Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Apparently I’m Not Eligible to Run for Office as a Republican; How About You?

So the Republican National Committee is considering a “purity test” to determine which candidates will get party support in the 2010 elections. For those who’ve missed this, here is the full text of the resolution (sponsored by Indiana über-conservative James Bopp):

Proposed RNC Resolution on Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan believed that the Republican Party should support and espouse conservative principles and public policies; and

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan also believed the Republican Party should welcome those with diverse views; and

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan believed, as a result, that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent; and

WHEREAS, Republican faithfulness to its conservative principles and public policies and Republican solidarity in opposition to Obama’s socialist agenda is necessary to preserve the security of our country, our economic and political freedoms, and our way of life; and

WHEREAS, Republican faithfulness to its conservative principles and public policies is necessary to restore the trust of the American people in the Republican Party and to lead to Republican electoral victories; and

WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee shares President Ronald Reagan’s belief that the Republican Party should espouse conservative principles and public policies and welcome persons of diverse views; and

WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee desires to implement President Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates; and

WHEREAS, in addition to supporting candidates, the Republican National Committee provides financial support for Republican state and local parties for party building and federal election activities, which benefit all candidates and is not affected by this resolution; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee identifies ten (10) key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle, which the Republican National Committee expects its public officials and candidates to support:

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;

(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;

(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership; and be further

RESOLVED, that a candidate who disagrees with three or more of the above stated public policy position of the Republican National Committee, as identified by the voting record, public statements and/or signed questionnaire of the candidate, shall not be eligible for financial support and endorsement by the Republican National Committee; and be further

RESOLVED, that upon the approval of this resolution the Republican National Committee shall deliver a copy of this resolution to each of Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for Congress, as they become known, and to each Republican state and territorial party office.

Chief Sponsor:
James Bopp, Jr. NCM IN
Donna Cain NCW OR
Cindy Costa NCW SC
Demetra Demonte NCW IL
Peggy Lambert NCW TN
Carolyn McLarty NCW OK
Pete Rickets NCM NE
Steve Scheffler NCM IA
Helen Van Etten NCW KA
Solomon Yue NCM OR

I don’t want to waste time discussing whether a purity test is a smart idea or a bad idea; hey, it’s their party. But I do want to take on each of the ten themes expressed in the test itself.

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;

OK. I get that Republicans were opposed to the stimulus bill. The problem is, I don’t recall hearing many Republican ideas to help prevent the economy from taking a nose dive into a true depression. One thing that Republicans don’t seem to grasp right now is that there is a huge difference between being opposed to something and offering up a viable alternative. Think of it this way: If you suggest eating Chinese for dinner, I could say, “Gee, I don’t feel like Chinese; why don’t we go for Italian, instead.” From there, we could have an open and honest debate about which would be a better meal choice. On the other hand, if I was a Republican, my response would be more like this: “Gee, I don’t feel like Chinese (after all, they’re communists!); so we’ll just skip dinner tonight.”

I also fail to understand the constant mantra about “smaller government” as if by simply making government “smaller” we make it better. I’m less worried about the size of the government than I am with the effectiveness of that government.

As to the national debt and deficits, I seem to recall these going up, not down, under a Republican administration. It seems that Republicans are firmly opposed to debt and deficits except for debt and deficits that they like. Finally, I’d like to be certain what Republicans mean when they say “lower taxes”; lower taxes on whom? The wealthiest Americans who can easily afford to pay a bit more from the money that they’re parking in illegal offshore bank accounts? Why is it that I doubt that “lower taxes” means repeal of regressive taxes like sales tax.

(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;

First, does that mean that Republicans will support an end to the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies? After all, an anti-trust exemption doesn’t really seem consistent with market-based insurance reform. Second, when Republicans talk about “Obama-style government run healthcare” does that mean that they oppose Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, and military healthcare? Those programs are, of course, all government run. What about the insurance provided to members of Congress? Finally, what type of reform do Republicans support? Remember that the plan offered by Senate Republicans didn’t prohibit exclusion based on pre-existing conditions (among a host of other failings). We’ve had a largely “market based” system (with anti-trust exemptions) for years and look where that’s gotten us. And how exactly do Republicans plan to handle the millions of uninsured Americans? Insuring a measly 3 million additional Americans over 10 years (while leaving 30-50 million uninsured) doesn’t really seem to be a solution to the problem. Then again, so long as the “solution” is merely opposition and obstruction…

(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

I wonder how many Republicans can actually explain what cap and trade legislation means. And, for that matter, I wonder how many of the Republicans who oppose cap and trade also believe that global warming is a myth. The funniest part of this is that cap and trade is a market-based reform. That is the whole idea; allow the market to put a value on the right to pollute and provide cost incentives for reducing emissions. And again, note that as usual, what Republicans oppose is spelled out clearly (Obama’s stimulus bill, Obama-style government run healthcare, cap and trade) but what Republicans support is much, much more nebulous (smaller and market-based). Again, it is easy to be opposed to a particular, narrowly-defined policy; it is much more difficult to articulate an alternative.

(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

In all honesty, I don’t know enough about card check to really get into this discussion. I will note, however, that it seems strange, in the entire universe of issues for Republicans to focus on, that card check makes the top ten.

(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

This point is one of the most insidious of all of the points on the Republican purity test. Why? Did you note that Republicans don’t just support legal immigration, but also support assimilation? In other words, Republicans are telling immigrants to come in legally, but once here, they had better jettison their cultural (and religious?) heritage and assimilate into American society. And why is that I suspect that the Republican version of “American society” is the same thing as Glenn Beck’s “white culture”?

In addition, I’m not quite sure how supporting legal immigration and assimilation is accomplished “by opposing” amnesty. What does one have to do with the other? More importantly, what precisely is the Republican plan to deal with illegal immigration and the illegal immigrants who are already here? Again, they oppose a particular policy (amnesty) without offering a solution to the existing problem.

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

First, who doesn’t support “victory in Iraq and Afghanistan”? Do Republicans really think that either President Obama or Democrats support “defeat”? It seems to me that the real question is the definition of “victory”. More importantly, I find it quite odd that when the Republican purity test finally gets around to specific things that Republicans are supposed to support, the focus is on a particular strategy advocated by the military. The last time I checked, the military was overseen by civilian leadership. It is important to remember that the issues being looked at by military planners are almost exclusively military. We don’t ask or expect military planners to look at diplomatic consequences of a particular policy, the cost to implement that policy (what about that support for a smaller national debt…?), the cost in lives or impact upon military families (I suppose that the military might factor this in to the calculation, but I don’t really know), or the desire of the American electorate to engage in the particular military operation. I suspect that generals recommended attacks on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but we allowed civilian leadership to decide what was in the best interest of the country. So too should civilian leadership decide what is in the best interests of America when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan. If that means a surge, then so be it; but the decision needs to be made on the basis of all known information and should take into consideration all relevant matters, not just the matters relevant to the battlefield itself. Military strategy options should be developed by military planners but decisions regarding those strategic options should be made on the basis of national interest, not just military necessity.

(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

This one leaves me a bit puzzled. First, the use of the word “containment” harkens back to the Cold War and fears of Soviet expansion. I suspect that the real issue being “supported” is limits on the ability of North Korea or Iran to export nuclear technology or terrorism. And again, who doesn’t support those ends? Do Republicans really think that President Obama or Democrats oppose “containment” of Iran or North Korea? More problematic is the phrase “effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat”. What precisely does this mean. Again, I doubt that anybody supports ineffective actions. The real question, of course, is what action would be effective? So, for example, are harsh sanctions “effective”? Maybe I’m wrong, but when I read this particular point of the purity test, I take it to really be referring to military action as the “effective action”. Maybe I’m wrong. But if not, I’m troubled by the idea that Republicans are being asked to support a military action without necessarily considering either alternatives or consequences. Forget Iran for the moment; what would be the consequences of the use of force against North Korea? Do we really want to elect leaders who want war on the Korean peninsula?

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

I’m not going to take the time in this particular post to explain why I oppose the Defense of Marriage Act (and why I believe it might be unconstitutional) or to explain why I support same sex marriage (or at least domestic partnerships that have all of the benefits and obligations of marriage). Instead, I’ll simply note that of the items that Republicans apparently view as the litmus test for whether a candidate is worthy, opposition to same sex marriage counts for 10%. I still don’t understand how the issue of whether a loving, committed couple can be allowed to enjoy the benefits of “marriage” can rise to this level of importance. And, for the record, I note that those states that have allowed same sex marriage have neither imploded, been struck by wave after wave of natural disasters, nor sunken into the bowels of the earth; moreover, I note that in those states the institution of heterosexual marriage remains alive and well.

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

I’m glad that Republicans oppose health care rationing. I’m curious to know how they plan to stop insurance companies from continuing to ration care or, for that matter, how they intend to stop the effective rationing for those people who can’t afford health insurance. Republicans also oppose the denial of health care. That seems like a pretty clear blanket statement; yet last time that I checked, Republicans were set against health care for illegal immigrants (remember Rep. Joe Wilson’s “you lie” moment?). And recall, once again, that the Republican health care reform proposal did not prevent insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

With regard to the funding of abortions, first I note that it is a blanket opposition. There is no nuance or exception for matters of rape, incest, or life of the mother. “Gee, sorry, that you’re gonna die ma’am, but if you can’t pay for the abortion on your own, we can’t help you!” Talk about compassionate conservatism. I also have a problem with enshrining certain types of moral issues into federal funding policies. Why, for example, are Republicans opposed to funding abortion but not drugs for erectile dysfunction or hair replacement? More importantly, why are Republicans opposed to funding abortion but not opposed to funding the death penalty, wars, torture, and illegal wiretaps? If every issue to which a large group of voters objected on moral grounds were excepted out of government funding, I suspect that very little would be funded (then again, I suppose that Republicans would view that as good, so long as the military was still fully funded). I also have a problem with the exception for abortion given that other religious traditions come to the issue of abortion with a different understanding and mindset. Thus, while the denial of funding may satisfy a conservative Christian worldview, it may also run directly contrary to a Jewish understanding of when abortion is acceptable. If my religious tradition has a different understanding of the issue, why should someone else’s religious understanding determine how federal spending impacts upon my religious beliefs? (For a more in depth discussion of religious views of abortion, see my post Keep Your Religious Doctrine Out of My State’s Laws from January 2008). I get that conservatives don’t want their tax dollars to pay for abortions; I don’t want my tax dollars to pay for torture. Republicans will do almost anything to protect the “unborn”; but once a child is born, don’t look to the Republicans for help or protection, no sir!

(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership;

Like abortion, I’ve written before about my thoughts on gun control and the Second Amendment and I won’t belabor the point here. But I do want to point out the fact that the opposition to “government restrictions on gun ownership” is another blanket statement. There is no exception for children, the mentally ill, or felons (or terrorists for that matter) and there is no exception for assault rifles or armor piercing bullets or rocket-propelled grenades (or nuclear weapons…). So it would seem to me than any Republican who supports even modest gun control legislation would not pass the party’s proposed purity test.

And what happened to honoring the tenets of this recitals from the preamble of the proposed resolution:

President Ronald Reagan also believed the Republican Party should welcome those with diverse views

Somehow the notion of welcoming diverse views doesn’t seem to come through in the proposed purity test.

As a counterpoint to the Republican purity test, take a look at this purity test for Democrats proposed by Devilstower on Daily Kos:

(1) We support the rights extended to Americans extended under the Constitution. All the rights. For all Americans.

(2) We support thoughtful, pragmatic solutions that protect American lives, American standards, and American pocketbooks. This includes finding solutions that don't require bombing anyone.

(3) We support an America that has diversity in race, thought, background, and religion not out of some hazy idealism, but because it is our nation's greatest strength.

(4) We oppose torture in any form, in any place, at any time, for any reason.

(5) We support American business, and recognize that an unregulated market is an unfair market, an unstable market, and a market doomed to failure.

(6) We support American workers, and know that when workers are allowed to organize they make their jobs, their companies, and their nation stronger.

(7) We believe that the reputation of our nation is valuable and must be zealously guarded against those who place expediency ahead of law.

(8) We believe in spreading democracy and human rights to the rest of the world by vigorously upholding those ideals here at home.

(9) We believe that access to our government is not for sale. Not in the courthouse, not in the White House, and not in the legislature.

(10) We believe that the health of our planet is not a zero-sum game, not a game of "you go first," and not a game.

What is interesting is that I don’t necessarily completely agree with each and every point in this “purity test” either (for example, I’m very hesitantly willing to consider torture in a true ticking time bomb case). Nevertheless, I think that the ideals espoused by this purity test are certainly worth considering, at least as a comparison to the proposed Republican purity test. Read both sets of positions and then ask yourself in which version of our country would you rather live?

Finally, ask yourself whether a purity test like that proposed by the Republicans makes sense. Which would you prefer: (a) party that has pre-determined how its members must think and how they must vote on certain issues; or (b) a party that tells its members to think for themselves, honor their ideals and values, and represent the voters that elected them, rather than the party to which they belong.

Oh, one more thing, as long as I’m looking at purity tests and lists of values and ideals. Charles Johnson, the founder of the right-leaning blog Little Green Footballs has announced that he is parting ways with the right because of:

1. Support for fascists, both in America (see: Pat Buchanan, Robert Stacy McCain, etc.) and in Europe (see: Vlaams Belang, BNP, SIOE, Pat Buchanan, etc.)

2. Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism (see: Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Robert Stacy McCain, Lew Rockwell, etc.)

3. Support for throwing women back into the Dark Ages, and general religious fanaticism (see: Operation Rescue, anti-abortion groups, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, the entire religious right, etc.)

4. Support for anti-science bad craziness (see: creationism, climate change denialism, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe, etc.)

5. Support for homophobic bigotry (see: Sarah Palin, Dobson, the entire religious right, etc.)

6. Support for anti-government lunacy (see: tea parties, militias, Fox News, Glenn Beck, etc.)

7. Support for conspiracy theories and hate speech (see: Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Birthers, creationists, climate deniers, etc.)

8. A right-wing blogosphere that is almost universally dominated by raging hate speech (see: Hot Air, Free Republic, Ace of Spades, etc.)

9. Anti-Islamic bigotry that goes far beyond simply criticizing radical Islam, into support for fascism, violence, and genocide (see: Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, etc.)

10. Hatred for President Obama that goes far beyond simply criticizing his policies, into racism, hate speech, and bizarre conspiracy theories (see: witch doctor pictures, tea parties, Birthers, Michelle Malkin, Fox News, World Net Daily, Newsmax, and every other right wing source)

And much, much more. The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes, and off the cliff.

I won’t be going over the cliff with them.

I disagree with Charles Johnson on many issues, but I’ve always found him to be reasonable and fair minded. When he takes a position, he almost always backs it up. Ever since I came across Little Green Footballs during the Israel-Lebanon war in 2006, I’ve found his site to be a destination to see what the rational right is thinking. As Johnson has frequently noted over the last several months, too often what the right is thinking isn’t rational at all.

So anyway, it looks like I won’t be eligible to run for office as a Republican in 2010. Shucks.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More on President Bush's Interference With EPA Ozone Regulations

Several days ago, in my post "Recap of Interesting News Items" I discussed President Bush's meddling with EPA regulations concerning ozone emissions. Reader John Walke, the Clean Air Director/Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council posted a comment in which he mentions his own blog article "Science Decider in Chief". It appears from reading Mr. Walke's post that the newspaper story from which I got my information barely scratched the surface of the actions and issues.

Please take a few moments to read Mr. Walke's thoughts on the subject. Then, if you believe that President Bush's actions were inappropriate, take a few minutes and call your Congressman and tell them what you think.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Recap of Interesting News Items

Several items in today's issue of The Indianapolis Star caught my eye and prompted me to offer at least a few (notice that I did not say "brief") thoughts on each:


First, was the editorial "The trouble with judging a book by its cover" by Kathleen Parker about a student/employee at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) who was apparently censured for reading a book about a confrontation between students and Notre Dame and the Ku Klux Klan in 1924. A co-worker who only saw the cover of the book thought that it was racially insensitive and should not be read in public and filed a complaint against the student/worker. IUPUI censured the student/worker for his choice of reading material. Then, just recently, IUPUI reversed its position and rescinded the censure because the University could not make a determination as to whether the reading material or the choice to read that material was "intentionally hostile". Today's The Indianapolis Star also has an article on this story that relays these same basic facts: "IUPUI withdraws reprimand of worker". For the record, it is worth noting that the issue may have been more about the student/employee's behavior toward other employees and less about the book, but, nevertheless, the letter of censure appears to be directed toward the choice of reading material:
We conclude that your conduct constitutes racial harassment in that you demonstrated disdain and insensitivity to your co-workers who repeatedly requested that you refrain from reading the book which has such an inflammatory and offensive topic in their presence.

Several things about this story prompted me to write. First, while I read the paper every day, this was the first time that I've heard about this story, even though it concerns events here in Indianapolis. (I admit that I might have missed it earlier, but it seems like the type of story that I would have noted.) Yet, the editorial is from a Washington Post columnist. How is it that this story was picked up by the national press and ignored here in Indianapolis? Second (and much more importantly), the very notion that a person's choice in reading material, especially historical reading material, could be racially insensitive borders on the ludicrous. I suppose that an employee reading a book extolling the virtues of the KKK or something similar might cross that line, but history is history and the mere fact that someone is interested in history should not subject that person to criticism for racial insensitivity. What is even odder is that the book appears to be an anti-racism book about the beginnings of the decline of the importance of the KKK in Indiana (a state with a government once dominated by the KKK). And finally, of all places for a complaint like this to have arisen, it would seem that a public university would be the least likely to challenge a student's reading material. I can recall reading some pretty strange things when I was a student (which, it should go without saying, does not necessarily mean that I approved of the text or ideas of that material; rather, reading that material was a part of the learning process). I can't fathom my university (and I attended a private school) telling me not to read something because someone else might be upset. While it may be acceptable for a private employer to intervene in how an employee acts during his breaks, it is troubling to think that a public university would intervene to such an extent that an employee who is also a student could not freely choose what to read.

I think that this entire matter, from the conduct of the student/employee, to the conduct of the employee(s) making the complaint, to the University's administrators who issued the letter of censure should be the subject of an investigation. If the student/employee engaged in conduct that was hostile or racially insensitive, then he should be punished, but that conduct must be more than reading a book others may disapprove of (especially if they don't really know what the book is about). Might the employee have been subject to sanction for reading the Koran if another employee was an Iraq war veteran or a 9/11 survivor? By the same token, however, if the complaining employee was not on firm ground in making his complaint, then that employee should be punished. And, most importantly, the author of the letter sanctioning the student/employee for his choice in reading material should, in all likelihood, be shown the door as it does not seem to be the role of anyone in a public university to criticize, let alone censure, a student for choosing to learn about history.

Environment & Presidential Authority

The next article that caught my eye was "Bush overrules EPA ozone rule" by Juliet Eilperin (The Indianapolis Star, March 14, 2008, page A5; for some reason not available on IndyStar.com). According to the article, the Environmental Protection Agency was prepared to issue new Clean Air regulations. Yet, before the EPA could do so, President Bush stepped in and, perhaps illegally, told the agency to weaken the regulations:
EPA officials initially tried to set a lower seasonal limit on ozone to protect wildlife, parks and farmland, as required under the law. While their proposal was less restrictive than what the EPA's scientific advisers had proposed, Bush overruled EPA officials and ... ordered the agency to increase the limit....

In the opinion of John Walke, clean air director for the National Resources Defense Council:
It is unprecedented and an unlawful act of political interference for the
president personally to override a decision that the Clean Air Act leaves
exclusively to EPA's expert scientific judgment.

Even US Solicitor General Paul Clement recognized that President Bush's action presented a problem, as the new rules "contradicted the EPA's past submissions to the Supreme Court".

But then this is not the first time that President Bush has ignored advisers. He has previously forced changes in a report on global warming that he disagreed with and changed generals in Iraq to get a general that advocated a strategy endorsed by the President. So, we shouldn't be surprised. But we should be troubled.


Finally, for those of you who have been reading this blog over the last month or so know, I've expressed repeated concerns over Indiana's proposed immigration legislation. I am quite pleased to see that the bill (originally SB335 then amended into SB345) appears to be dead for the 2008 legislative session (see "Immigration bill appears dead"). Once again, I want to be clear: I am not necessarily opposed to immigration reform or to some of the broad concepts set forth in the draft legislation. However, as the cliche goes, the devil is in the details, and SB335 (and its offspring and siblings) had too many problems in the details (leaving aside such large details as constitutionality...) to be adopted as law.

I am sure that this issue will again be before our legislature next year; hopefully in the long session, without the property tax crisis dominating all other issues, and in a non-election year, the General Assembly will be able to give much more careful consideration to whether state-based immigration reform is appropriate and what form such reform should take. I've previously highlighted a number of concerns with the draft legislation (as, of course, have others). Perhaps if more of these concerns are understood and addressed, viable and appropriate legislation will be possible. But for now, I'm pleased to see that neither SB335 nor SB345 will become the law of the State of Indiana in 2008.

One final note on the defeat of the immigration legislation. Sen. Mike Delph, the bill's primary author and sponsor, has been the target of much criticism during the legislative process. The criticism directed at him with regard to the specifics of the bill or his appearance with a uniformed soldier to endorse the bill was appropriate; however, some of that criticism devolved into charges of racism which I don't believe were appropriate (although I do think that some supporters of the bill have been racially motivated). I disagreed with some of Sen. Delph's ideas, but I do not question that his motives were good and I do not think that his ideas were racially motivated.

That said, however, some of Sen. Delph's comments, quoted in today's The Indianapolis Star did bother me. According to "Immigration bill appears dead" by Dan McFeely, Sen. Delph said of the legislative process that lead to the "killing" of the immigration bill: "It's corruption. And you can quote me on that". Just as I'm sure Sen. Delph does not appreciate the charges of racism, I'm sure that legislators who had legitimate concerns with SB335/SB345 would not appreciate being charged with corruption. Frankly, I think that it is blatantly irresponsible of Sen. Delph to make such a charge without evidence. Political and policy disagreements do not corruption make. It appears that Sen. Delph believes that if he doesn't get his way, it must be because of corruption in the system. Perhaps, Senator, the bill died because many people had concerns with its provisions, not the least of which would be its constitutionality.

Sen. Delph is also quoted as saying "I think this has been a well-orchestrated effort, bipartisanly [sic] from both leaderships, to try to kill the bill .... Unfortunately, the will of the people is losing now and it's a shame." Again, while the effort to kill the bill may have been "well-orchestrated", there is nothing nefarious going on. While many people may have supported the bill, many others did not. The business community, the Chamber of Commerce, immigrant groups, and religious groups all expressed opposition or concern about the legislation. So, the suggestion that the leadership prevented "the will of the people" from becoming law is not based on real facts. Sen. Delph often cites his constituent survey and notes that 87% of his constituents favored his bill; however, it is worth noting first that his survey was conducted before the actual text of the bill was introduced and before anyone had a chance to comment on its flaws. Second the language of the survey is just the type of pre-determinative language that makes reliance upon survey results so dangerous:
Illegal immigrants' unfunded use of local government services adds to demands on local property taxes. Would you support or oppose a bill that would get tough on illegal immigration and those who profit from such activity.

I can't imagine anyone saying no to that sort of statement. The problem, of course, is that the basic premise of the "question" is, at least partially, false.

I look forward to participating in an open and honest discussion of these issues in the future. I hope that our legislators and concerned citizens will participate as well. But, I hope that such participation is done in good faith and with an open mind and without the name calling, racial overtones, and refusal to think about competing viewpoints that has plagued discussion of the issue this year.

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