I want to explore the illegal immigration issue for a little bit. There are many millions of illegal immigrants here in the U.S. Additionally, many immigrants here "legally" are citizens because they were born here (to illegal parents) or married a citizen. I don't have a problem with people born here being citizens, regardless of their parental citizenship; it is in the Constitution (specifically, Amendment 14: "Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside"). Of course, the Constitution can be changed (amended) - Amendment 14 was not in the original Constitution; it could theoretically be reversed with a new amendment (I'm not advocating that but with enough support it could happen).
So what do we do about the millions of illegals in the country? They pay sales taxes and a few pay income taxes. They also pay property taxes - directly or indirectly (via rent). There is however, the utilization of government-provided services - schools, roads, health care, and so forth. I don't really want to get into the economics of the issue. I want to address amnesty.
Many proponents of amnesty say it is the compassionate way. After all, if we deport illegal immigrants, we're going to rip parents and children apart as we ship the parents back to their home countries. Of course, most parents and childred will not want to be separated. That means that this will lead to the de facto deportation of many children - who are U.S. citizens. Should the sin of the parents be upon the heads of the children? These are some of the arguments that proponents of amnesty make. They are valid arguments. However, is it really compassionate to declare amnesty for illegal immigrants? What about the millions of people who are trying to get in the country legally? Is it compassionate to effectually punish them for trying to come here legally?
Providing blanket amnesty as many Democrats and people like McCain want to do is like store security watching 250 people enter a store early on Black Friday and not only letting them stay but also giving them prizes for their efforts while all the people in line watch in disbelief. Pretty quickly many people in the legitimate line will either think they should have just done what the other people did and cheat. Giving blanket amnesty would seriously interfere with legal immigration processing, at least for a couple years while all the illegals got sorted out. Again, it's not compassionate to indirectly punish those who are trying to enter the country legally. Even giving illegal immigrants their number at the back of the immigration line while staying in the country on temporary visas interferes with legal immigration and only encourages illegal immigration. If amnesty is granted once, many people will believe that it will be granted again; the influx of illegal immigrants will keep going, even with beefed up border security. After all, there's no real punishment for their crime. I'm not debating whether or not there should be illegal immigration or not but as our laws stand, it is a criminal offense to enter the U.S. illegally and worthy of jail and deportation.
I recognize that the question of illegal immigration is tough and many politicians grapple with it. On one hand it seems heartless to throw so many people out of the country when many of them have families here and work in many of our less-desirable jobs. On the other hand, they usually don't pay income tax and a sizable portion of their pay is under-the-table. Illegal immigrants pay a lot of taxes on consumables and housing but they also utilize many government-funded programs. Because they are here illegally, most can't get health insurance or other types of insurance. Most can't legally receive driver's licenses. When they get sick, they don't usually go to doctors, rather to emergency rooms, which cannot deny them. Without automobile insurance any accident-related expenses they are in become the responsibility of the other drivers' insurance companies to cover (assuming the individual has un- or under-insured coverage). This raises insurance rates for everyone. However, most illegal immigrants are hard-workers and good people. Some are exploited by their employers but many are not. The problem is that they are here illegally.
Amnesty is an answer tot he problem but it is not the best answer. It rewards illegal behavior and while hiding behind the smiling mask of compassion it spits on those waiting to enter the country legally. We can't just immediately deport all illegals without considering individual circumstances. Also, many employers would have serious shortages of workers (initially), seriously hurting much of our food and farming industries. As such, we need a graduated and conscientious deportation system. They could then all go get in the back of the line to enter the country legally if they want to do so. We might even temporarily increase the rate of legal immigration - without giving special privileges to people who were here illegally. That is the truly compassionate way of dealing with illegal immigration because it also considers the needs of all those who are taking the legal route to immigration. We don't want to scare off those who want to enter legally. We are a nation with many immigrants but we are not a nation solely of immigrants. Many of us have ancestors who came to America from Europe almost 400 years ago; in other words, we've been here for a long time. Immigration was a different issue back then than it is today. It was even a different issue 60 years ago. We still welcome immigrants and the skills, culture, and diversity that they bring. We just want to make sure that they come here legally.
Mitt Romney completely outshone the other candidates during the debate. McCain only came across as vindictive and disingenuous. McCain kept saying that Romney supported a set withdrawal date for getting out of Iraq. Romney never said that. McCain kept going after Romney and in so doing kept shooting himself in the foot. McCain, I thought, did the most poorly of any of the candidates in the debate. Ron Paul was his normal self. He makes a lot of good points but just doesn't have the support to get the candidacy. Huckabee kept up his quips and sounded good but he again showed his platform shallowness (he also kept saying, "Look at me! I need some attention.").
McCain kept attacking Romney for changing positions - which he did on abortion (and he recognizes that and apologized for it) - but he has not changed on other positions. Romney is by and large the most representative of Republican Party ideals. Romney is the most like Reagan (except Romney would cut back government and Reagan did not). I used to like McCain a lot more than I do now; I'm originally from Arizona and always respected him. However, I get really sick of his, "I've been in Washington for 25 years. I'm a war hero. I know foreign policy. I'm a straight talker. [I'm not a politician]. I'm entitled to the Presidency." He not only is part of the Establishment, he is part of the Entitlement. McCain tries to portray himself as someone who is above petty politics when that is what he does. He's the one who attacked Romney's character when Romney only attacked McCain's policies. Mitt Romney has his faults but none of them are what McCain has been attacking him over. The only two really honest people on that stage were Romney and Paul. Huckabee is likable but he, like McCain, tries to say that he is above politicking when that is what he's very good at.
Overall, I think Romney earned an A- for his performance tonight. Ron Paul earned a B. Mike Huckabee earned a B-. John McCain earned a C+.
Orson Scott Card, one of the best contemporary writers, frequently writes articles about his views on politics and other issues. On January 13, 2008 he published an article called Prejudice in the Primaries. He outlines how religious and racial prejudices are affecting the primaries. People vote against Romney because he is LDS (polls in early January showed 25% of people saying outright that they would not vote for a Mormon) and conversely some people vote for McCain because he's not openly religious. People also vote against Obama because he's black. I agree with him that racial and religious bigotry is likely affecting the primaries more than we care to think.
Amy Sullivan's old but still very salient article Mitt Romney's Evangelical Problem is a wonderful exposé on the problem that Mitt Romney faces. Just as there is no room for racism in our country there is no room for religism.
Well, Giuliani's big gamble did not work. He spent all his efforts in Florida and some of the Super Tuesday states only to have his early poll lead chiseled away by McCain and Romney. I'd be highly surprised if he did not drop out of the race by the end of the week. While I previously posted about how I didn't feel that I could trust him, after researching his stances on issues, I learned to at least respect him more. I still disagree with him on issues but I think that he had good ideas for economic policies and would have done well in the international scene.
Huckabee did not do well in Florida. He got some of the evangelical vote but overall did poorly. I'm glad that members of the Republican Party see through him (well, a lot of us do). His one-liners and quips revealed that there is not a lot of substance to his platform. I heard him make a comment after the Florida results were in that his supporters should make sure they all go out and vote and that they should keep people who are not going to vote for him in their driveways. I know it was said tongue-in-cheek but that was not one of the more brilliant things that he's said. He plans on staying in the race for some unknown reason. He'll do fairly well in the South but nowhere else. He certainly would not compete well against any of the Democratic candidates in a general election. It's time for him to drop out of the race. Maybe he thinks he'll have a come-back but the cynical part of me also thinks that he might just stay in the race because he takes votes away from Mitt Romney. That is probably not true but I can't deny the possibility that anti-Mormon bigotry is playing such a large role. Anyone who thinks that the LDS Church would suddenly control Washington should Romney win does not know LDS theology. Anyway, Huckabee also could be staying in to try and be in a position to be chosen as a running mate.
McCain had a big win in Florida. He jumped into 1st place in the delegate count; he's ahead of Romney by about 20 delegates now, which is not a lot but he is polling ahead of Romney in California. Also, with Giuliani's endorsement, he will take up a majority of Giuliani supporters. I have a lot of respect for McCain and for his even-mindedness and "gut." I think he'll do well against any of the Democratic candidates should he receive the Republican nomination. I do not like the personal attacks he made against Romney though. Romney started the negative campaigning but it was always negative about candidates' actual past performance and their stances on issues. McCain started the personal attacks on Romney though (Huckabee was involved as well). McCain was the first to use language that questioned Romney's character or his integrity (for example, "if you wrestle with a pig you only get dirty" referring to Romney as the pig. That statement was way below the belt. Romney is by far the most squeaky-clean of the candidates). He was also the main candidate who called Romney a "flip-flopper," which is completely untrue. Romney has changed stances on issues (although they were mostly when he was still governor or even before then) but to "flip-flop" you have to repeatedly change back and forth. Romney has "flipped" on some issues but that's it. McCain has done the same and should not be pointing fingers. Of course, many people involved in the mainstream media also can't resist trying to paint Romney as a "flip-flopper." It's disingenuous at best and slander or libel at worst. Campaigns tend to be ugly, unfortunately, but there's no room for outright lies. Granted, Romney shouldn't be calling McCain's policies "the liberal Democrat way" but that certainly is more accurate (McCain is moderate and thus has a lot of policies that are "liberal") than calling Romney a flip-flopper.
Now to Mitt Romney. He's still in the race. He had strong support in Florida - not as good as would have liked - but he came in a solid second. He also solidly won the conservative vote. McCain won the majority of liberal and moderate Republican votes but Romney won the conservative majority. Romney will do well in a number of states on Super Tuesday. He has Utah in the bag. I think he'll do well in the other Rocky Mountain states, the Midwest, and in the Northeast. It looks like McCain will win California and Arizona, although this win in Florida will certainly give him momentum. McCain will be tough to beat. Whats hard to understand though is why the conservatives in the Republican Party (who are a majority) aren't widely supporting the one candidate who espouses the range of conservative values - Mitt Romney. I also don't get why so many more people think that McCain is more likable than Romney. McCain is likable but I don't think he's any where near as likable as Romney. Of course, I'm biased but I also try not to be swayed by media's portrayal of candidates, which in Romney's case is generally negative.
The Democratic contest was just for show. Clinton was the overwhelming winner but her win was symbolic. Hopefully Democrats see through her and stop voting for her. She has had too many scandals in the past and has been involved in too many underhanded maneuvers to be completely trusted. I think that people support her in part because they are nostalgic for her husband. I don't think that that many people are really all that nostalgic for Bill Clinton as they are for the 90s. The 90s was relatively peaceful and prosperous. People associate that with Pres. Clinton and Hillary gets to bask in the reflected glory. Bill Clinton gets all this credit for the prosperity of the 90s when it really was not his doing. If people give him credit for the prosperity of the 90s they also have to give him credit for the recession that started in 2000 and continued for a couple years into Pres. Bush's presidency. Economic forces are bigger than the Presidency. So, I think that people like Hillary because they think that she would be another Bill Clinton. It's a misguided nostalgia. I think that Obama has so much more to offer than Clinton does. Democratic voters need to see that. Of course, part of me wants to see Clinton nominated because I think she'd be easy to beat. That's not what I really feel though because I think the best candidate should be nominated and for me that's Barack Obama.
Sen. Obama had a major win today in the South Carolina Democratic Primary. His win there shows a number of things. First, that he overwhelmingly has the African-American vote in the country. Second, he overwhelmingly has the young vote in the Democratic Party. Third, there are many Americans who want someone who is not part of "the establishment" (even though he is a Senator). His wide support I believe is an important step in American politics. I don't think that anyone should or should not be supported based on skin color but Obama represents minorities of all skin color in a lot of ways and shows how important they are becoming in politics.
Some people have started comparing Obama to the Kennedys - John F. and Bobby. He is in a lot of ways. He is young, energetic, and a rousing speaker. I have significant differences of opinion with a lot of his politics but he is a candidate that I feel that I can trust. I wrote a previous post stating that he is the Democratic candidate I would like to see receive the nomination largely because he is genuine and trustworthy. Again, I disagree with him on a lot of issues but he does represent change and he seems like an honest person (unlike another prominent Democratic candidate).
By Daniel Kay
When my wife was carrying our first child in 2003-2004 I was surprised to find that John Kerry un-apologetically opposed laws that would protect my unborn child. I was more surprised to find that opposition to the value I held for my child was tied to justification of abortion. From that time to now, this has been a big issue in my election choice.
I agree with individual freedom but not at the expense of another's right to live. The “right to choose” is not really the issue, if it were, “free choice” pundits would be fighting for the right to choose and not fighting to devalue unborn life across the board. Those who support abortion rights have not stopped at a mother’s right to choose. They will not stop until society devalues the millions of lives that have been legally terminated since this “right” was extended; they cannot stop until the millions of aborting mothers no longer feel any guilt for their choice. They think they can eliminate their compunction by eliminating the value of what was aborted. For example, they seek to eliminate laws that make it possible to prosecute assailants for aborting a pregnancy in violent attacks and by fighting for embryonic stem cell research, which they think proves there is no current value in the unborn only un-guarantied potential. Thus, nothing is wrong with what they have done. But no matter how much they devalue their own offspring, no matter how much they attempt to devalue my offspring, no matter how much more vindication these people obtain from the Democrats, I will always value my unborn children as much as my born ones and I will always vote for the candidate who will fight to protect my most valuable possessions: my posterity.
I am revolted by the Democratic candidates who vow to make abortion more accessible, more accepted, and more unrestricted - who seek to reduce the value of every parent’s unborn child. If elected, the two leading Democratic candidates intend to re-extend abortion legalization to include partial birth abortion, uphold late-term abortions, over-ride the 38 states that have banned partial birth abortion, provide tax dollars to pay for abortions, and improve the quality of adults by harvesting embryos for body parts. Hillary and Obama are rated at 100% on these issues. Hillary has already voted against a bill that banned partial birth abortion. She voted against a bill that would make the intentional killing of an unborn child by a violent attacker illegal. Moreover, she has supported legislation which allows embryos to be conceived only to be terminated so that the quality of life of another may be improved. Already the United States lags in moral conviction on this issue. While most countries acknowledge the inhumanity of late-term abortions, the US Democrats continue to fight for the "right to terminate a viable human being." Some wonder how far the Democrats would have the nation civilly digress in giving mothers the right to choose, perhaps to ancient practices and beliefs that reflect Pluto’s Republic in which “imbecile” children were placed outside the city walls to die, or the Law of Moses which gave parents the power to have their children stoned to death for disobedience. By some people's definition these activities would be called “rights.” Perhaps, one day the "right to choose" will be called the “right to terminate one's offspring.” While I think abortion should be made illegal, except in the instances described in a previous post on this blog, the next step needs to be to bring America up-to-date with world standards of humanity, that is, acknowledge that excuses like "I don't want the child, I can't afford the child, I don't have time for the child, I don't want the child brought into the world, I don't want a scar on my tummy, I don't want to go through the birth process, etc" are abominable reasons to have an abortion, particularly in the late-term, and should be made illegal nationally.
The only way for the nation to end one of the greatest atrocities in American history (i.e., the thousands and thousands of late-term abortions preformed legally and without the health of the mother being in danger) is to elect a President who will appoint judges who will rule in favor of humanity. Only the Republicans are offering this opportunity this election year. I have confidence that Romney or Huckabee will select judges that will extend the “right to live” to all humans no matter what developmental stage they are in. Pro-lifers need an advocate in Washington not someone who will compromise our position. I have no confidence in pro-choicer Giuliani to fight for the sanctity of life nor do I believe his promises to select “conservative” judges. How can we respect someone that promises to do something against his professed convictions? McCain also has never championed a pro-life bill. In fact, McCain supports embryonic research - making him a defacto pro-lifer at best whose record suggest that while he is professedly pro-life he is not a pro-life advocate. Republicans must unite to beat the Pro-Choice RINOs in our own party this election year and we need to select a candidate that can beat the socially barbaric DINOs (Democrats Implementing Nefarious Opinions) in November.
By Daniel Kay
The media is spinning McCain as the Winner of the Louisiana Caucus. In reality, however, McCain was beaten by a land slide to “Pro-Life” this week. The final results are yet to be confirmed as the rules for being able to vote in the caucus required that you be a registered Republican and this was not confirmed before the voters were allowed to participate. In other words, this is the most meaningless and ridiculous event of the Primary season so far. It really makes you wonder how viable Huckabee is when he could not win an uncontested primary in the Deep South when he has the most constant and forthright anti-abortion record and platform, respectively.
Apparently, all the Republicans in the Caucus voted for “Pro-Life” and only a small fraction (presumable not adamant pro-lifers) of moderate and liberal voters were left to give McCain and Ron Paul the distant two, three positions.
Now---Louisiana, why would you move your primary up just to tell the nation that you are undecided? For goodness sakes, get back in the heap with the rest of the states that are not paying any attention to the race. Again the distant second place finish of McCain is nothing more than what we already know---moderates and independents are voting for McCain. No big news. The question is why aren’t more Core Republicans speaking up? More importantly, why aren't conservative leaders, like the Louisiana senator who endorsed Romney the day before the vote, speaking out sooner so that endorsement will actually do something?
GOP Political Risk: Part Two
By Daniel Kay
Previously I compared areas of the Risk board to states on the US map being contested in the GOP race. However, the areas on the board are more comparable to the various voting blocs of the GOP. This is easily correct as the wins in each state correspond nicely to wins in particular voting blocs. North America I identified as Iowa but Huckabee’s win there represented a clear win over the Evangelical voting bloc. I compared New Hampshire to Europe which corresponds to McCain’s command over the foreign policy conservatives, independents and moderates of the party. Romney's win in Michigan was identified as taking control of South America which represents a part of the Economic conservative wing of the party. I characterized Australia as a hide a wait strategy used by Giuliani but it also represents, like Michigan, another part of the economic wing of the party. South Carolina I previously underrepresented as a battle over Greenland but it was actually a battle over the North America/evangelical voting bloc which Thompson successfully assailed from Kamchatka strongly by Thompson while Romney moved in effectively from Peru and McCain defended against Huckabee’s main army in Greenland from moving into Iceland. So South Carolina was a battle over North America and the clear loser was Huckabee. Romney’s wins in Wyoming and Nevada were identified with wins in Africa territories which represent the core republicans of the party. He has not taken all of Africa yet. Thompson remains an annoying contender for this voting bloc. Thompson’s final armies in Africa are stationed in Madagascar waiting to capitulate to Romney the only other spectrum Republican still in the running. Asia represents the bandwagon republicans who will vote for whom ever is the most popular. Currently that is up in the air but has been in the hands of Giuliani for some time though they recently lost control of this region.
Time to review the game board as it lies with the major players:
McCain has solidified his control over Europe/Independent and moderate GOP voters. He conquers Europe divisively when he won New Hampshire but he has fortified and reinforced his control over this sector. He depleted the armies of Huckabee stationed in Greenland but was unable to move in and take any part of the Evangelical voting bloc. McCain also strengthened his armies in Australia ending Giuliani’s domination of the continent. The winner of Florida will need to win the out of control spending part of the economic conservative vote. McCain is on message and in a strong position to win.
Romney expended some of his armies working his way into Huckabee’s control over North America and was able to move into Central America. Romney expanded his control in Africa (i.e., core republicans) by a divisive win in Nevada receiving over 50% of the vote. He was also able to fortify his armies in South America (i.e., the economic conservative wing of the GOP). His control over South America has been put under scrutiny by the media it just depends on Giuliani’s ability to win Australia then expand through Africa to take South America from Romney (unlikely but possible). Romney has also strengthened his armies holdup in Australia and the battle between these three will take place over the next 8 days.
Huckabee is stuck in North America trying to take back lost territory, ~1/3 of the Evangelical vote he lost to each Romney and Thompson, so he can gain control of the continent again. Huckabee is completely isolated in North America and does not have the resources to battle Romney, Giuliani and McCain but his attempts are absolutely futile as he will never win the economic conservative (South America) or the moderate and foreign policy conservative (Europe) votes. He therefore, has only one move: attack Thompson to take as much of the evangelical vote back from him in the hope it is enough to allow him to move into Asia popular enough to compete on Super Tuesday (he must be dreaming).
Ron Paul is currently in the Middle East with a relatively large army but unlikely to do any damage to anyone but perhaps deplete some of McCain’s strength in Europe.
Thompson seems to still have some of the bandwagon support and core GOP support but does not have the means to stay in the game much longer.
***Up date: Thompson dropped out of the race and now it is question of who will fill the voided space on the board.***
Giuliani’s broad support in Asia (the popularity contest vote) has all but disappeared and he is in Australia ready for his final battle.
Game Board View:
By Daniel Kay
Ron Paul has been accused of having no credibility and yet in at least one state he has out performed every GOP frontrunner except Mitt Romney. McCain and Huckabee have been out preformed by Ron Paul in Nevada and tied with him in Wyoming. While Giuliani has been consistently out preformed state-to-state by Paul including Iowa, Michigan, and Nevada and tied with him in Wyoming. Ron Paul supporters use this to give credibility to his candidacy but what it should be doing is bring into question the credibility of those he is beating.
On this level, Romney is the only one with state-to-state (i.e., national) credibility. More importantly, he has received the most GOP votes of any candidate: estimated at around 20,000 more votes than McCain the declared frontrunner. He has also obtained the most delegates: 34 more delegates the the so-called frontrunner. I just hope that the GOP wakes-up to what is happening. If McCain, Giuliani, or Huckabee wins the nomination, the Democrats will be running against the party that has a buffalo or a rhinoceros mascot rather than the party that has the elephant. I hope Huckabee’s camp is wrong when they said that the GOP coalition is already dead but if Romney does not win the nomination I believe this claim will be validated.
Mitt Romney overwhelmingly won in Nevada, with 52% of the vote. LDS Church members apparently made up 25% of the Republican caucus goers and 94% of them voted for Romney, according to CNN. Take away all of the LDS voters and Romney still would have received 28% of the vote, far more than the next closest - Ron Paul - with 13% of the vote. Even though LDS church members make up a lot of the vote in Nevada, Romney's vote transcends them, as was also seen in Michigan and Wyoming (and the other states). Romney received 18 delegates, Paul and McCain both received 4, Huckabee and Thompson both had 2, and Giuliani received 1.
What is a bit surprising is Ron Paul's second place finish. He has received about 10% of the vote in every state so far and managed to pull off 13% in Nevada.
Sen. Clinton won the Democratic majority in Nevada, with 51%. Obama was close behind with 45% (there are still a few precincts that need to report). Hispanic voters overwhelmingly supported Clinton. A majority of women also supported Clinton. Looking at delegate counts is important too. Clinton received 13 to Obama's 12.