The Greatest Show on Earth

Welcome to the theater.  It’s going to be a great show, with some exceptional acting chops…

On Monday, Obama met with several community organizations and labor leaders to discuss immigration reform.

“Latino leaders say they will work in coming months to pressure Republicans to give way and support an immigration bill — and make opponents pay at the ballot box if they don’t.  “We’re going to make absolutely crystal clear who’s at fault here,” said Eliseo Medina, a leader of the Service Employees International Union.”

There are some serious problems with this line of strategic thinking.  First of all, if Democrats cannot pass any kind of immigration bill with a DEMOCRATIC president, a DEMOCRATIC House, and a DEMOCRATIC Senate- then we are never going to pass anything, ever.

Let’s be clear.  This is not about assigning the blame or identifying heroes and villains.  This is not about making sure that Latinos blame Republicans for the lack of immigration reform, and as a consequence run into the arms of the Democratic party for another ten years.  That is NOT okay.  Using immigration to fan the flames of what is such a hot issue, and use the opportunity to whisper into the ears of latino voters, “Republicans hate Latinos… they don’t want immigration reform… vote for Democrats instead!  We may not be able to get anything done… but at least we’re not them.”

It’s not complicated.  Midterm elections are coming.  Historically, the party in power is vulnerable.  Democrats need to save their seats.  Which is the big, juicy new voting bloc?  Latinos.  So the re-election strategy is simple: make a big show out of caring about immigration, blame Republicans when nothing happens, drive Latinos towards Democrats- save a couple seats.

Julia Preston, from the New York Times reports:

“Democratic lawmakers acknowledge that the immigration overhaul will not happen before the mid-term elections in November. Now, the White House is seeking to hold on to Latino voters–who turned out for Mr. Obama in record numbers in 2008–despite their frustration with the inaction on the legislation, which would give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.”

Pushing comprehensive immigration reform when it’s not actually going to happen works as a great re-election strategy.  It’s genius.  But is it a good strategy for immigration reform? Any kind of immigration reform? Not so much.  We. Want. Results.

Obama is set to give a speech calling for comprehensive immigration reform, based largely on the framework introduced by Senator Schumer and Senator Graham- even though Graham isn’t on board anymore, and no bill exists for that framework. The speech is set for this week, and he will be meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus next Tuesday.

All this, and they are fully aware of the fact that this non-existent bill is going nowhere, fast:

“There are an insufficient number of Democratic votes to pass this in the Senate or in the House. I’ve said it. There are an insufficient number,” Representative Gutierrez said at a Friday news conference.

Well, there it is.  He said it last Friday, as quoted in Politico.

But perhaps there is another way:

“Given the difficulties of achieving a comprehensive bill, participants in the White House meeting said there was also discussion of attempting to pass smaller pieces of legislation — such as a bill focused on agricultural workers, or one that would help illegal immigrant youths attend college.”

Sounds familiar.  Let’s try that.

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3 thoughts on “The Greatest Show on Earth

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention | Blog | The Greatest Show on Earth --

  2. What is crystal clear is that neither democrats nor so-called “pro-immigrant” group leaders want any kind of benefits for immigrant communities this year. They are willing to keep immigrants (i.e. youth, temporary workers, parents, etc.) waiting. If there was any real intention from RI4A and Obama, deportations would have decreased, piece-meal bills would have been discussed, and an executive action would have been considered. All of these approaches would have been done by now!I say we do what Rep. Gutierrez suggested not so long ago (probably before he got badly reprimanded by Obama and the party leaders): Latinos, STAY HOME in November and do NOT vote! A fake democracy where people's lives are used as bargaining chips is not worth participating in.

  3. We've seen the whole speech thing with Bush too, and what did he do…NOTHING!! it's time to stop talking about it and being about it!! All of us taxpayers need results and a fancy speech is not going to make a difference. We need results now and the seem to be oblivious to to the fact that they are playing with the lives of 11+ million people.

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