NDN Blog

New Pew Research Center Poll

A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows that providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants "wins broad and bipartisan support. Overall, 63% of the public - and nearly identical numbers of Republicans, Democrats and independents - favor such an approach if illegal immigrants 'pass background checks, pay fines and have jobs.'"

When it comes to stemming the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States, "just 25% say increasing the number of border patrol agents is the best solution, and even fewer (7%) see more border fences as the most effective solution."

The study also addresses other issues, including Iraq; it found that 56% of Americans - "the most ever in a Pew Research Center survey" - favor withdrawing from Iraq as soon as possible.


WTF: where's the fence?

Grassfire.org has an ad up entitled "Where's The Fence?" From their website:

Last year, Congress and the President promised 700 miles of fence. Now, with almost no progress on the fence, they are pushing ahead with amnesty. Let’s face it -- we’ve been conned and it’s time for Americans to shout: “Where’s The Fence?”

The ad is below, but I'd really welcome your comments on this one. (FYI - to post a comment, just register at NDNBlog and click "add new comment" below this post)

(Credit to Dan on the title...)

Quick '08 Update

- The Wall Street Journal tells us that Rudy Giuliani is set to release his health-care plan.

- More Rudy: Patrick Gavin and Jeff Dufour from The Examiner point out that Rudy Giuliani's comments on abortion, which were followed by a lightning strike , is quite popular on YouTube:

As of 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani’s response to a question on abortion, which was accompanied by a lightning strike, was viewed 198,964 times. That’s 3.1 times more views than the rest of the GOP debate combined (64,409 views total) and a whopping 8.1 times the entire Democratic debate, which had 22,891 views during the same time frame.

- Mitt Romney's campaign released a boastful statement on the Iowa straw poll, which John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are opting out of. For more Mitt, check out this video interview of him in the Washington Post.

- Hillary Clinton picked up an endorsement from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. In other news: Hillary recently turned down Univision's invitation to participate in the first ever Spanish-language debate, saying that she plans to only participate in debates sanctioned by the DNC. Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson, both fluent in Spanish, have accepted.

- Jonah Goldberg asks "Are we better off with Fred?" and begins his piece with some satirical stats on Fred Thompson who, because of them, joins the likes of Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer.

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

Outside The System

As Nico from the Center for American Progress reported yesterday, the Justice Department recently released a correspondence between former Gonzales counsel Monica Goodling and assistant Attorney General Paul Corts. In the email, Goodling asks that an order be drafted and sent directly up to her, "outside of the system." The order in question, which was signed by Gonzales, "granted her and [then-Chief-of-Staff] Sampson broad powers to make personnel choices and other major decisions." Goodling subsequently used those powers to fire and hire U.S. Attorneys for admittedly political reasons.

This memo demonstrates yet again the consistent tendency of the current Administration to value loyalty and partisanship over competence and merit, and their evident willingness to go "outside the system." President Bush has made it clear that he values loyalty extremely highly, and this philosophy has permeated all levels of the Bush government. Goodling, a graduate of Messiah College and Pat Robertson's Regent University (which currently has some 150 graduates working in the Bush Administration), was one of several Gonzales aides "remarkable for their inexperience and autonomy in deciding the fates of seasoned Justice Department lawyers." Just before her resignation, Goodling said that all she wanted to do "was serve this president, this administration, this department." Goodling was dedicated enough to break the law in pursuit of that goal.

So it seems the real question is: Should partisan loyalty really be the decisive factor when appointing public servants?

Celebrate Democracy's 1st Anniversary

As you know, NDN has been at the forefront of a national effort to imagine and build a progressive infrastructure capable of doing battle on the new emerging battleground of the 21st century.    This month we celebrate the 1st anniversary of the founding of an important new piece of this emerging infrastructure, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.  This compelling new journal was founded by two good friends of ours, Kenneth Baer and Andrei Cherny, and has been supported by NDN from its inception.

You can learn more about Democracy by visiting their web site at www.democracyjournal.org

Democracy was launched to be the progressive analogue of the idea journals on the conservative side – such as Public Interest, National Interest, and Commentary – that have been the original source of many of the big ideas the right wing used to appeal to Americans over the past 30 years. And it has had a very strong first year. Democracy’s readership has shot up to more than that of Public Interest at its peak during the Reagan years.  The journal can be found in major bookstores in 49 states – in places like Gulfport, Mississippi and Anchorage, Alaska – on shelves where conservative journals used to have all the space for themselves. It has subscribers on every continent, and is finding its way into libraries across the nation.

Most importantly, Democracy is a crucial part of creating the intellectual underpinnings of the next wave of progressive action.  They feature thoughtful groundbreaking pieces from established thinkers such as Joseph Nye, Jr., Peter Bergen, Dennis Ross, and Elaine Kamarck as well as up-and-coming writers. This is why they have been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and on hundreds of blog posts over the past year.  Maureen Dowd wrote that Democracy is “a progressive journal to ponder big ideas that might help the wretched Democrats stop driving on Ambien and snatch back a little power.”  Not exactly how I would have said it but you get the idea.   

In honor of Democracy’s first anniversary, NDN has arranged for a special subscription discount for our members and friends of $24 for the entire year.   I hope you will help us celebrate their anniversary by subscribing – and supporting – this very worthwhile venture today.   

The Post makes the case for the Senate bill

The main editorial in the Post today makes the case for passing the Senate bill:

Pass the Immigration Bill
Hope for 12 million people -- if the center holds

THERE WAS a revealing moment Tuesday when the Republican presidential contenders were taking turns bad-mouthing the Senate immigration bill. Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, evidently sensing a twofer target -- the bill as well as Washington's evil ways -- allowed that the immigration bill is (gasp!) a compromise. Or as Mr. Giuliani put it, "a typical Washington mess."

Well, yes and no. The bill, which faces a crucial vote as early as today, is indeed a compromise -- a "grand bargain," in the words of its Senate sponsors, in which each side gave something to get something. That's what has made it such an easy mark for critics. But Mr. Giuliani is wrong to think the immigration deal is "typical" in any way; in fact, the Bush administration has presided over a ravenously partisan era in which precious little bipartisan compromise has occurred on major domestic issues. The immigration bill is the exception that lends hope to the proposition that seeking cooperation, conciliation and the middle ground is still possible in American politics.

The bill is not worthwhile merely because it is a compromise but rather because it addresses the colossal and corrosive problem of 12 million illegal immigrants who have become an integral part of the American labor force. No one seriously believes they will be rounded up and deported en masse, yet too many opponents of the bill evidently prefer the status quo -- immigrants in the shadows; employers ignoring the law; preoccupied and embittered state and local officials in whose laps the problem has been dumped -- to the reasonable resolution the bill offers: an arduous but navigable route to citizenship. Wrestling that problem to the ground would be an enormous achievement, and so would measures in the Senate bill that would tighten the border and create systems by which employers could verify the legal status of the workers they hire...

To read the rest, click here.  For more on NDN's views on immigration click the immigration tag above. 

Is Iraq a civil war?

Last fall we had a spirited debate about whether what was happening in Iraq could be described as a "civil war."  I never really bought into the civil war crowd, as what is happening in Iraq looks much more like a failed state, disintegrating, than a traditional civil war.  News reports from the region today reinforce this sense:

Thirty-four bodies were also found strewn about the capital, the latest evidence of a rising toll of sectarian killings more than three months after the beginning of the increase in American troops.

At least 167 bodies have been found in Baghdad in the first six days of June, according to an official at the Interior Ministry. The numbers remain below the average seen before the rise in American forces but are much higher than the levels recorded in March and April.

As the rising body count stoked new concerns about how well the troop expansion will tamp down execution-style killings, Iraqi and American officials got a jolt late in the day when reports emerged suggesting that Turkish forces had begun a long-threatened incursion into northern Iraq to hunt Kurdish guerrillas who stage attacks inside Turkey.

The reports, attributed to Turkish military officials, said thousands of soldiers crossed the border in pursuit of members of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or P.K.K.

Some of the Presidential candidates talk about Iraq as a civil war.  If it were so, this would lead to a certain set of strategic choices, ones that implied picking one side or the other in the conflict.  But what is happening there is much more complex than a traditional civil war, with many actors, domestic and foreign, pursuing their agenda in the vaccum created by the failure of the US to establish stability after Sadaam. 

Part of the reason Iraq has been such a disaster is that the Administration really never understood what was happening there.  Those who hope to follow Bush must not replicate his mistake, and work much harder to understand and explain the realities of the Middle East today, a region very much changed and changing because of our recent actions on the ground there.

Immigration Reform lives to fight another day

The Post has a good round-up of yesterday's long and contentious day in the Senate.   While we are pleased that the bill has survived (click on our immigration tag for our recent commentary), the bill has come through this process battered.  It will be interesting to see over the next two days - and we are hoping there will be a final vote tomorrow - who decides to stay with the bill rather than bolting for reasons legitimate or not.  My guess this morning is that the bill will pass when it comes to a vote. 

Of all the provisions defeated yesterday one deserves another shot either in the House or in Conference.  Senator Bingaman rightly tried to end the requirement of those holding "guest worker" visas to return home after two years before re-applying for another two years.  Common sense tells you that this will lead to more undocumenteds, and will thus create more problems than it solves.  This provision needs to be improved as the bill goes forward.  

Late reports last night indicate that an amendment to sunset the guest worker plan after 5 years may have passed.  If so this would be a positive development, but let's wait this morning for more details.

We also have a great deal of sympathy for the case being made by Microsoft and others that the new point system may interfere with their ability to bring in the high-end workers they need.  In general I am very skeptical of the new point system, and hope there can be further debate about it in the House. 

The House.  Yes, very soon, this bill may come to the House.  While Senator Kennedy built this bill to not just pass the Senate, but to pass a chamber with a much more reluctant set of Republicans, we have to remember that unlike the Senate the House did not go through a long debate last year.  Many Members are unfamiliar with either the old bill or the new one, and will need time to digest it all, talk to folks back home, etc.  The lead Republican on the key House Committe, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, is a friend of the Minutemen and one of the most outspoken opponents of Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the nation. 

Getting the bill this far has tested friendships, been very contentious and just been plain hard. But as hard - and as important as it is - it is about to get even harder when it comes to the House.  The opposition is more intense, and the advocates not as battle tested as Senator Kennedy, Senator Salazar, Senator McCain and the Senate team.  But to the House it looks like it will come - and that is remarkable progress.  Be prepared all for what is going to be a debate of enormous consequence in the new House of Pelosi.

Bill Kristol: is the President still respectable?

In an article in the Daily Standard, William Kristol offered this criticism of President Bush after he declined to pardon Scooter Libby:

So much for loyalty, or decency, or courage. For President Bush, loyalty is apparently a one-way street; decency is something he's for as long as he doesn't have to take any risks in its behalf; and courage--well, that's nowhere to be seen. Many of us used to respect President Bush. Can one respect him still?

Syndicate content