Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mr. Hensarling, you've known for the 12 years you've been in the Beltway that we wanted a fence on the US southern border. What sane person wouldn't? It's not something you found out "30 seconds" ago. Nor is it complicated. Build a fence. Period. If that's too hard for you, quit.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling was first elected in Nov. 2002, is currently in his 6th term, was in office during George Bush's amnesty push. We remember if Hensarling doesn't

8/28/14, "In town halls, U.S. lawmakers hear voter anger over illegal migrants," Reuters, by Gabriel Debenedetti, Dallas

Hensarling, 2013
"When Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling sat down with colleagues and constituents at a recent Chamber of Commerce lunch in Dallas, the first question he faced was whether Congress planned to address immigration policy and a burgeoning border crisis.

"I'm supposed to do this in 30 seconds?" he joked, noting the issue's complexity. While he was optimistic about long-term prospects for dealing with border security and immigration, he said, "between now and the end of this Congress, I'm a little less sanguine about it."

It has been a question heard repeatedly by lawmakers this month in "town hall" district meetings punctuated - and sometimes dominated - by concerns and angry outbursts over immigration policy and the crisis caused by a flood of child migrants at the southwestern border in recent months.

Those summer town halls have provided lawmakers a first-hand glimpse of growing discontent among Americans over U.S. immigration policy. Seventy percent of Americans - including 86 percent of Republicans - believe undocumented immigrants threaten traditional U.S. beliefs and customs, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in mid-July.

Those fears have been exacerbated by the recent wave of illegal child migrants from Central America. An issue that had been simmering is now hotting up as voters prepare to go to the polls in congressional elections due in November.

The anger and frustration expressed in the town halls suggests there will be a fierce debate when U.S. lawmakers return to Washington on Sept. 8 and take up proposals to address a flood of child migrants crossing the southwestern U.S. border.

While conservative anger has not approached the levels seen during the healthcare debate in August 2009, when town halls across the country were frequently disrupted, members of both parties have been confronted on the issue.

From border states like Texas to less likely hot spots like Oregon, Colorado, and New York, Democratic and Republican lawmakers have heard a steady stream of questions and complaints from voters - most pushing for a crackdown on illegal immigration and some worried about what they see as Washington's inaction.

"I hear it everywhere I go," said Oregon Republican Greg Walden, who travels the country in his role as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

"The anger is palpable," Hensarling, a six-term conservative congressman who is often identified by colleagues as a possible next Speaker of the House, told Reuters.

Local media reported police were called to a meeting in Hollister, California hosted by Democratic Rep. Sam Farr after an audience member shouted at Farr and the crowd about the dangers posed by the child migrants. 

A town hall hosted by Democrat Jared Polis of Colorado featured constituents shouting at Polis and each other, and applauding those who contradicted him, on a range of issues, most prominently immigration, a local newspaper said.

"We've had seven town halls, and immigration is the number one issue that comes up," Polis told Reuters.

A series of executive actions on immigration that President Barack Obama plans to unveil next month could further intensify the debate. The policy changes are likely to fuel Republican accusations that Obama is overstepping his authority.


Conservative concerns over immigration have been merging with Republican worries about Obama's healthcare, economic and foreign policies, Oregon lawmaker Walden said.

"It's morphed into something bigger than a debate over fixing our broken immigration system - it's a piece of the overall sense that things are on the wrong track in this country," he said.

Hensarling said "there's a lot of fear about that, about a president who has a pen and a phone, but doesn't seem to have a copy of the Constitution." 

But Polis said even left-leaning voters are growing frustrated by the lack of progress in Congress on a long-term policy fix. A bipartisan June 2013 immigration reform bill that passed the Senate has been stalled in the House.

Opinion polls show concerns about immigration extend to every region of the country, although they are most acutely felt in the southwestern states near the Mexican border....

Only three Republican Senate contenders - New Hampshire's Scott Brown, Michigan's Terri Lynn Land, and Arkansas' Tom Cotton - have run advertisements about immigration. Vulnerable incumbents have largely avoided potentially controversial town halls that could force them to answer tough questions on the topic.

National Democrats believe roughly two dozen House districts could see immigration play a role in November’s result, and pundits frequently point to Colorado’s competitive Senate race as the likeliest immigration battleground.

But the candidates in that contest have sparred over other issues, and Republican Cory Gardner earlier this month voted with a mostly Democratic bloc not to repeal Obama’s 2012 measure providing a stay of deportations to young undocumented migrants."

Image: House Financial Services Committee Chairman Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Sept. 12, 2013, Reuters


Both George Bush and Obama attempted to change US immigration laws in their second term. Both were completely detached from ordinary Americans:

6/2/2007, "Too Bad," WSJ, Peggy Noonan 

"What political conservatives and on-the-ground Republicans must understand at this point is that they are not breaking with the White House on immigration. They are not resisting, fighting and thereby setting down a historical marker -- "At this point the break became final." That's not what's happening. What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the White House has broken with them. What President Bush is doing, and has been doing for some time, is sundering a great political coalition. This is sad, and it holds implications not only for one political party but for the American future.

The White House doesn't need its traditional supporters anymore, because its problems are way beyond being solved by the base. And the people in the administration don't even much like the base. Desperate straits have left them liberated, and they are acting out their disdain. Leading Democrats often think their base is slightly mad but at least their heart is in the right place. This White House thinks its base is stupid and that its heart is in the wrong place.

For almost three years, arguably longer, conservative Bush supporters have felt like sufferers of battered wife syndrome. You don't like endless gushing spending, the kind that assumes a high and unstoppable affluence will always exist, and the tax receipts will always flow in? Too bad! You don't like expanding governmental authority and power? Too bad. You think the war was wrong or is wrong? Too bad.

But on immigration it has changed from "Too bad" to "You're bad."

The president has taken to suggesting that opponents of his immigration bill are unpatriotic -- they "don't want to do what's right for America." His ally Sen. Lindsey Graham has said, "We're gonna tell the bigots to shut up." On Fox last weekend he vowed to "push back." Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested opponents would prefer illegal immigrants be killed; Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said those who oppose the bill want "mass deportation." Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said those who oppose the bill are "anti-immigrant" and suggested they suffer from "rage" and "national chauvinism."

Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens? And often, though not exclusively, concerned conservatives? It is odd, but it is of a piece with, or a variation on, the "Too bad" governing style. And it is one that has, day by day for at least the past three years, been tearing apart the conservative movement.

I suspect the White House and its allies have turned to name calling because they're defensive, and they're defensive because they know they have produced a big and indecipherable mess of a bill -- one that is literally bigger than the Bible, though as someone noted last week, at least we actually had a few years to read the Bible. The White House and its supporters seem to be marshalling not facts but only sentiments, and self-aggrandizing ones at that. They make a call to emotions -- this is, always and on every issue, the administration's default position -- but not, I think, to seriously influence the debate.

They are trying to lay down markers for history. Having lost the support of most of the country, they are looking to another horizon. The story they would like written in the future is this: Faced with the gathering forces of ethnocentric darkness, a hardy and heroic crew stood firm and held high a candle in the wind. It will make a good chapter. Would that it were true!

If they'd really wanted to help, as opposed to braying about their own wonderfulness, they would have created not one big bill but a series of smaller bills, each of which would do one big clear thing, the first being to close the border. Once that was done -- actually and believably done-- the country could relax in the knowledge that the situation was finally not day by day getting worse. They could feel some confidence.

And in that confidence real progress could begin.

The beginning of my own sense of separation from the Bush administration came in January 2005, when the president declared that it is now the policy of the United States to eradicate tyranny in the world, and that the survival of American liberty is dependent on the liberty of every other nation. This was at once so utopian and so aggressive that it shocked me. For others the beginning of distance might have been Katrina and the incompetence it revealed, or the depth of the mishandling and misjudgments of Iraq.

What I came in time to believe is that the great shortcoming of this White House, the great thing it is missing, is simple wisdom.  

Just wisdom -- a sense that they did not invent history, that this moment is not all there is, that man has lived a long time and there are things that are true of him, that maturity is not the same thing as cowardice, that personal loyalty is not a good enough reason to put anyone in charge of anything, that the way it works in politics is a friend becomes a loyalist becomes a hack, and actually at this point in history we don't need hacks.

One of the things I have come to think the past few years is that the Bushes, father and son, though different in many ways, are great wasters of political inheritance. They throw it away as if they'd earned it and could do with it what they liked. Bush senior inherited a vibrant country and a party at peace with itself. He won the leadership of a party that had finally, at great cost, by 1980, fought itself through to unity and come together on shared principles. Mr. Bush won in 1988 by saying he would govern as Reagan had. Yet he did not understand he'd been elected to Reagan's third term. He thought he'd been elected because they liked him. And so he raised taxes, sundered a hard-won coalition, and found himself shocked to lose the presidency, and for eight long and consequential years. He had many virtues, but he wasted his inheritance.

Bush the younger came forward, presented himself as a conservative, garnered all the frustrated hopes of his party, turned them into victory, and not nine months later was handed a historical trauma that left his country rallied around him, lifting him, and his party bonded to him. He was disciplined and often daring, but in time he sundered the party that rallied to him, and broke his coalition into pieces. He threw away his inheritance. I do not understand such squandering.

Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party. They are going to have to break from those who have already broken from them. This will require courage, serious thinking and an ability to do what psychologists used to call letting go. This will be painful, but it's time. It's more than time."


No comments: