Come Tuesday, May 27, House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor and his merry band of bigots will have ceded all Hispanic/Latino votes to the Democrats come the November 4th mid-terms.
While House Republicans mouth bipartisanship, when push comes to the brown and black skin shove, it’s never bipartisan. At least, not until now. Ask California Republican Representative, Jeff Denham. On the issue of immigration, he’s tried the bipartisan path. A path blocked legislatively by every power broker in the house, especially, Cantor. Make no mistake, Denham is a pure-bred, unapologetic Republican. Possessing the requisite military cred, he reliably votes with his like-minded corporate stooges well over 90% of the time. But he’s also a pragmatist. He realizes that his District 10 is populated by over a quarter of Hispanics eligible to vote. Other Hispanic-heavy Republican Districts may have a moderating influence.
Denham first raised the ire of his party mates, when, in early 2013, he signed on to an immigrant-friendly Democratic plan, HR 15, sponsored by Florida Democratic Representative, Joe Garcia. Nancy Pelosi went on the prowl for Republican cosponsors, targeting about two-dozen Republicans. Denham was the only one who took the bait out of 199 co-sponsors.
Nearly a year ago, Denham responded by sponsoring HR 2377, known as “The Enlist Act.” Unlike Pelosi, he’s actually managed to sign on about two-dozen Republican co-sponsors. There are a couple of real right-wingers on that roster, so it bears watching. If an undocumented alien adult comes to this country as a child and later enlists in the military, the bill would seem to provide an opportunity to apply for citizenship. Citizenship!!! As referencing Hispanics and/or Latinos, no more repulsive expletive exists in the Republican right-wing political lexicon.
As oft-times explained on this site, a person newly granted citizenship is allowed to vote, a privilege not accorded the “permanent resident,” which appears to be about as far as Republicans will allow Hispanics to advance. Most Republicans want to be free to continue to treat people from Mexico and Central and South America, in particular, as their lessers, valued only for their primary place in our society as embarrassingly low paid agricultural and landscape workers. Some sites say citizenship is a possibility with HR 2377, though one Republican co-sponsor, Trey Gowdy, says, “This bill does not confer citizenship.” The website, ‘Military.com’ claims participants will have “a chance to serve and go on to legal permanent residency and apply for citizenship.” Semantics?
The legislation is currently parked in the House Rules Committee (or the Committee on Rules if you prefer) where it’s likely to stay until next year. Tuesday, the 27th, we’ll find out. It will be an interesting power play. Chairman Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican with the power of a gnat on this issue, will either bow to House Speaker John Boehner, who has historically insisted that virtually all immigration legislation gets to the floor and uses the committee for all of his power plays, or the less moderate Majority Leader, Cantor who wants 2377 frozen in place.
There are 13 members of the committee, certainly an unlucky number for those siding with immigrants. There are 9 Republican (one with at least a degree of objectivity) and 4 Democratic committee members. One of the Dems should be wearing an orange jump suit in my humble opinion.
Here they are. The Vice-Chair is Virginia Fox, a Norman Rockwell grandmotherly type from the suddenly politically repugnant state of North Carolina. She’s anything but an admirable Rockwell figure in that she wants to repeal the whole of the Affordable Care Act and devotes much of her time in DC and her home district to just that goal. But granny, it saves your constituents lives and prevents insurance companies from refusing to cover pre-existing conditions and a company can’t pull the coverage rug out from under really sick people just because an annual or lifetime coverage money limit has been reached. Granny Fox? Oh, Granny Fox!!!
Let’s review the four hapless Democrats possessed of no voice whatsoever within the committee. There’s New York’s Louise Slaughter who may not vote the 27th anyway. Tuesday, the 20th, she lost her beloved husband and could be well-forgiven to take some bereavement time off.
Democrats need a rested Representative Slaughter to pay homage to her late husband and be front and center for the huge mischief of the latest fast-track trade deals such as TPP that are driving strategic America/foreign monopoly mergers (especially in the pharmaceutical sector) prior to their passing. The Representative is not fooled by these international power grabs that have no pluses whatsoever for the average U.S. citizen.
James McGovern, a flaming Massachusetts liberal and member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus gets to sit back and be ignored, his vote hopelessly inadequate. Colleague, Jared Polis is one of those rare rich guys who will concede that there are people who need help and defending. He’s active in the gay rights movement and is a particular friend of Mexico. Sad, when terribly bright and committed public officials are not allowed a meaningful voice ever in the house.
Then there’s African-American Democrat, Alcee Hastings. That’s the correct spelling, and frankly, the only thing correct about this huckster. Sadly, he’s taking up space that a much more moral and ethical African-American should be occupying. He’s slipped out from under a number of highly distasteful run-ins with the law as a federal judge (bribery, nepotism, perjury, racketeering and paying over 600 grand of public money to his hot girlfriend) on technicalities. The Senate booted him off the bench. Now he’s in Congress. That’s all I’m going to write. You can easily capture his alleged misdeeds on numerous Internet sites.
Here are the remaining Republicans: Rob Bishop is a Utah guy. He doesn’t appear to do much unless you dangle some anti-ACA fare in front of his nose. Tom Cole is an Okie who adores any and all Ryan budgets. Rob Woodall is a Milton Friedman disciple from Georgia and thinks the “Fair” tax is really neat. Careful Rob, the wealthy will hug you to death if it manages to pass. Not to worry, even in Congress, there’s not that many dumb people.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (a 2377 co-sponsor) is a Floridian with a huge Hispanic contingent in her district. She thoughtfully features both English and Spanish on her website. She might be the only moderate Republican hope on the committee, even if her intentions might be political. Did I mention her district is 73% Hispanic, largely made up of Cuban émigrés? Did I mention Ros-Lehtinen was born in Havana? A wackadoo anti-immigrant site accuses her of having “a horrible record when it comes to immigration. Given her immigration stance and support of gay marriage, why is this lady not a Democrat?
Relax, Republicans; meet Texas committee member, Michael Burgess, proud member of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus. Let’s not forget Richard Nugent, another Florida resident and a former Sheriff. ‘Nuff said. In closing, welcome Daniel Webster. No, not THAT Daniel Webster. He hated slavery, while the contemporary version is a Florida bible-thumper who probably thinks of our brown-skinned brothers and sisters as the modern version of what the great 19th Century orator, Webster detested.
I’m thinking 8-5 bad guys. On to a discharge petition. Need nothing but Democrats November 4th, people!