Monthly Archives: August 2011

campaign stupidity, and immigration policy…

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I have a penchant for writing public officials on issues that matter to me.  Below is my — what I’m sure will be inconsequential — email to the Obama for America 2012 campaign.

It turns out, on August 1, an email was sent to Obama supporters in New Mexico — by OFA New Mexico’s state director, Ray Sandoval — which encouraged them to read a blog post stridently defending the debt ceiling compromise.  It also turns out that –in an act of such political brilliance you can’t possibly shield your eyes from its glory — the blog post ridicules the Nobel-laureate economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman as a “political rookie”, as well as calls to task the “Firebagger Lefty blogosphere.”  You can read the original HuffingtonPost reporting here.

Now, not to make this personal, but some of mine and my husband’s most intense arguments are inevitably waged over the subject of the president’s liberal credentials and his commitment (or, rather, lack thereof) to progressive causes.  Personally, I tend to come down on the pragmatic side.  I count myself among those who are not suffering from buyer’s remorse — thank you very much — and feel like I got exactly the president I voted for.  That does not for a second mean I don’t have any complaints whatsoever with the man’s job performance.  But I continue to believe that he is doing the best he can under incredibly trying circumstances, and that a little disappointment is par for the course in politics as messy (downright ugly, really) as ours.

That being the case, I don’t exactly appreciate it when an individual who acts as the face of the president’s re-election for an entire state is so incredibly tone-deaf and obtuse as to “hippie punch” (which I’ve learned is the current expression for liberal-bashing) in this way.  So, naturally, I make my non-appreciation known in writing:

To whom it may concern,

I am a proud and steadfast supporter of the president and his re-election. And it is out of my feelings of support that I offer my two cents: the campaign would be well-advised to dismiss Ray Sandoval as soon as possible.

I don’t consider myself “far left,” and I share the frustration of many in the president’s administration with the constant stream of criticism from that end of the political spectrum. But it is one thing to concede that you’ll never satisfy your most liberal base — it is entirely another to actively bash them.

I appreciate Katie Hogan’s statement that the views expressed in Mr Sandoval’s email do not represent the views of the campaign. But as long as Mr Sandoval is a part of OFA, he represents the campaign, and, by extension, the president. And that is a matter of fact whether he is a canvassing volunteer or the national campaign manager. It is certainly within Mr Sandoval’s responsibilities to defend the president and his record against criticism. But surely he understands that the president is best served when actions on behalf of his campaign are executed with good sense, reasonableness, and dignity.

The campaign must reflect the values and character of its candidate. I assume OFA knows this, which leaves you with a choice: either Mr Sandoval is dismissed; or his actions, in fact, do represent the president and his views. If the latter is indeed true, then even a political rookie can tell you the president is in for a rough re-election.

I appreciate your time and attention,

Eric Anderson, Jr

*****

In other news — and on another subject that led to a heated argument with my husband — the Obama administration announced today a new policy regarding immigrant deportation.  I haven’t had a chance yet to delve too deeply into it, but it’s at least initially encouraging.

Essentially, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security will exercise broader discretion in determining “low-priority” cases.  In other words, cases that don’t ultimately have an impact on national security.

The majority of responses to the new policy had to do with the DREAM Act and renewed hope for its passage.  But I was celebrating the new policy for another reason — the very good chance that Anthony John Makk may not face deportation after all.  And that would be a wonderful thing.

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and these people govern our country…?

This is going to be a fairly short entry, but a little news item has me particularly perturbed.  From ‘Politico’

Impeaching President Barack Obama “needs to happen,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) told a local tea party group, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday.

Burgess spoke, the paper said, in response to an attendee’s suggestion that the GOP-controlled House use impeachment to stop Obama from “pushing his agenda.”

“It needs to happen, and I agree with you it would tie things up,” Burgess reportedly responded. “No question about that.”

When the Star-Telegram’s reporter asked Burgess about the comment, he said the House needs to do what it can to stop the president.

“We need to tie things up,” Burgess said. “The longer we allow the damage to continue unchecked, the worse things are going to be for us.”

Burgess, an obstetrician who is in his fifth term as a lawmaker, is the latest House Republican to call for the president’s impeachment. Last month, Iowa Rep. Steve King said Obama “would be impeached” if he allowed the nation to default.

Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said it would be “an impeachable offense” for Obama to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval. In April, former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein drafted articles of impeachment in hopes that House Republicans would introduce them.

So, Rep. Burgess considers impeachment to be a procedural roadblock.  He does.  He has taken the Constitution’s most severe repercussion for the perpetration of high crimes and misdemeanors — such as, say, lying about a White House-ordered break-in or illegally selling arms to a declared enemy of the United States — and declared it to be a means to simply “tie things up” because he disagrees with the president’s agenda.

Men like this control part of our government.

I have nothing else to say.

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early “debt deal” thoughts…

I’m still processing information regarding the debt-ceiling increase agreement that was finally made law this afternoon.  My sister asked me what I thought of it, and all I could really say was, “Well, I’m glad they found a way to avoid default, but it never, ever should have come to this.”

There’s still a lot to be explored/analyzed/discussed about the legislation itself and how it came to pass (no pun intended), and I’m hoping to do those very things.  Particularly in terms of the President’s “performance” in the process.

In the meantime, this op-ed in today’s ‘Times’ got me thinking.  And not necessarily in an agreeable way.

Now, it bothers me not one bit that Nocera goes so far as to call the Tea Party’s actions of late “jihad on the American People.”  I think he’s simply speaking the objective truth.  Maybe it’s not particularly decorous to refer to congressional colleagues, even Tea Partiers, as terrorists.  But it goes a long way towards accurately describing their behavior and ascertaining their mindset.  These Tea Partiers, as Nocera (and plenty of others) has mentioned, are perfectly content to “go down with the ship”… or, “throw the baby out with the bath water”… or, any other cliche that describes such irrational decision making.  They have taken a bare electoral mandate for fiscal responsibility and used it to risk the welfare and stability of the very country they swore an oath to serve.

No, it’s not Nocera’s description of the Tea Party that gets me.  Interestingly, it’s the means he would have preferred to exercise in opposing them.  That is, as he put it:

My own view is that Obama should have played the 14th Amendment card, using its language about “the validity of the public debt” to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling. Yes, he would have infuriated the Republicans, but so what? They already view him as the Antichrist. Legal scholars believe that Congress would not have been able to sue to overturn his decision. Inexplicably, he chose instead a course of action that maximized the leverage of the Republican extremists.

He has every right to advocate this sort of action, but I find it to be a flawed argument.

First, I’ve never taken much stock in the fourteenth amendment “option.”  I’m not one you would generally peg as a Constitutional “originalist,” but it seems quite clear to me that the debt-related clause in this amendment referred specifically to debt accrued in the Civil War.  Sure, since it declares that the “full faith and credit” of the United States cannot be questioned, the clause can be interpreted to guarantee all federal debt issued at any time.  But that seems to me a perilously loose reading of the amendment, particularly when it leads to an argument that the debt ceiling is altogether unconstitutional.  The Constitution very clearly affords the power to issue debt to Congress alone.

But secondly, and more importantly, as irresponsible as it has been for Republicans to manufacture the current crisis over the debt ceiling, it would have been just as irresponsible for the president to manufacture a second one over executive authority.  Put another way, arguing for the “14th Amendment” option — particularly on the belief, as Nocera asserts, that no court would dare to strike the action down — is essentially asking the president to govern with an attitude of “I’m going to do this potentially unconstitutional thing simply because I don’t think you’re going to bother trying to stop me.”  That would be governing like an asshole.

And that would make him a Republican.

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