NDN Blog

On immigration the GOP chooses politics over progress

In this time of deep partisanship in Washington, there has been one issue where the President, Senator McCain, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, the Catholic Church, the Chamber of Commerce, numerous labor unions and many other grassroots groups were able to find common cause and work together: the McCain-Kennedy approach to comprehensive immigration reform that passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support in 2006.

Unfortunately, we've now learned that once again Republican leaders have chosen politics over progress, and have walked away from this remarkable coalition and sensible approach. In news articles that have run this morning it is clear the Senate Republicans and the White House will now offer a new bill, one that abandons the smart principles of McCain-Kennedy, and that makes clear the President's support for comprehensive immigration reform has only been a spirited set of hollow promises.

Years of work went into crafting the McCain-Kennedy approach. It has made great progress through Congress. It has a deep and broad coalition behind it. Democratic Congressional leaders in both chambers have made it clear that passing this bill this year is a very high priority (see video from our recent event with leaders from both chambers reiterating their support). The new and flawed Republican approach unravels this coalition, and has dealt a severe blow to those hoping to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year.

The Republicans lost power in 2006 because their government did not produced the results they had promised and had left many important challenges left unmet. At NDN, we believe the American people sent a clear message to Washington to stop playing politics and start focusing on solving a daunting set of 21st century challenges. On this issue of immigration reform, once again the Republicans have chosen to listen more to their partisans than the American people, and have walked away from a good and sensible bipartisan solution to a difficult national challenge.

Crowning Edwards King of Social Networking?

The Washington Post analyzes John Edwards' embrace of social networking sites. Comparing his efforts to the rest in the 2008 field, the article shows that while Sen. Barack Obama might be more popular, Edwards is more visible:

All the presidential hopefuls are online. Everyone's got a Web site. A few hired full-time bloggers and videographers. Most have MySpace profiles, just a click away from "friending" a supporter. Yet Edwards has taken his Internet presence a step further, fully exploiting the unknown possibilities (and known pitfalls) of the social Web, online strategists say. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), judging by the number of friends on MySpace or number of views of his YouTube videos, may be the most popular online candidate, Republican or Democrat. But Edwards arguably has the most dynamic Web presence -- he's everywhere, doing everything.

But exactly where is he?

...the former senator is signed up in at least 23 socnets -- more than any other presidential candidate. And that's not counting John Edwards One Corps, his own networking site that campaign officials say has 20,000 members and 1,200 chapters across the country.

For more information on how candidates can leverage the internet and its possibilities, check out the work of our New Politics Institute.

White House PowerPoint on Immigration

The White House's Immigration PowerPoint presentation that outlines plans hashed out by Republican Senators was floated the other day. You can find it here.

Analyzing the details, the LA Times has this article (an interesting contrast to this one) which depicts the situation as it stands. Reactions to the presentation were alarming. From the article:

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who was heavily involved in the GOP planning, called the presentation "a temperature taking." He added: "It's still very early, there will certainly be controversy."

...

Referring to those positions and his support for admission policies driven by the goal of family reunification, Kennedy emphasized that immigration policy involved special moral obligations to treat people well.

"This is unique," said Kennedy, chairman of the Senate immigration subcommittee. "You don't compromise on the morality of these issues, and we're not going to."

For someone seeking to solidify some semblance of a legacy, the President seems to have taken a step backwards.

"the credibility of the attorney general on this issue has been more or less shattered."

That was Senator Schumer's response to former Chief of Staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez Kyle Sampson's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today.  At the heart of his testimony was the statement: “I don’t think the attorney general’s statement that he was not involved in any discussions about U.S. attorney removals is accurate...”

Read more...

The Eventual Merging of the Online and Offline Advertising Worlds

Google’s attempts to evolve its advertising offering from the online into the offline worlds got a promising review in the New York Times. The short version of what’s going on is that Google is taking its online targeting ability, enhanced by technology, and trying to evolve it into the advertising world of traditional media.

One frontier is traditional radio, otherwise known as terrestrial radio (because  of the various new kinds like web-based radio and satellite radio). The Times piece interviews some of the early clients in the experiments and shows that they are encouraged that is seems to be working, thought the jury is still out. There is also a lot of worry from the traditional players and some legitimate concerns about whether it will ultimately work in a significant way.

Another frontier is the newspaper world, and those experiments seem to be going even better than radio. That makes sense because newspapers are text based and more fully integrated into the online world anyhow. But it’s interesting to see many of the top papers and chains talking about how it seems to be working.

The final frontier is the biggest one, television. Here’s one paragraph that gives you the sense of what is at stake:

Television advertising could prove particularly fruitful for Google, because the company might be able to combine its technology with that of cable systems to show different ads to different viewers based on demographics or personal interests. The company has said it is conducting a small trial with a few partners.

The point for politics is that all of the traditional broadcast media are evolving to take on more of the targeting capabilities of online advertising. This might take a long while to transition, but the trend is taking shape.

This is a good thing for those political people who take advantage early. It will allow you to use more effective, less expensive advertising to reach the people you need to reach.

Peter Leyden  

H1B Visa Application Period Begins Saturday

The 85,000 H1B visas for high-skill foreign workers are expected to go quickly, when INS starts accepting applications Saturday.  Bill Gates was on the Hill a few weeks ago, complaining that there are not enough visas available.  11,000,000 undocumented workers in this country might agree with Gates that there is a lack of visas in this country for hard-workers looking to provide for their families.  Dealing with H1B visas separately seems pretty illogical.  The whole immigration system is broken, the whole system needs to be fixed.  Read more about NDN's work on immigration reform here

You negotiate with the Iran you have...

Robert Gates is bringing a new realism to the Defense Department, sharing what should be blindingly obvious, that we have to engage Iran, in his first speech since replacing Donald Rumsfeld earlier this year.  From the WAPO:

In his first domestic public speech since taking office in December, Gates laid out a pragmatic approach to foreign policy -- one that emphasizes using diplomacy to overcome disagreements with Turkey, Iran and other nations regarding Iraq.

Gates, who had advocated dialogue with Iran before becoming defense secretary, said "the regional talks recently held in Baghdad were a good start toward improved cooperation, and our government is open to higher-level exchanges."

Too bad he wasn't there in 2003 when the Bush Administration passed on the opportunity to negotiate a grand bargain with Iran, that could have included support for terrorism, WMD, recognition of the state of Israel, the sovereignty of Iraq, etc.

Immigration Talks Accelerate

The title of this Roll Call article speaks for itself, as bi-partisanship seems to be defining the process for passing comprehensive immigration reform this year. Referring to the contrast between current and past discussions on immigration reform, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) noted:

“Last year was about staking out what you wouldn’t do” on immigration, while lawmakers now are aggressively working to find bipartisan common ground this session, said Graham.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) agreed, saying that he is “more hopeful than anytime in the recent past” that a comprehensive reform bill could pass.

Ever the office of optimism, an aide to House Minority Leader John Boehner said “Republicans will support an immigration bill that secures the border first and foremost, and does not grant amnesty to illegals.”

I must respectfully refer that aide to my previous post on this Washington Post editorial, which predicted comments like those from Rep. Boehner's aide and refutes them, allowing the Minority Leader (and other Republicans) to vote for the bill:

Before the bill's citizenship provisions kick in, stringent new standards on workplace enforcement and border security would have to be satisfied. They include a major build-up in personnel and technology monitoring the nation's border.

Conservatives opposed to citizenship for illegal immigrants are fond of pillorying it as "amnesty." This bill provides nothing of the sort. In addition to requiring lawful reentry to the country, it would entail immigrants paying a $2,000 fine and any back taxes they owe, clearing a security and background check, learning English and civics, compiling a felony-free record, and submitting proof of past employment. Only after six years and after satisfying those requirements could workers apply for permanent residency status, which could lead to citizenship.

Time to pass this now.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: You need a subscription to Roll Call to view the article.)

Video from the CAP/SEIU Event on Health Care

CAP and SEIU brought all the major Democratic Presidential candidates together to talk health care last weekend.  The Republicans were invited too, but they took a pass on the forum.  Watching video from the event it is clear that there is a consensus that we can't go on the way we have been and have to come up with a plan to control costs and make sure every American has access to quality health care.

It's so over

From the NY Times:  

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' allies on Capitol Hill grew scarce Tuesday as he left it largely to aides to carry out President Bush's order to straighten out the story behind the firing of eight federal prosecutors.

Senate Republicans exiting their weekly policy lunch no longer bothered to defend Gonzales' response to lawmakers' questions about the firings. At most, they mustered an appeal to withhold judgment until the attorney general testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee April 17.

That was Sen. Arlen Specter's message during the closed-door meeting, according to three senators who were present.

''Senator Specter today said to give (Gonzales) a fair chance,'' said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., a staunch White House ally who lunched with Gonzales last week. ''I think people are trying to do that. But there are some inconsistent stories (Gonzales) is going to have to explain.''

Among them: Why Gonzales said at a March 13 news conference that he ''never saw documents'' and ''never had a discussion'' about the firings. His schedule for last Nov. 27 showed he participated in an hourlong meeting and approved a detailed plan on the dismissals 10 days before they were carried out.

Gonzales has maintained he was not closely involved in the firings, and did not help select which prosecutors would be told to resign. He added during a trip to the Midwest on Tuesday that he directed DOJ's release of 3,000 documents on Friday relating to the firings, and requested two internal investigations of the matter.

''I look forward to working with Congress. I believe in truth and accountability,'' he said. ''Everything I've done in connection with this matter supports that principle.''

Still, defending Gonzales became more difficult with Monday's refusal by his counsel, Monica Goodling, to testify before the Judiciary Committee with other Justice officials involved in the firings, as the attorney general had promised. She said statements by Democrats indicate they have already concluded wrongdoing on the part of Justice officials, including her.

Specter empathized.

''I can understand the sense of a potential witness not wanting to be ensnared in that kind of a proceeding where conclusions have already been reached,'' Specter, R-Pa., said Tuesday on the Senate floor.

Goodling's announcement, some senior Republicans felt, strengthened the Democrats' charge that the Justice Department had something to hide.

All of which added up to scandal fatigue inside the caucus, the senators said.

Specter's appeal to the caucus received ''a lot of head shaking, a lot of eye-rolling,'' said one senator who attended and spoke on condition of anonymity because the session was private.

Asked Tuesday if Gonzales had lost their confidence, many Senate Republicans demurred. Sen. John McCain's response was typical.

''He has my confidence that I think he ought to make his case,'' said the Arizona Republican, who also is running for president.....

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