Friday, November 09, 2007



Shuler, Tancredo & Emanuel-- 3 voices of bigotry

This morning Markos asked an important question over at DailyKos, Is Rahm racist, or merely scared?. You might want to ask Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA). More about that below. We've dealt with Rahm (that's Rahm Emanuel) once or twice here at DWT and we've even talked about his newest diktat to Democratic candidates. Just yesterday we asked who's still listening to him (and the answer was John McCain, at least on immigration). Emanuel has demanded that Democratic candidates for 2008 "move to the right" on immigration. He pulled the same stunt in 2006 when he forced many Democratic candidates to move to the right on Iraq. Many of his puppets-- though, alas, not all-- lost because they listened to his horrible advice about toning down the anti-war rhetoric. So while anti-war candidates like Joe Sestak, Carol Shea-Porter, Patrick Murphy, Jerry McNerney, Bruce Braley, Mike Arcuri, and John Hall beat Republican incumbents in Republican districts, timid Democrats who bought Emauel's tone it down line, went down to defeat. (That there are no congressmembers named Lois Murphy, Tammy Duckworth, Ken Lucas, Francine Busby or Diane Farrell today is a direct result of candidates who paid attention to advice from an ex-ballerina who never fought against a Republican in his life-- only against progressive, grassroots Democrats.)

Rahm can be credited with two clean wins last year. He recruited Republican Tim Mahoney (FL) to run as a Democrat for Mark Foley's seat and he recruited Heath Shuler who wanted to run for Congress either from North Carolina or Tennessee either as a Republican or a Democrat. If Emanuel has one puppet in the freshman class, it is surely Shuler. And today he's twisting arms to get people to support an anti-immigrant bill that Shuler and Tom Tancredo are proposing. People want real and effective immigration reform, not Republican talking points that don't solve very real problems.

Unfortunately for Tancredo, Shuler and Emanuel the chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism is Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), a conservative Democrat from Orange County who wants real reform, not talking points. According to today's Congressional Quarterly "Sanchez says Shuler, a former pro football player, made a rookie mistake by not consulting with her before he introduced the bill, which is deepening an existing rift between politically vulnerable centrist Democrats and Hispanic members... 'I would say Heath better come talk to me about it,'" He should have-- or to some Hispanic. Every one of them is furious about his bullshit bill (HR 4088), which is sheer demagoguery.
Shuler wants to increase the number of border patrol agents by 8,000 by 2012, improve border surveillance, make employee verification mandatory for employers, and enhance law-enforcement capabilities for cracking down on illegal immigrants who are already in the country. Sanchez says existing laws take care of much of what Shuler aims to do but that they have not been enforced by the Bush administration.

...Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., the author of a “comprehensive” immigration overhaul that would combine enforcement measures with a new temporary-worker program and a means for illegal immigrants to become citizens, said Shuler’s bill is incomplete.

“It looked like he grabbed my STRIVE bill, took all the enforcement parts of it and forgot to turn the page. It’s a book he didn’t finish reading,” Gutierrez said. “We might as well put the Republicans in charge.”

Indeed, Shuler’s measure echoes the calls of the most ardent critics of immigration bills that would allow undocumented workers to eventually become American citizens. That includes retiring Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, who has based his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on opposition to illegal immigration. Tancredo signed on as one of 89 cosponsors, nearly all of whom represent the most conservative factions of the Republican and Democratic parties.

Shuler’s enforcement-only approach to immigration legislation has exacerbated tension between moderate Democrats and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, many of whom have been displeased with their colleagues’ votes on immigration-related issues this year. In particular, Republicans have used a procedural weapon to force Democrats to vote repeatedly on tricky immigration questions, and 19 freshman Democrats are among the larger group of centrists who have sided with the GOP on one or more of those votes this year.

Later today things got worse. An update from Congressional Quarterly paints a bleak and divisive picture that nearly resulted in a fist-fight on the floor of Congress.
Tensions between Hispanic Democrats and House leaders exploded Friday when a bloc of Hispanic lawmakers voted to derail a major tax bill, relenting only after an angry confrontation on the floor with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.

The rebellion was a response to votes by 36 Democrats Thursday night in favor of a non-binding Republican motion Hispanic members called offensive. It instructed House conferees on an appropriations bill to accept a Senate-passed provision prohibiting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from suing employers over certain English-speaking requirements.

That motion was the latest in a series of immigration- and language-related votes that Republicans have used to splinter Democrats, some of whom are nervous about GOP attack ads that could portray them as “soft” on illegal immigration.

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said Thursday night’s vote was their breaking point. They retaliated by initially voting against the rule allowing debate of the tax bill, very nearly sinking the measure and prompting a fiery exchange on the floor.
Hoyer was toe-to-toe with the much shorter Joe Baca, D-Calif., chairman of the Hispanic caucus. According to one Hispanic Democrat, Hoyer jabbed his finger at Baca and yelled, “How dare you destroy this party? This will be the worst loss in 10 years.”

That same Hispanic lawmaker reported that Pelosi said, “You see this on the board? This is against me, this is against me personally.”

Of the two dozen Hispanic members of the Democratic caucus the only one to sell out and sign on to the Shuler/Tancredo/Emanuel anti-immigrant bill: Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX). You want to help combat this? Donate here.


He speaks for a better America. Rahm Emanuel speaks for fear and hatred and bigotry.

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