Don't deport until my room is clean
The Republican National Committee descended last week on Coronado, southwest of San Diego, for its winter meeting. The attendees, who suddenly found themselves about 10 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, competed with one another over who was the most opposed to illegal immigration.
At meetings like this, Republicans' attitude toward immigrants can be summed up this way: "Stop the invasion — but don't deport anyone until my room is cleaned." Most Republicans aren't really immigration hard-liners. They just play this role in front of television cameras. The party is beholden to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is in turn beholden to its members — hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses, many of which would have to shutter their doors if not for the availability of immigrant labor. It's this faction's influence over Senate Republicans, that will save the day.
Christie most brazen governor hopeful
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A number of governors are nursing presidential ambitions. Why not? They have experience running things and dealing with cranky legislators. Also, they look at the herd of hopefuls and think, "Clearly, I could do better." The most brazen, Chris Christie, prepared for his State of the State speech last week with an off-the-record news conference with only national journalists. He barred state reporters from discussion of the state of the state. Maybe the governor was afraid they'd distract him with small-bore questions about New Jersey's eight credit downgrades.
Then it was on to the speech, during which Christie talked about U.S. world leadership ("called into question") and the state of the nation ("beset by anxiety"). And if you don't believe that, he had a story about a little old lady he met in Florida.
Candidates court donors before voters
Mitt Romney's inching ever closer to another presidential bid, which we know because he's articulated as much to donors. Doesn't it pretty much say everything about our political process that candidates flag their intentions first to the people they'll be hitting up for money? And that the way they attempt to clear the field isn't with a surge in polls but with a fortune in the bank? I bet some of them form PACs before they bother to tell their spouses what's up. It's called priorities.
Does Bush want majority vote on rights?
The New York Times, The Washington Post and Politico all used the same word to describe the statement Jeb Bush issued about same-sex marriage: "conciliatory," they called it. The statement was released to clarify remarks he made in a Miami Herald interview as the courts were sweeping away a gay marriage ban approved by Florida voters in 2008. Bush, a probable 2016 presidential contender, lamented the new status quo. "The people of the state decided," he said. "But it's been overturned by the courts, I guess." A day later, Bush recalibrated, issuing a statement that began: "We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law." One is struck by Bush's implicit belief that rights are, or ought to be, subject to majority approval. Does this apply also to the question of who can or cannot vote, protest or own property? If not, by what logic does it apply to the question of who can or cannot marry?