Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

Obama’s an ethical hero for creating a virtual Dream Act to give a million young Americans a path to a productive life, free from fear of deportation

June 17, 2012

 

Joanne ____ is one of America’s twelve million illegal immigrants. She was brought to the United States from Mexico as a baby by her parents.  She has a younger sister and brother who are American citizens because they were born in the United States. Her sister is in her last year at Harvard; her brother is in high school.

Five years ago alumni of the North Hollywood High School Class of 1957 decided, as part of their 50th reunion, to give a scholarship to a deserving senior. The school’s top choice was Joanne, and so she was awarded the scholarship. With that financial help and her own tenacity and hard work Joanne got her degree from the California State University, Northridge, a year ago. She’s spent much of the past year looking for work, but it’s been a hopeless case because she can’t produce the necessary papers.

Until yesterday, when President Obama announced that the United States would no longer consider deporting people like Joanne—people who had been brought here illegally as children, earned a high school diploma or GED, or served in the military, and had behaved well—had what we would call a record of good citizenship, were they citizens. Moreover the government will give them permits to work in the US for two years, renewable indefinitely.

In effect the President granted by executive action much of what the Dream Act—stymied only by an especially ugly Republican filibuster (more…)

Marco Rubio courageously and compassionately supports DREAM Act II

April 21, 2012

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is a darling of the Republican right, so much so that many pundits have tagged him as a front runner for the #2 spot on the Republican ticket with Mitt Romney. If Romney were to choose Rubio, goes the reasoning, it would solidify his position with the party base that has always mistrusted him. And as a bonus, Cuban-American Rubio might help Romney with the growing numbers of Latino voters who have been turned off by his unbending anti-immigrant position.

Immigration is the one issue on which Romney and the right are together: seal the borders and hunt down and deport everybody who isn’t here legally, all 12,000,000 of them.

Rubio showed he’s not one who goes along to get along, in all likelihood forsaking any chance at the VP spot on the Romney ticket. He just announced his sponsorship of a modified version of the DREAM Act, which would allow children of illegal immigrants to obtain legal status in the United States.

Some on the Left have rejected Rubio’s proposal as a betrayal of American values, but chalk that up to hyper-partisanship. Rubio clearly wants to help young people, brought here illegally when they were small children, to stay in America legally and to get an education and a job.

Rubio’s is a story of courage and compassion, and of a too-rare politician who rejects ideology in favor of solving a serious national problem. Hooray.

 


 

Mitt Romney: Liar, liar, pants on fire. Said he didn’t care about poor people, now brushes it off as “I misspoke”

February 3, 2012

Mitt Romney said he’s not concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net. And if the safety net needs repair he’ll fix it.

This proves he doesn’t care. If he thinks the safety net is OK he’s out of touch, and his out-of-touchness proves his lack of concern.

The safety net leaves millions of minimum- or low-wage earners without enough to feed, clothe, and shelter their families, leaves them dependent on emergency room visits for any medical care, and—if they’ve been unemployed for a long time—facing termination of their unemployment checks. And candidate Romney, along with nearly unanimous Republican Senators and members of Congress, are reflexively opposed to “fixing” the safety net.

But appearing so heartless can be costly to a Presidential candidate. So Romney tried to lie his way out of it, saying he misspoke. But he didn’t misspeak. Misspeaking is when I call my granddaughter by her sister’s name. Misspeaking is when John McCain tells a Romney gathering that he’s confident that President Obama will cure the nation’s ills. Misspeaking is not saying something, then when challenged explaining what you said. He didn’t misspeak.

The interview that got Romney into this mess went like this:

The candidate told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on Wednesday that he’s “not concerned about the very poor,” explaining that he’s concerned about the middle class (more…)

Take “Occupy Wall Street” complaints seriously, don’t use force to disperse them

October 13, 2011

Americans pay attention when a lot of people turn out. And so there’s lots of attention for “Occupy Wall Street,” or OWS for short. Thousands of people, mostly of the Millennial generation (born since 1982) are camping out in Zuccotti Park, just two blocks from Wall Street’s New York Stock Exchange.

The Right doesn’t like OWS: “I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,” Mitt Romney opines. “Growing mobs,” snarls Eric Cantor. “Anti-American,” Larry Kudlow charges. “The beginning of totalitarianism,” warns Ann Coulter.

OWS comprises lots of people, diverse in temperament, opinion, and goals, but they are engaging in old-fashioned American protest, this one against corporate greed, social inequality, and joblessness.

Some dismiss them as incoherent, but that’s a mistake. They’re angry about the way our society has moved away from the American dream and toward greater and greater inequality. Like them or not, OWS is a growing force. Our country needs to take their complaint seriously. They may be as consequential as Tahrir Square. Or more. Or maybe not.

Of course there’s always a danger when a mass of people congregate. Large numbers of peaceful people can give cover to wrongdoers bent on looting or mayhem, as in the recent London riots, or in the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992, which started as a peaceful protest but left 53 dead (more…)

George W. Bush’s finest hours: his embrace of Islam and of American Muslims. We need that now from Republicans

August 28, 2011

Six days after the 9/11 attack on the United States, President George W. Bush went to the Islamic Center of Washington to publicly embrace Islam and, especially, American Muslims. He led Americans away from any idea of blaming Islam for the horror of 9/11.  He repeated that theme over and over, making it a part of his second inaugural address, and returning to the Islamic Center for its rededication in 2007.

Bush’s healing message stands sadly in contrast to the ugly anti-Muslim rhetoric we hear lately from so many prominent Republicans, notably Newt Gingrich, Eric Cantor, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Peter King, and Frank Gaffney. To their credit Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have not joined in, but neither have they been very vocal in rejection of Islamophobia.

Ethics Bob never thought he’d be missing George Bush’s leadership, but on this issue he surely does. Bush’s statements are worth reading:

September 17, 2001, at the Islamic Center of Washington (complete remarks):

“Thank you all very much for your hospitality. We’ve just had a—wide-ranging discussions on the matter at hand. Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday’s attacks. And so were Muslims all across the world. Both Americans, our Muslim friends and citizens, taxpaying citizens, and Muslims in nations were just appalled and could not believe what we saw on our TV screens.

“These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that. (more…)

Three cheers for Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, and Byron York of Fox News, and for Rachel Maddow of MSNBC

August 13, 2011

Who would have thought that Fox News and MSNBC could raise us out of our funk over the hyper-partisan media and their destructive influence on political discourse in America?

First, Fox:  As hosts of the Republican Presidential debate Thursday Fox might have been expected to throw fat pitches to the favored candidates. But reporters Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, and Byron York* would have made the legendary Martha Rountree—creator of Meet the Press and no gentle tosser of fat pitches—proud.

Chris Wallace asked Gingrich about his entire campaign staff resigning, then asked Herman Cain about his claim that “communities have the right to ban Muslims from building mosques.” Byron York asked Bachmann to explain her statement that she was following biblical guidance to “Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.”

And Baier may have settled the 2012 Presidential contest when he asked the candidates to raise their hands if they would walk away from a deal to balance the budget with a ten-to-one ratio of spending cuts to tax increases. I haven’t seen hands shoot up so fast since I asked in a staff meeting who could use my tickets to Sunday’s Redskins game. Every single candidate claimed absolute dedication to not raise ANY taxes, not even on the super rich, not even on Big Oil, not even on tax-exempt GE. And we know it because of Brett Baier.

And MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow turned away from hyper-partisanship to recognize the courage of four prominent Republicans who defied (more…)

Hooray for Romney and Paul for eschewing the politics of discrimination and hatred against Muslims and gays at the GOP debate

June 15, 2011

It feels awkward to praise in an ethics column somebody for showing simple decency, but considering today’s Republican candidates, simple decency is nothing to sneeze at.

So hooray for Mitt Romney for standing up for the rights of American Muslims. Romney dismissed the idea that Sharia law could ever be applied in American courts (“We have a Constitution”), and rejected Herman Cain’s position that Muslims should be singled out and treated differently (“We treat people with respect regardless of their religious persuasion.”)

By contrast, Cain and Newt Gingrich made it clear that they would be very reluctant to have any Muslims serve under them. The other participants, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul didn’t comment in the debate.

Bachmann has in the past shown suspicion toward American Muslims, while Santorum has stated that he considers Muslims to be as good American citizens as anybody. Paul has been downright heroic on this issue, blasting those in the conservative movement who use “hatred against Muslims to rally support.”

On another subject Paul earned praise from Ethics Alarms for his ethical and libertarian position on the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. He was the only candidate to reject the policy.

Did Obama betray Israel? Or is the Republican outrage manufactured hypocrisy?

May 20, 2011

Has the President “thrown Israel under the bus,” as Mitt Romney said yesterday? Has he “once again betrayed our friend and ally, Israel,” as Michele Bachmann raged? Made a “mistaken and very dangerous demand,” as Tim Pawlenty accused? Or has he “given the Palestinians a huge break,” per Newt Gingrich?

Here’s what the President said:

“I believe that any peace agreement between them will require mutually agreed adjustments to the armistice lines of 1949 to reflect current realities and to ensure that the Palestinian state is viable and contiguous.”

Oops. That wasn’t this President, it was President George W. Bush, speaking in Jerusalem on January 11, 2008.

Here’s what President Obama said yesterday:

“We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.  The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.”

Get the difference? No? That’s because there isn’t any. The 1949 and 1967 lines are the same. The only difference is that Republican politicians will scream in opposition to anything that President Obama says, even if George W. Bush said the same thing without any complaint.

Politics doesn’t stop at the water’s edge any more.

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Thanks to Michael Smerconish and Hardball for the quotes used here.

 

A Reinhold Niebuhr award for Joe Scarborough

March 4, 2010

Amidst all the scandals erupting from New York (about which, more later–stay tuned), finally a big helping of ethics cheer: Joe Scarborough earns a (mythical) Reinhold Niebuhr award* for bringing good temper and integrity into the political fight.

Thanks to Samuel Jacobs for alerting us to Scarborough’s ethics heroism in his Daily Beast blog.

Scarborough, a conservative Republican former congressman from Pensacola and now co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, blasted Glenn Beck for hate-mongering:

“We’re going to have a conservatives’ honor roll on this show… I’m talking to you, Mitt Romney, and I’m talking about anyone who wants to be president in 2012. … You need to call out this type of hatred.”

The highest level of political ethics is to call out members of one’s own party. We’re not surprised when Republicans call out Charlie Rangel, or when Democrats criticize Appalachian Trail-trekker, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. That’s no contribution to the integrity of the political fight. But when a Republican calls out fellow Republicans like Scarborough did, he deserves kudos. And when he does it on national television he deserves a Niebuhr award. Nice going Joe.

Romney declined, through a spokesman, to take up Scarborough’s challenge.

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*Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote, ‘The temper of and integrity with which the political fight is waged is more important for the health of our society than the outcome of any issue or campaign.”


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