Iowa Presidential Watch
Holding the Democrats accountable


March 28, 2006

Following Tancredo’s appearance on ABC's "This Week," Katrina Vanden Heuvel told host George Stephanopoulos: "Tancredo, on your show today - he looked pleasant. But I will say that what's happened in our country is that some of the white supremacist thinking that used to be represented by David Duke has been absorbed by people like Tancredo."

"Illegal immigrants are "a scourge that threatens the very future of our nation," Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) said.

"Sometimes they [America] can be difficult friends to have. But the strain of frankly anti-American feeling in parts of European politics is madness when set against the long-term interests of the world we believe in," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said.

"If the going is tough, we tough it out," said British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "This is not a time to walk away. This is a time for the courage to see it through."


J U S T   P O L I T I C S


New Chief of Staff

The Associated Press reports on President Bush’s announcing a new Chief of Staff: budget director Joshua Bolten:

"I have relied on Andy's wise counsel, his calm in crisis, his absolute integrity and his tireless commitment to public service," Bush said. "The next three years will demand much of those who serve our country. We have a global war to fight and win."

Card, 58, stood stoically with his hands by his sides as Bush lauded his years of service through the Sept. 11 attacks, war and legislative and economic challenges. Gripping the podium, Card said in his farewell: "You're a good man, Mr. President." Card's eyes were watery. Card said he looks forward to just being Bush's friend. Bush then gave him five quick slaps on the back and the two walked out of the Oval Office together.

Bolten’s biography:

Joshua Bolten joined President George W. Bush.s Cabinet on June 30, 2003, when he was sworn in as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

From January 2001 through June of 2003, Mr. Bolten was Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy at the White House.

From March 1999 through November 2000, Mr. Bolten was Policy Director of the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign.

From 1994 to 1999, Mr. Bolten was Executive Director, Legal & Government Affairs, for Goldman Sachs International in London.

During the Administration of President George H.W. Bush, Mr. Bolten served for three years as General Counsel to the US Trade Representative and one year in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs. Previously, from 1985 to 1989, he was International Trade Counsel to the US Senate Finance Committee. Earlier, Mr. Bolten was in a private law practice with O.Melveny & Myers, and worked in the legal office of the US State Department. He also served as Executive Assistant to the Director of the Kissinger Commission on Central America.

Mr. Bolten received his AB with distinction from Princeton University.s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (1976) and his JD from Stanford Law School (1980), where he was an editor of the Stanford Law Review. Immediately after law school, he served as a law clerk at the US District Court in San Francisco. During the fall semester of 1993, Mr. Bolten taught international trade at Yale Law School.

Nofziger dead

Franklyn "Lyn" Nofziger, the slow talking, even tempered, rumpled and irreverent conservative who served Ronald Reagan as press secretary and political adviser, died of cancer Monday. He was 81.

Iowa Presidential Watch expresses its deepest sympathies in the passing of our friend.

Internet politics not regulated

The Associated Press reports that the Federal Election Commission will not regulate Internet websites:

In a 6-0 vote, the commission decided to regulate only paid political ads placed on another person's Web site.

The decision means that bloggers and online publications will not be covered by provisions of the new election law. Internet bloggers and individuals will therefore be able to use the Internet to attack or support federal candidates without running afoul of campaign spending and contribution limits.  

Had enough?

Time Magazine offers a look at the midterm elections. In the article, they paint a bleak picture for Republicans. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich states in the article that the Democrats only need to use the theme, "Had Enough?" However, the question remains whether the Democrats can get their act together:

Democrats say, Bring it on. "If they want to have a negative campaign not about the issues, they will be met on the campaign field," says Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel, the former Clinton White House aide who heads the Democrats' campaign committee for House races. Theirs has been a shifting line of attack. January's mantra about the G.O.P.'s "culture of corruption" became February's lament about the "rubber-stamp Congress." The latest slogan they are hurling against the Republicans is "dangerously incompetent." (That, however, can be a tricky visual, as Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow discovered when she stood next to a placard with those two words and gave a speech two weeks ago on the Senate floor.)

The most appealing argument the Democrats are offering may be their candidates, who were recruited more for how they fit the districts in which they are running than for how they match the party's national ideology. In Pennsylvania, which has an active bloc of Catholic voters, Casey is an opponent of abortion rights. That same position cost his father, then the Governor, a speaking spot at the 1992 Democratic Convention. For what could be two close races against female Republican incumbents--Heather Wilson in New Mexico and Deborah Pryce in Ohio--Emanuel found women challengers. Former NFL quarterback Heath Schuler has added star power to the race in a North Carolina district. Incumbent Charles Taylor is on the defense there with claims that an electronic glitch prevented him from casting his vote against the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which Bush had sought but is unpopular among Taylor's constituents, who believe it will cost the state jobs.

The article also explores Republicans trying to distance themselves from President Bush by criticizing him as a bad strategy:

But party leaders are warning privately against taking that strategy too far. "If Diet Coke criticizes Coke, people buy Pepsi, not Diet Coke," said Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee. In an internal Republican Party memo provided to TIME, Jan van Lohuizen, a longtime Bush pollster, warns candidates tempted to distance themselves that "President Bush drives our image and will do so until we have real national front-runners for the '08 nomination. If he drops, we all drop." Another Republican strategist describes the problem for G.O.P. candidates this way: "Adding weight to the anchor doesn't help them."

Allen in South

U.S. Senator George Allen of Virginia toured a Florence, S.C. hospital as he promoted using health savings accounts for the nation's uninsured. South Carolina is scheduled to be the first Southern state in the 2008 presidential nomination cycle. Allen has made several recent trips to the first contest in the nation, Iowa.

The politics of immigration

The Republican Party faces a challenge as to its identity and purpose that shows once again the fissures in the Republican ruling coalitions. The current fissure is over illegal immigration.

There are those who would characterize the debate in terms of racism as Katrina Vanden Heuvel editor of "Nation" magazine has done. The issue is much more important than that. This is about: Who and what is America? Can we secure our boarders from terrorists? Can we change the declining birthrate caused by industrialization, abortion and other factors? Is it necessary for us to allow more immigration for the financial security of America? If we allow large numbers of South Americans who only speak Spanish, will we change America? Will a bilingual nation be detrimental to the American economy? Will it change the historical nature and understanding of who and what we are as Americans?

There are those that argue that the illegal immigrants cause an increase in labor supply thereby lowering wages for everyone. This may be the case for unskilled labor. However, specialized labor depends only on the job pool available for that skill and the corresponding benefit realized as a result of that skill.

There is also the line of reasoning that our current wages are being depressed by global competition. That is the shipping of jobs offshore holds down wages more than 11 million illegal immigrants adding to the job pool. There is even the argument that the 11 million illegal immigrants help to keep jobs in this country by providing low wage workers needed to keep industries in this country.

So, what is the solution to illegal immigration?

While we have always been a nation of immigrants, we have always inculcated those immigrants into the American ideal. Immigrants have learned American history, English and achieved a rudimentary understanding of American laws. Now, this is not the case. The first solution must be a reasserting of the need to Americanize all new immigrants.

Second, we must secure our borders. We need to know who comes into and out of our country. We cannot tolerate this continued illegal activity. It undermines all laws when we do not enforce our laws equally and fairly.

Third, we should not have permanent guest workers. We do not want to follow Europe and have large populations of foreigners that make up a large portion of our work force. If this nation needs re-population for economic and security reasons, then it should be done by immigrants who want to be Americans. We do not want or need a permanent alienated underclass in this nation. That is a prescription for riots and revolution - Just look at France for what this will get you.

Fourth, we should determine how many immigrants come into this country. It seems clear that we are not letting in enough legal immigrants. We need both more skilled labor and unskilled labor. If we want to continue aborting millions of children and have birthrates that do not match our economic needs, we will have to import more Americans.

This debate is about who and what America is. America is not about creating a class of citizens who received amnesty to become citizens. It is not about Latino-Americans who speak Spanish and view their living in America as an invasion to create a Northern enclave.

The immigration debate should be about naturalizing citizens who want to be Americans -- immigrants who respect both the laws of this nation and the political process that makes those laws. This debate should be about how we manage who and what this nation is and what it will become.

Immigration – some facts

Did you know ...

1. That during 2001-2004, the number of entering legal immigrants -- 3.8 million -- eclipsed the 3.7 million who arrived in the decade of the 1890s during the mass migration from Europe? That's according to the U.S. Office of Immigration Statistics.

2. That after Mexico, the primary sources of legal U.S. immigrants are India, China and the Philippines? Mexico accounts for about 20 percent; the next three around 6 percent each. They are followed, at 3 percent or less, by Vietnam, El Salvador, Cuba, Haiti, Bosnia, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Ukraine, Korea, Russia and Nicaragua. These top 15 account for 60 percent of legal immigrants.

3. That there are at least 11.5 million unauthorized U.S. immigrants from all countries? The estimate, by the Pew Hispanic Center, is a figure larger than the populations of Cuba (11.3 million), Portugal (10.6 million) and Michigan (10.1 million).

4. That more than 7 million unauthorized immigrants were employed in March 2005? The number accounts for nearly 5 percent of the civilian labor force, the Pew Center estimates. These immigrants make up 36 percent of insulation workers, 29 percent of roofers, 27 percent of butchers and food processing workers, 22 percent of maids and housekeepers and 19 percent of parking lot attendants.

5. That the percentage of immigrants -- legal and illegal -- in some of the nation's biggest cities remains below the era of a century ago, never mind the recent high numbers? In the early 1900s, the level of immigrants in cities such as New York and Chicago was in the 12 percent to 14 percent range, American University history professor Alan Kraut said. Today, Kraut said, the figure is around 11 percent.

6. That the "green card" is actually dark blue? It has come in a variety of colors at various times in its history, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The changes were made to prevent counterfeiting and, later, to make it easier for machines to read. The first cards enabling unnaturalized immigrants to live and work indefinitely in the United States -- a product of the Alien Registration Act of 1940 -- were printed on white paper. By 1951, the form was green, but in 1964 it was pale blue and a year later changed to its current color. It also has been issued in pink and pink-and-blue.

7. That the cost of making one arrest along the U.S.-Mexico border jumped from $300 in 1992 to $1,700 in 2002? So finds a Cato Institute study by Princeton University sociologist Douglas Massey, whose measurement is in constant, year 2000 dollars.

8. That Border Patrol officials rely on more than 250 remote video camera sites and 10,500 ground sensors? The system uses radar, heat-sensitive, seismic and magnetic technologies. But as of August 2005, it covered just 4 percent of the combined northern and southern borders, according to Congress' Government Accountability Office.

9. That the number of foreigners other than Mexicans entering illegally has soared? The Border Patrol apprehended 25,000 in 1997 and more than 100,000 in 2005, according to the Congressional Research Service. A Senate bill would authorize the secretaries of state and homeland security to develop ways to help Mexico tighten its southern border to combat human smuggling from Guatemala and Belize.

10. That the Homeland Security Department releases non-Mexican illegal immigrants caught in the United States if they do not have felony convictions and do not pose a threat to national security? The reason is a lack of bed space in detention facilities. They are given a notice to appear in court for deportation proceedings, but most never show up.

The department wants to end the disparity by expanding bed space. Currently there are around 20,000 beds, and the budget request for next year would add 6,700.



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