Saturday, November 15, 2014

When it comes to govt. shutdown, some (political) people just never learn

The new Republican majority that will control Congress is already plotting its retaliation should President Barack Obama proceed with plans to use his ‘executive order’ powers to push through portions of immigration reform.

Republican congressional leaders are going about saying they would consider government shutdowns if Obama were to proceed with what they want to describe as an illegal/immoral act.

AS IN GOVERNMENT agencies would be shuttered. No services would be performed. Those in the public who depend heavily on such services would suffer.

And the public would place the blame on Obama for their losses. Actually, if history is any indication, no they won’t!

They sure didn’t back in the mid-1990s when then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich thought his “Contract with America” type of ideologues could bully then-President Bill Clinton into going along with their wishes.

Gingrich & Co. wound up having to back down when the public saw the tactic as cheap politicking by the Republicans that put the people at risk.

WHENEVER REPUBLICANS HAVE threatened Obama’s presidency with a government shutdown, the public has taken the same attitude. In short, Republican officials are the types who are willing to harm what the public needs in order to try to get their way.

I’m convinced the same thing will happen if the GOP tries another government shutdown. If anything, it would help reinforce Obama’s standing with Latino voters – who admittedly are less-than-enthused about the president these days.

Obama has refused to use his influence to push for serious immigration reform; in large part because he has feared antagonizing the conservative ideologues on other issues. The problem with his concern is that those ideologues already are fully stirred-up about Obama, and aren’t going to do anything to help him no matter what he does.

Latino activists who have a special interest in immigration reform realize it is those ideologues who are the real problem. But they see Obama as being too weak to stand up to them and back the promises he made on the issue in past campaigns.

SO PEOPLE ARE waiting to see if Obama keeps his most recent promises – that he would pass some sort of order that implemented partial immigration reforms. The Washington Post has reported recently it might be an order that prevents non-citizens from being deported IF their children are U.S. citizens.

Action could come before year’s end. Although the GOP officials are making it clear they don’t want Obama to do anything on the issue.

I don’t doubt they will get petty in their retaliation. Immigration reform truly is the issue that brings out the worst in these ideologues – particularly since so many of their hang-ups are racially- and ethnically-motivated.

It’s too bad these ideologues don’t realize how much they’d be doing themselves harm politically by taking such actions. All those Latinos who now are wondering if an Obama vote was a mistake would be reminded why they voted against the Republican presidential candidates in the first place – and why they ought to do so again come 2016.

CRAIN’S CHICAGO BUSINESS reported this week how Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., is being urged by some Latino activists to consider a presidential run himself because of this issue.

Some are comparing such a potential bid to the one that the Rev. Jesse Jackson made back in 1984 – he didn’t come close to winning, but did draw attention to political concerns of the African-American electorate.

Although I think one has to go back another two decades to see the likely outcome for immigration reform.

It ties back to the presidency of John F. Kennedy, who was sympathetic to the civil rights movement but was unwilling to fully back it out of fear of antagonizing those southern political people who were Democrats and expected federal government to support the segregationist way of life that existed then.

IT ULTIMATELY TOOK the hard-core political skills of Kennedy’s successor – Lyndon B. Johnson – to get enough votes in Congress to overcome the segregationist segment and push the Civil Rights Act into law.

There are those who think Obama inspired us to want to do better as a society, similar to the days of Kennedy.

Does this mean that the way to finally resolve the issue of eliminating the bureaucratic mess that is our current national immigration policy is not to follow the lead of Newt, but instead to find ourselves the next LBJ?!?


No comments: