world would be horrified by the fact of Senator Obama’s conversion to Christianity once it became widely known — as it would, no doubt, should he win the White House. This would compromise the ability of governments in Muslim nations to cooperate with the United States in the fight against terrorism, as well as American efforts to export democracy and human rights abroad.
That an Obama presidency would cause such complications in our dealings with the Islamic world is not likely to be a major factor with American voters, and the implication is not that it should be. But of all the well-meaning desires projected on Senator Obama, the hope that he would decisively improve relations with the world’s Muslims is the least realistic.
August 4, 2010
Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a federal mandate to purchase health insurance, rebuking President Barack Obama’s administration and giving Republicans their first political victory in a national campaign to overturn the controversial health care law passed by Congress in March.
“The citizens of the Show-Me State don’t want Washington involved in their health care decisions,” said Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, one of the sponsors of the legislation that put Proposition C on the August ballot. She credited a grass-roots campaign involving Tea Party and patriot groups with building support for the anti-Washington proposition.
With most of the vote counted, Proposition C was winning by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1. The measure, which seeks to exempt Missouri from the insurance mandate in the new health care law, includes a provision that would change how insurance companies that go out of business in Missouri liquidate their assets.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Cunningham said at a campaign gathering at a private home in Town and Country. “Citizens wanted their voices to be heard.”
About 30 Proposition C supporters whooped it up loudly at 9 p.m. when the returns flashed on the television showing the measure passing with more than 70 percent of the vote.
“It’s the vote heard ’round the world,” said Dwight Janson, 53, from Glendale, clad in an American flag-patterned shirt. Janson said he went to one of the first Tea Party gatherings last year and hopped on the Proposition C bandwagon because he wanted to make a difference.
“I was tired of sitting on the sidelines bouncing my gums,” he said.
Missouri was the first of four states to seek to opt out of the insurance purchase mandate portion of the health care law that had been pushed by Obama. And while many legal scholars question whether the vote will be binding, the overwhelming approval gives the national GOP momentum as Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma hold similar votes during midterm elections in November.
“It’s a big number,” state Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, said of the vote. “I expected a victory, but not of this magnitude. This is going to propel the issue and several other issues about the proper role of the federal government.”
From almost the moment the Democratic-controlled Congress passed the health care law — which aims to increase the number of Americans with health insurance — Republicans have vowed to try to repeal it. Their primary argument is that they believe the federal government should not be involved in mandating health care decisions at the local level.
While repeal might seem an unlikely strategy, the effort to send a message state by state that voters don’t approve of being told they have to buy insurance could gain momentum.
That’s what Republicans are counting on at least, hoping that the Missouri vote will give the national movement momentum.
“It’s like a domino, and Missouri is the first one to fall,” Cunningham said. “Missouri’s vote will greatly influence the debate in the other states.”
Proposition C faced little organized opposition, although the Missouri Hospital Association mounted a mailer campaign opposing the ballot issue in the last couple of weeks. The hospital association, which spent more than $300,000 in the losing effort, said that without the new federal law, those who don’t have insurance will cause health care providers and other taxpayers to have higher costs.
“The only way to get to the cost problem in health care is to expand the insurance pool,” said hospital association spokesman Dave Dillon. He said the hospital association didn’t plan to sue over the law, but he expected it would be challenged.
“I think there is going to be no shortage of people who want to use the courts to resolve this issue,” he said.
Democrats also generally opposed Proposition C, though they didn’t spend much time or money talking about it.
In the closing days of the campaign, many politicians ‘sidled up” to Proposition C, Cunningham said, seeing the momentum the issue had gained.
Among them was U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, who won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate on Tuesday night. Late last week, Blunt announced his support of Proposition C.
On Monday, Blunt said he hoped Missouri voters would send a “ballot box message” to the Obama’s administration by overwhelmingly passing the measure.
The question now is whether the administration will respond by suing the state to block passage of the law, much as it did in Arizona recently over illegal immigration.
The issue in both is the same: When state laws conflict with federal laws, the courts have generally ruled in favor of the federal government, because of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Richard Reuben, a law professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, said that if the federal government sues on the issue, it would likely win. Several other Missouri legal and political scholars agreed.
But Cunningham is undaunted. She’s got her own experts, and they’re ready to do battle in court.
“Constitutional experts disagree,” she said. “There is substantial legal status to this thing.”
August 4, 2010
By: Don Thompson
Politicians’ tweets and status updates should be held to the same standards as paid advertising that voters see on television, hear on radio or find in their mailboxes, California’s campaign watchdog agency says in a report being released Monday.
It’s become necessary as politicians in California and elsewhere announce their candidacies and major campaign policies through Twitter, YouTube and a host of social networking sites, said FPPC Chairman Dan Schnur.
He said California’s 36-year-old Political Reform Act needs rewriting to keep up with the times.
“Our goal here is to meet the new challenges of 21st Century technology,” Schnur said. “There’s no way that the authors of the act could have anticipated that these of types of communicating a campaign message would ever exist.”
The report, compiled by a commission subcommittee, outlines possible hurdles to regulating online content, such as how to include full disclosure of who is behind a message in a 140-character tweet or a text.
Any changes the commission makes to state law should give regulators the flexibility to respond to swiftly evolving technologies, the report says.
The commission will consider the report at its Aug. 12 meeting. If the five-member commission orders its staff to propose regulations or legal changes it could be months before they take effect, potentially pushing new rules past this political season.
Campaigns would face the same disclosure rules they do now, such as saying who is behind an ad and who paid for it, but for the first time they would apply to communications on the Internet and other forums.
The subcommittee’s recommendations draw a line between paid political activity and unpaid, grassroots volunteer efforts. Political commentary by individuals unconnected to a campaign would not be affected. Nor would sending or forwarding e-mails, linking to websites or creating independent websites.
“People tweeting about someone is typically not something you would regulate,” said Barbara O’Connor, professor emeritus of communications and the former director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at California State University, Sacramento. “When it becomes an ad, it’s a different story. When it becomes an ad it really is a replacement for a 30-second spot for a new generation.”
The recommendations include requiring tweets and texts to link to a website that includes the full disclosures, although some people feel the disclosure should be in the text itself no matter how brief, O’Connor said. She testified before the subcommittee but hadn’t seen its report.
California Republican Party Vice Chairman Jon Fleischman, who writes the conservative FlashReport blog, told the subcommittee that requiring even one character in a tweet be used for disclosure would be a burden on free speech, according to the report.
Bloggers who accept payment to present their opinion in favor of or against a candidate but do not disclose their ties to a campaign are becoming increasingly common in California, but the report does not recommend regulating them — for now. The subcommittee urged bloggers to voluntarily disclose on their websites if they are being paid.
If that doesn’t work, it said regulators or lawmakers may need to step in.
Like California’s current regulations, federal campaign watchdogs regulate only paid political advertising, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states also are just beginning to consider whether their disclosure laws are sufficient to cover modern communications.
July 22, 2010
Fiscal Policy: Many voters are looking forward to 2011, hoping a new Congress will put the country back on the right track. But unless something’s done soon, the new year will also come with a raft of tax hikes — including a return of the death tax — that will be real killers.
Through the end of this year, the federal estate tax rate is zero — thanks to the package of broad-based tax cuts that President Bush pushed through to get the economy going earlier in the decade.
But as of midnight Dec. 31, the death tax returns — at a rate of 55% on estates of $1 million or more. The effect this will have on hospital life-support systems is already a matter of conjecture.
Resurrection of the death tax, however, isn’t the only tax problem that will be ushered in Jan. 1. Many other cuts from the Bush administration are set to disappear and a new set of taxes will materialize. And it’s not just the rich who will pay.
The lowest bracket for the personal income tax, for instance, moves up 50% — to 15% from 10%. The next lowest bracket — 25% — will rise to 28%, and the old 28% bracket will be 31%. At the higher end, the 33% bracket is pushed to 36% and the 35% bracket becomes 39.6%.
But the damage doesn’t stop there.
The marriage penalty also makes a comeback, and the capital gains tax will jump 33% — to 20% from 15%. The tax on dividends will go all the way from 15% to 39.6% — a 164% increase.
Both the cap-gains and dividend taxes will go up further in 2013 as the health care reform adds a 3.8% Medicare levy for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and joint filers making more than $250,000. Other tax hikes include: halving the child tax credit to $500 from $1,000 and fixing the standard deduction for couples at the same level as it is for single filers.
Letting the Bush cuts expire will cost taxpayers $115 billion next year alone, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and $2.6 trillion through 2020.
But even more tax headaches lie ahead. This “second wave” of hikes, as Americans for Tax Reform puts it, are designed to pay for ObamaCare and include:
The Medicine Cabinet Tax. Americans, says ATR, “will no longer be able to use health savings account, flexible spending account, or health reimbursement pretax dollars to purchase nonprescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).”
The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike. “This provision of ObamaCare,” according to ATR, “increases the additional tax on nonmedical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10% to 20%, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10%.”
Brand Name Drug Tax. Makers and importers of brand-name drugs will be liable for a tax of $2.5 billion in 2011. The tax goes to $3 billion a year from 2012 to 2016, then $3.5 billion in 2017 and $4.2 billion in 2018. Beginning in 2019 it falls to $2.8 billion and stays there. And who pays the new drug tax? Patients, in the form of higher prices.
Economic Substance Doctrine. ATR reports that “The IRS is now empowered to disallow perfectly legal tax deductions and maneuvers merely because it judges that the deduction or action lacks ‘economic substance.’”
A third and final (for now) wave, says ATR, consists of the alternative minimum tax’s widening net, tax hikes on employers and the loss of deductions for tuition:
• The Tax Policy Center, no right-wing group, says that the failure to index the AMT will subject 28.5 million families to the tax when they file next year, up from 4 million this year.
• “Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly deduct, or ‘depreciate’) equipment purchases up to $250,000,” says ATR. “This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses can expense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of it will have to be ‘depreciated.’”
• According to ATR, there are “literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place,” plus the loss of some tax credits. The research and experimentation tax credit will be the biggest loss, “but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.”
• The deduction for tuition and fees will no longer be available and there will be limits placed on education tax credits. Teachers won’t be able to deduct their classroom expenses and employer-provided educational aid will be restricted. Thousands of families will no longer be allowed to deduct student loan interest.
Then there’s the tax on Americans who decline to buy health care insurance (the tax the administration initially said wasn’t a tax but now argues in court that it is) plus a 3.8% Medicare tax beginning in 2013 on profits made in real estate transactions by wealthier Americans.
Not all Americans may fully realize what’s in store come Jan. 1. But they should have a pretty good idea by the mid-term elections, and members of Congress might take note of our latest IBD/TIPP Poll (summarized above).
Fifty-one percent of respondents favored making the Bush cuts permanent vs. 28% who didn’t. Republicans were more than 4 to 1 and Independents more than 2 to 1 in favor. Only Democrats were opposed, but only by 40%-38%.
The cuts also proved popular among all income groups — despite the Democrats’ oft-heard assertion that Bush merely provided “tax breaks for the wealthy.” Fact is, Bush cut taxes for everyone who paid them, and the cuts helped the nation recover from a recession and the worst stock-market crash since 1929.
Maybe, just maybe, Americans remember that — and will not forget come Nov. 2.
July 21, 2010
The Wall Street Journal
By: Peter A. Brown
It was a year ago this month that President Barack Obama began losing voters. In the 12 months since, he has had legislative victories that appear – especially in the case of health care – to have cost him large amounts of both political capital and political support.
A comparison of the public’s views of him then and now tells us a great deal about the shape of American politics and how difficult it is for any president, even one as politically gifted as Barack Obama, to surmount the nation’s deep political and ideological divisions.
Mr. Obama won a surprisingly easy victory in 2008, carrying 53% of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes – along with Bill Clinton in 1996, the biggest Democratic presidential win since Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 landslide.
Candidate Obama promised “change we can believe in,” a post-partisan, problem-solving presidency that would heal the nation’s yawning political divide. By the time he was inaugurated in January 2009, Mr. Obama had stratospheric public approval ratings, heightened by many who had voted against him but decided to give him a chance despite their misgivings.
For the first six months of his presidency, Mr. Obama retained vigorous public support – until he tried to translate into legislation his promise to “reform” health care, which, it turned out, meant different things to different voters. In July 2009, the demonstrations against the Obama health care plan reached critical mass and began to deflate the president’s poll numbers, and that continues today.
Skepticism About the Government’s Role
The U.S. economy has continued to flounder, and surely that is part of the reason for the president’s decreased standing. But the disillusionment with the president’s handling of the economy stems from the same public skepticism about the role of government in economic policy as in health care.
Quinnipiac University today released a national poll of 2,181 registered voters, almost twice the size of most national polls. (It has a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points.) It showed President Obama’s net job approval rating at its lowest point ever – 44% approve, 48% disapprove.
In July 2009, Quinnipiac’s national poll had the president with 57% approve, 33% disapprove.
The decline in Mr. Obama’s support over the past year has been across the-board, with the largest decreases being among whites, older voters, political independents and men.
Some of it was to be expected. It was unlikely, for instance, that given Mr. Obama’s preference for increased government involvement that he was going to keep the 21% of Republicans who approved of his job performance in July 2009. That figure is now 12% – more than a third lower.
Losing Faith in Obama
So, too, went white, evangelical Christians, perhaps the largest GOP constituency group. In July 2009, 35% said they approved of Mr. Obama’s job performance. Today, that figure has been cut almost in half – to 19%.
If it was just among Republicans and their ideological allies that the president was losing support that would not represent a serious political threat.
What is most problematic for the president is the drop among whites, men and political independents. Those demographic groups gave him greater support in 2008 than they had most Democratic presidential candidates over the past few decades.
Simply put, when Democrats carry or are competitive among whites, independents and men, they win the White House.
When they don’t, they don’t.
Winning the White House
On Election Day 2008, much was made of the increased turnout that Mr. Obama inspired among young voters and African-Americans, and to be sure that fattened his margin. But he won the White House because, the exit polling showed, he got 49% of men, 43% of whites and 52% of independents. Each of these three groups individually makes up a larger share of the electorate than blacks and young people combined.
In July 2009, President Obama had actually grown that support so that he was getting a thumbs-up job approval from 54% of men, 51% of whites and 52% of independents.
But today, the numbers for those three groups show just how far he has fallen. He gets a positive job approval from just 37% of whites, 38% of independents and 39% of men – a roughly 30% drop in all three groups in his support.
And the bleeding has spread to his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill. In July 2009, voters said by 42%-34% that they would back a Democrat for Congress; today, they said they prefer a Republican, 43%-38%. The drop-off among the various demographic groups is similar to that for the president.
All of which suggests the last year has convinced an awful lot of the folks who hadn’t voted Democratic for president in some time before supporting President Obama to rethink their politics with an eye toward returning to their political roots.
July 2, 2010
By: Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama renewed his push for U.S. immigration reform on Thursday, reaching out to Hispanic voters despite minimal chances that Congress will pass such legislation this year.
In a broad speech that did not break new policy ground, Obama, a Democrat, called for Republican support to pass a law that addresses the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country without disrupting the economy or violating American values.
Obama has been under pressure to keep his promise from the 2008 presidential campaign to overhaul U.S. immigration rules. A tough new law in Arizona has brought the issue to the forefront of public debate, galvanizing Hispanics, who are an important constituency for November’s congressional elections.
The president, speaking at American University, criticized the Arizona law but made no mention of a potential lawsuit by his administration to block it before it goes into affect on July 29. The U.S. Justice Department is expected to file a lawsuit challenging the law shortly. [ID:nN29176898]
Obama did not lay out a timetable for passing national reform but said he was ready to pursue the issue if Democrats and Republicans could work together.
“I’m ready to move forward, the majority of Democrats are ready to move forward and I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward,” he said.
“Reform that brings accountability to our immigration system cannot pass without Republican votes. That is the political and mathematical reality.”
Both Democrats and Republicans are aware of that political reality, and some in the opposition party accused the president of pandering to his voter base.
Obama’s speech on immigration came a day after he ripped Republicans for opposing financial reform and siding with big oil companies, new signs of a White House gearing up for tough elections in the fall. Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, are widely expected to lose seats.
But with energy legislation, financial reform and the economy topping his agenda, Obama is unlikely to make immigration a centerpiece of his campaign to help Democrats hold on to power.
“In an environment where the Democrats feel vulnerable and where the economy is so bad, trying to say we need to give eventual citizenship to illegal immigrants is a very tough sell politically, and for the public,” said Steven Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies.
“IT WON’T WORK”
In a gesture to the opposition party, Obama had rare words of praise for his predecessor, George W. Bush, calling him courageous for working toward immigration reform while he was in office. That attempt proved unsuccessful.
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch characterized Obama’s speech as “little more than cynical political pandering to his left wing political base and is more about giving backdoor amnesty to illegal immigrants than real reform.”
In May, Obama said he wanted to begin work on immigration reform this year. He supports a system that holds undocumented immigrants “accountable” by having them pay a fine, pay taxes, learn English and become citizens.
“No matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable,” Obama said.
He also backs tightening border security and clamping down on employers that hire undocumented workers. He highlighted those points on Thursday, while saying the slow system of processing legal immigrants must be fixed, too.
The president also argued against relying on closed borders alone to fix the problem.
“There are those who argue that we should not move forward with any other elements of reform until we have fully sealed our borders,” he said. “Our borders are just too vast for us to be able to solve the problem only with fences and border patrols. It won’t work.”
Republicans have honed in on the border issue, which is a top priority for voters in border states such as Arizona.
“If he would take amnesty off the table and make a real commitment to border and interior security, he will find strong bipartisan support,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
“But attacks on states filling the breach created by the failure of the federal government won’t secure the border, grow jobs or create solutions for what we all agree is a broken immigration system,” he said