Saturday, March 13, 2010

What goes through Gutierrez’ mind?

It amazes me the way that many people perceive the act of political “compromise” as meaning, “everybody is supposed to make concessions to ‘my’ point of view.”

True political compromise usually entails a willingness by all sides to make concessions – usually after having engaged in some “tough talk” that reflects their ideal stance on an issue.

WHICH IS WHY I have no problem comprehending what is going through the mindset these days of Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. For the one-time member of the Chicago City Council is merely engaging in the give-and-take of politics by saying he may turn out to be a “no” vote when it comes to the issue of health care reform.

That issue is the priority these days of President Barack Obama, who desperately wants to get something through the legislative process so he can sign a reform measure into law. Doing nothing would give the political victory to his GOP opponents, who would be able to say they can thwart Obama whenever they desire – even though Democrats still hold the majority of members of Congress.

But because of the legislative rules that now give the GOP some influence through the “filibuster” process, Obama and his congressional allies have to engage in significant gamesmanship to get something past Republican officials who want to deny Obama a political victory.

Specifically, it looks like any health care reform measure that winds up becoming law will be close in appearance to the version of the bill that was passed by the Senate. That was a measure that included compromises to more conservative elements who want to use health care reform to ding people interested in the immigration issue.

SPECIFICALLY, PEOPLE WHO can’t verify a valid visa would not be able to get insurance – even if they are capable of buying it on their own. Nobody is talking about government funds being used.

For Gutierrez, the immigration issue has always been the priority. He is the sponsor of the one specific proposal that has been introduced before Congress, which means he is going to be a leader on that issue even though Obama has made it clear that any version he backs is going to be one inspired by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. – who is interested in appeasing the “law and order” types in ways that Gutierrez could care less about.

Gutierrez voted “yes” when health care reform came up last year in the House of Representatives, but now says he is considering a “no” vote if those immigration provisions remain.

At this point, it would be difficult to remove them and still pass something into law – unless one wants to scrap all the bills and start over, which is something that nobody wants to do. Dems want something now and GOPers don’t want anything ever.

THAT IS, NOT until we have Republican officials in control who can try to frame the issue from one of people not having health insurance to one of doctors making too much money for people to afford their services.

Gutierrez has made the rounds of the politically-oriented television programs, and has clarified his view, issuing a statement reading:

“At this time, I am a ‘no’ vote on health care. It’s no secret that I have been critical of proposals that would exclude our nation’s hard-working immigrants from the health care exchange, and I would find it extremely difficult if not impossible to vote for any measure that denies undocumented workers health care purchased with their own dollars.”

There are those political observers who want to say that Gutierrez is somehow being hyporcritical or absurd for being willing to support health care reform in one version, but then back away from supporting it now that it comes up for a final vote.

THERE ARE OTHERS who have a problem with the idea of him taking his primary issue of immigration and using it as a way of judging this issue of health care reform.

Personally, I have a problem with all of these political observers for being clueless as to the ways of real life. I would find it hypocritical of Gutierrez were to let this newest version of health care reform from the Senate go through without saying anything. Because it was put together in ways that were meant to dump on the bulk of Gutierrez’ constitutents – he represents the Illinois congressional district with a heavy Latino population, which is the true target of most anti-immigration measures.

So for him to bring this “flaw” up for public discussion is to be expected. Not that I’m convinced that this means he will remain a ‘no’ vote. Because for Gutierrez, the priority this year is getting action taken by Congress on something that resembles immigration reform – and not the type of reform that sees any benefit to erecting barricades along the U.S./Mexico border.

Could it be that Gutierrez’ price for a final “yes” vote on health care reform will be assurances that immigration reform will not be ignored this year (which is what many Latino activists – including several from Chicago and East Chicago, Ind., fear will happen, and likely will say when they gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., come March 21).

COULD IT BE that Gutierrez would only vote “no” if he senses that nobody is willing to do anything with the immigration issue? In which case, the health care reform version now pending would be nothing more than another kick to the cabeza for people with an interest on that issue.

If that is how the situation pans out, then perhaps a “no” vote is in the best interest of the people who have voted every two years since 1993 to send their former alderman to represent them in Washington.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Luis Gutierrez is engaging in true-blue American politicking by trying to keep visible ( HIS priority issue in exchange for his support on Barack Obama’s desire for health care reform.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nothing except thumbing his nose at the laws of this land. if he is so vehement about giving things to illegal aliens then he should pack his bags and prepare to leave congress we don't need any congress man or woman who has specific tunnel vision exclusively for a certain ethnicity he is not a patriot he is a bigoted racists. his time has come and gone there is no place for a congressman to practice treason against the laws of this country. he should spend his energy helping the country of origin of those he fight so strongly for to get their act together and keep their citizens in their homeland we owe no illegal alien anything. we don't want them jammed down our throats. so what if he is a no vote on the health care bill it is toothless any way there is no public option which leaves it meaningless. we will be sure to remember to vote no when he runs again to retain his seat in congress. it is clear that he has an allegiance to another country and that makes him unfit to serve in the U.S. congress get out!