Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's all about Harry

So Harry Reid's gambit to pass both the DREAM Act and the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell failed. And the Defense Authorization bill while we're at war is still unpassed. But hey, don't worry - Harry Reid got his talking point to use with Hispanics in Nevada. It's all about Harry. When he loses Susan Collins due to his obnoxious politicking, you know he's offending his colleagues. And even his Democratic friends are sick of it.
But what he got was a failed vote and a mix of frustration and disappointment from the people he was trying to help. The stalled defense authorization bill — one of the last major Senate votes before November’s elections — was emblematic of the Nevada senator’s struggles to cut deals with the GOP while still pleasing core Democratic constituencies.

The disappointment was widespread.

Gay rights groups were upset that the process Reid employed may have undermined progress in repealing the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibiting gays from serving openly in the military.

Hispanic groups were disappointed that they couldn’t even get a vote on a narrow piece of comprehensive immigration reform — an amendment known as the DREAM Act that would have enabled citizenship for illegal immigrant students in exchange for government or military service.

And Democrats on both sides of the Capitol are unhappy that a debate on gay rights and immigration distracted yet again from issue No. 1: jobs.

“The issue for me has always been jobs,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.). “That’s the issue. How do we put people back to work?”

Republicans, outside groups and even some Democrats saw a more personal motive for Reid, suggesting that he was merely looking out for his own troubled reelection interests by forcing votes that were certain to be defeated. Critics said he was trying to energize Hispanics and gays — but quickly deflect and blame Republicans for the filibuster that stalled the defense bill.

“This is about Reid’s reelect,” said a senior House Democratic aide. “Anything that isn’t focused on jobs right now is unhelpful to the House.”

Indeed, for Reid to win in Nevada, he’ll need to energize Democrats in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas and has a heavy Hispanic population.
Hey, Harry Reid doesn't care if he did damage to issues that he supports and if he hurt Democrats who are trying to get on the same page as the rest of the country and talk about the economy. He had two bills that have bipartisan support and could have been passed if he'd brought them up separately. And if they were so important, he could have brought them up any time in the past year and a half. If the Democrats really had wanted to give illegal immigrant children the possibility of earning citizenship by going to college or joining the military, an idea that I could support as could probably a majority in the Senate, why didn't he bring it up when he had a filibuster-proof Senate? Those Hispanic voters in Nevada that Reid wants to save his job should be asking him that. They should ask why he held their bill hostage to his political fortunes. As the WSJ writes,
The Dream Act would give illegal immigrant children who have been here long enough to graduate from high school a shot at U.S. citizenship if they also attend college or serve in the military. The bill's previous versions has had bipartisan support. As a policy matter we have no problem with giving young children who were brought to the U.S. by their parents and have lived here for years a way to earn legal status. Attending college or serving in the U.S. military sounds about right to us.

But no such honorable compromise was Senator Reid's goal. He knew that six weeks before a midterm election in which Republicans are expected to make large gains, the GOP understandably would have little appetite for casting a volatile immigration vote that could cost the party seats.

Democrats have had two years to deal with immigration reform. Mr. Reid's gambit with the Dream Act is more evidence that Democrats are mainly interested in using immigration as a cudgel against political opponents. They will now spin yesterday's vote as evidence that the GOP is anti-immigrant and obscure the fact that President Obama never made good on his own promise to make immigration reform a priority.
This was never about giving those immigrant children a chance. He's made it clear that he won't really try to help those whose support he's counting on. He would rather keep the issue out there so he can use it in an election. It was all about Reid's cynical ploy for votes. He's the one who should be truly shamed about how he manipulated the reform so that it couldn't pass.


ic said...

"Attending college or serving in the U.S. military sounds about right to us."

Millions more to inflate the higher ed bubble, courtesy of our politicians. Millions more college grads cannot find a job. Require them to graduate high school, and not be a "public charge" for the next five years.

When I applied for the green card, one glaring requirement was the applicant would not be a "public charge", i.e. would not apply for welfare. The applicant has to have enough resources, or someone's guaranteed support. That requirement is the law that is no longer enforced.

Anti-illegal immigrants are afraid we would let in more welfare receipients. Alas, politicians are using the illegals' future as a cudgel to beat up opponents for their own gains. Despicable, as always.

lorraine_lanning said...

"...give illegal immigrant children the possibility of earning citizenship by going to college or joining the military, an idea that I could support..."

Why should any American support the children of illegals getting in-state tuition when our children can't?

My family's ancestors have been in this country as early as 1658 and as late as 1890, working hard and paying taxes. My Italian and Irish ancestors were certainly discriminated against, more so than current immigrants. Where are the education benefits for our kids? As middle-class white kids, my kids don't get anything, unless they can earn some kind of merit scholarship. One of their friends, the son of an illegal Mexican and an American mother, got a free ride to our local community college, plus a job on campus that just puts money in his pocket. No, he wasn't a stand out student either, mediocre grades, mediocre musician, and majoring in music production.

I certainly support gaining citizenship after honorably serving in the military, but not the rest of the bill. It's all about growing more voters for the Dems.

tfhr said...

The opportunity for foreign nationals to serve in the Armed Forces as a path to citizenship has been there for years and I see no problem with continuing the practice of bringing in non-US citizens in good standing in that capacity. I've met Australians, Canadians and Jordanians that had become American citizens through this method.

My drill sergeant was from the Dominican Republic - think of "Scar Face meets the Godfather" (Marlon Brando) and you get an idea of language, demeanor, and appearance, but it worked. I'm not sure he was the best guy to select to be a drill sergeant but he was an excellent medic and certainly new how to motivate trainees.

Overloading the system with foreign nationals would be problematic - particularly with regard to language proficiency issues. I once had a tank commander from the Philippines and after a year of working with the guy, I'm still not sure I ever understood a thing he said beyond fire commands. My battalion commander was an American of Filipino descent, and I don't think he could break through the guy's accent either. If I had had several guys with communication problems like that, it would have had a serious impact on the unit but back then there wasn't a crush of foreign nationals to join the Army. While I don't believe we would be overwhelmed today, we should be very selective about who we bring in through this route.

There has been evidence that organized crime groups like MS-13 and various jihadist organizations have attempted and sometimes succeeded at putting their people into our Armed Forces. Caution and thorough vetting should be the order of the day when assessing foreign nationals for service in the Armed Forces. The same prudence would not be a bad thing for admission to American institutes of higher learning.

As for foreign students - get in line with everyone else that is playing by the rules as they seek to immigrate legally. Pay your own way and forget about in-state tuition. Hey, maybe you can get an ROTC scholarship or qualify for the New GI Bill!

Pat Patterson said...

If the WH was really serious about a military stint as a path to citizenship how about creating our own brigade of Gurhkas?