Thursday, January 15, 2015

Are The 26 Republicans Who Opposed Marsha Blackburn's Deportation Amendment Really "Moderates?" Of Course Not


If you were worried about Steve Stockman and Michele Bachmann retiring...

Minutes after Marsha Blackburn's racist amendment to deport DREAMers passed the House 218-209, Fox News' Capitol Hill chief correspondent, Chad Pergram tweeted that the there were "26 GOP defections. Mostly moderate R's." Earlier, Politico writers Seung Min Kim and Jake Sherman posted that GOP moderates rebel against House immigration measure. Let's take a look at the 26 Republican "moderates" who voted against Blackburn's racist explosion:
Mark Amodei (R-NV)- R+5, 16.6%
Mike Coffman (R-CO)- D+1, 16.7%
Ryan Costello (R-PA)- R+2
Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)- R+1
Jeff Denham (R-CA)- R+1, 34.9%
Charlie Dent (R-PA)- R+2
Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)- R+5, 70.7%
Bob Dold (R-IL)- D+8
Renee Ellmers (R-NC)- R+10
Chris Gibson (R-NY)- D+1, 5.4%
Richard Hanna (R-NY)- R+3
Cresent Hardy (R-NV)- D+4
Joe Heck (R-NV)- even PVI, 13.5%
John Katko (R-NY)- D+5
Peter King (R-NY)- R+1, 18.6%
Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)- R+4
Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)- D+1, 12.2%
Tom MacArthur (R-NJ)- R+1, 5.6%
Martha McSally (R-AZ)- R+3
Pat Meehan (R-PA)- R+2
Devin Nunes (R-CA)- R+10, 39.3%
Dave Reichert (R-WA)- R+1, 7.7%
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)- R+2, 75.0%
Chris Smith (R-NJ)- R+7
Fred Upton (R-MI)- R+1
David Valadao (R-CA)- D+2, 65.8%
Well... if you take a look at Chris Gibson's voting record, you do find a moderate. But he's the only one. Gibson's ProgressivePunch lifetime crucial vote score is 32.18. The next highest from this list of purported "moderates" are Bob Dold's 17.62 and Frank LoBiondo's 16.38, very not-moderate. In fact the rest of the list after Gibson is composed of conservatives, many of them extremely right-wing. All of them, however, are politicians acutely aware of who their constituents are. Many of them are in swing districts that swing blue in presidential election years. Some are in districts with huge Hispanic populations. The PVI of each district is next to their names and when I was able to access the data, I've also included the percent of the voting population in the district that is Hispanic.
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that he opposes the Blackburn legislation, as well as a separate measure that, in part, rolls back immigration enforcement directives dating as far back as 2011. If those amendments are ultimately approved, Denham said he would oppose the underlying DHS funding bill.

“It’s disappointing to see an overreach,” Denham said of his own party.
Don't think Denham isn't aware that in 2008, Obama beat McCain in his district 111,656 (50%) to 105,903 (48%) and that two years later Obama beat Romney by an even greater percentage, 51-47%, largely due to voter registration and GOTV efforts in the Hispanic community. And those metrics are even scarier for some of the others. Obama increased his win from 2008 (52-46%) to 2012 (55-44%) in David Valadao's district for identical reasons. Members like Denham and Valadao can't count on DCCC incompetence forever. And Obama won in almost all those members' districts either in 2008, 2012 or both.

This morning, Denham spoke to reporters at a GOP congressional retreat in Hershey, Pennsylvania: "I think it's a clear overreach. I think not having a clear message on the issue is a drag on the party... It not only sets us back on immigration reform, I think it sends a mixed message to the American public which we're going to have to straighten out. Just throwing DACA out there early without having an overall reform bill, I think, brings great concern-- not only from the Senate colleagues that I've talked to but the folks in my district that I've talked to."

In the end, only 8 of those Republicans (+ libertarians Justin Amash and Tom Massie) voted against the final bill, which would deport DREAMers and their parents: Justin Amash (R-MI), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Jeff Denham (R-CA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Bob Dold (R-IL), Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Tom Massie (R-KY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and David Valadao (R-CA).

Also worth noting: two putative Democrats-- both are Blue Dog reactionaries-- broke ranks and crossed the aisle to vote for the final bill that includes mass deportations: Collin Peterson (MN), on who the DCCC just spent $3,943,723, and "ex"-Republican Brad Ashford (NE), on who the DCCC just spent $1,522,087.

Tuesday afternoon, right after the vote, Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, blasted the Republicans pretty harshly.
With this vote, the Republican Party has lurched even further to the right on immigration, from its support of ‘self-deportation’ in the run up to the 2012 election to an embrace of ‘maximum deportations’ in the run up to the 2016 election.

Talk of a comprehensive overhaul of our immigration policies, which had its moment in the sun after the 2012 election, is now a distant memory. Congressional leadership and the Republican National Committee have made it clear that their priority is to overturn the most important immigration policy changes in a generation.

Despite their protestations and process arguments, the facts are clear. Today the vast majority of House Republicans voted to put over 5 million immigrants, including parents of American children, Dreamers who grew up in America and military families who risk the ultimate sacrifice, back on the path to deportation. Today the House Republicans put the stability of funding for homeland security in jeopardy in order to tell immigrants that ‘we don’t like your kind.’ Today the House Republicans helped cement their reputation as a party hostile to the fastest growing groups of new voters in America, Latinos, Asian-Americans and immigrants.
The vast majority of Americans support comprehensive immigration reform. The vast majority of Americans understand that mass deportation is both impractical and inhumane. And yet, as today’s votes demonstrate, the vast majority of House Republicans have turned their back on comprehensive immigration reform and embraced mass deportation.

What most Republicans don’t seem to get is that for millions of Americans this issue is deeply personal. All the clever sound bites in the world about constitutional equilibrium do not lessen the impact of telling an American child that their parents should be deported, of telling a Dreamer that they have no claim on the country they grew up in, of telling a military family that while one spouse is on the front lines defending our nation, the other could be at the front of the line for deportation.

The good news is that this political show by Congressional Republicans will fail to stop the most important changes in immigration policy in a generation but will succeed in hastening the day when we have a pro-reform majority in both chambers of Congress. The bad news is that a major political party told millions of aspiring Americans that they aren’t good enough to join the American family.

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