NDN Blog

Republican Brand Dropping...since 2002

A new poll from the Pew Research Center for People and the Press shows that the number of Americans identifying with the Republican party has dropped steadily since 2002, when the the two parties were even in voter allegience.  Democrats now lead 50% - 35%. 

"Iraq has played a large part; the pushback on the Republican Party has to do with Bush, but there are other things going on here that Republicans will have to contend with," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center. "There is a difference in the landscape."

Read more about the poll...

Read the NDN memo "The End of the Conservative Ascendency"

NDN Endorses the STRIVE (Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy) Act of 2007

NDN, a progressive think tank and advocacy organization, today issued the following statement in support of The STRIVE (Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy) Act of 2007, which was introduced this morning.

Joe Garcia, Director of NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center said, “The introduction of the STRIVE Act of 2007 is a significant step towards passing comprehensive immigration reform this year, and NDN strongly endorses it.  We applaud the continued leadership of Congressman Luis Gutierrez on this important issue.

We look forward to working with Congressman Gutierrez, Senator Edward Kennedy, and their bipartisan allies in Congress like Congressman Jeff Flake and Senator John McCain; the White House; and other immigration reform coalition members to pass the STRIVE Act in this Congress.

NDN has championed comprehensive immigration reform since 2005.  We believe it is the best solution to one of the great governing challenges of our time: reforming our broken immigration system. This support places NDN in a remarkable and diverse coalition that includes labor, business, religious and immigration groups."

For more information about NDN’s work on comprehensive immigration reform, please refer to the following links:

NDN Advocacy: A Responsible Immigration Policy
NDN Bicameral Event on Comprehensive Immigration Reform (March, 2007)
NDN Forum on Immigration and the Latino Vote (November, 2006)

New Census Numbers!

I spent a little time this morning looking at the 2006 census numbers that were just released, and they were, dare I say it, pretty exciting.  Exciting, because they strongly support the demographics arguments NDN has been making, by showing that the fastest growing states are by and large concentrated in the Southwest and have the highest percentage of Hispanics relative to total population.  Three important conclusions:

  • The two fastest growing states between July 2000 and July 2006 were Nevada and Arizona, fourth and fifth respectively in Hispanics as a percentage of population.  Nevada's population increased by 24.9% and Arizona's by 20.2%.  That compares to a national average of 4.7% population growth.
  • The seven states with the highest percentage of Hispanics relative to total population (New Mexico, California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Florida) make up seven of the top fifteen fastest growing states and five of the top eight.
  • Those seven states, mentioned above, grew by an average of 13.8% between July 2000 and July 2006.  The average growth for the rest of the country over the same period was 4.7%.  That means that these states, where Hispanics comprise 16.8% to 42.1% of the population, are growing three times as fast as the rest of the country.

Menendez responds to President's trip to Latin America

Yesterday, Senator Bob Menendez gave a response to the President's trip to Latin America. As the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Development, the Senator highlighted his ideas on how the US can engage Latin America with an increase in funding development programs. Specifically, he detailed his Social Investment and Economic Development Fund for the Americas. You can read more in the press release here.

"I would ask you to walk through that fire." - Al Gore testifying before Congress today

Awesome.  The room is so quiet you could hear a pin drop.  If Al Gore is a rock star, this is the power ballad at the end of the concert.  I think Ed Markey is holding a lighter...

NDN Endorses U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Health, and Iraq Accountability Act

NDN, a progressive think tank and advocacy organization, today issued the following statement in support for the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, scheduled for a vote on the House floor tomorrow.
 
As the war in Iraq enters its fifth year, it now clear that President Bush’s strategy to bring democracy and stability to the Middle East is not working.  The centerpiece of that strategy, the war in and the occupation of Iraq has cost our nation American lives, money and prestige, and left the region more volatile and dangerous than before.  Our nation, and the world are less safe as a result.
 
NDN believes that the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, scheduled for a full House vote tomorrow, offers a better path forward, and we endorse its passage.
 

Ethical earmarking?

The New York Times has an interesting article on the decisions surrounding newly-elected Rep. (and longtime friend of NDN) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), as her office decides which projects get earmark appropriations.

Politics and Justice

Was it all political? Were Rove and co trying to put political operatives into these 8 positions to help their 2008 electoral chances?  It certainly seems from all the stories that this was all about politics, and about better using these powerful offices as they did in New Jersey in 2006, to go after the Democrats and weaken their position in the 2008 elections. 

So assuming this was all political, and not based on performance, lets take a look at what could be driving these picks. 

The 4 in the Southwest - The immigration debate has significantly weakened the Republican brand with Hispanics, making the greatest new threat to their 2008 chances the four heavily Hispanic states in the Southwest, AZ, CO, NM and NV.  If you take the Gore/Kerry states and add these four, all of which have been won by Democrats in recent years, Democrats win the Presidency.  Looking to 2008 Republicans will have to defend there weakened position in these 4 states with everything they have - and amazingly, 4 of the 8 fired US Attorneys came from these critical battleground states.   We also know of the remarkable efforts by Senators Dominici and Rep. Wilson in NM to use the post for shortterm partisan gain in 2006. 

Carol Lam - A year ago the greatest threat to the Republican Majority were not the Democrats, but career prosecutors in DoJ's Office of Public Integrity and US Attorneys who were taking down errant GOPers for their historic and rampant corruption and betrayal of the public trust.  No prosecutor had done more to damage the Republicans than the San Diego US Attorney, Carol Lam, who secured the longest jail sentence for a sitting US Congressman in history, was moving against the #3 in the CIA and reportedly was also looking at what may end up being the greatest of all the corruption scandals, Cong. Jerry Lewis's handling of the earmark process (something he has already spent more than a $1m defending against).  Lam was a huge threat to the GOP and needed to be removed.  She was. 

Arkansas - Perhaps the most brazen move.  The White House actually tried to put a Rove political deputy in as US Attorney in the home state of the Clintons, and what could be a pivotal battleground in 2008. 

San Francisco - Speaker Pelosi. 

Washington - Punishment for not moving more aggressively on the 2006 Guberatorial recount.  Sends a signal to the remaining 90 plus US Attorneys and career prosecutors in DC. 

Michigan - Not sure.  Perhaps a diversity pick.   A core 2008 battleground nonetheless with Romney as possible GOP nominee. 

Given the "rules don't apply to us" worldview of the Bush era, it is not a great leap to believe that the White House decided to use these slots to stack the deck for 2008, remove their greatest prosecutorial threat, and punish folks who had not played ball in using these offices for partisan means.  Given how highly political all this was, and that Rove had already in 2002 helped remove a US Attorney in Guam who was going after Jack Abramoff, it is not believable that Rove, the political boss of this era, was not directly involved, if not supervising the whole campaign.   

No wonder Bush doesnt want his team to testify under oath. 

Rove, Miers to Testify, Kind Of

Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) told members of the media that White House Counsel Fred Fielding and the chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees had agreed to have Karl Rove and Harriet Miers meet with the committees about the US Attorneys scandal, without resorting to a subpoena.  Unfortunately, it looks like they will not be under oath, the meetings will be closed to the public and there will be no testimony.  Sounds like fodder for Bob Woodward's next book. 

Meanwhile President Bush is making a statement on the scandal at 5:45pm tonight.

Big Business to Senate Finance Committee: Invest More in Education

That was the message Accenture CEO William Green (with a name like that you pretty much have to be a CEO) brought to Congress in his testimony today.  He told the Senate Finance Committee about his own experience at a junior college outside Boston:

“I am a shameless advocate for junior and community colleges because I am an example of what they can accomplish.  There is no doubt that my two years at Dean College not only prepared me for advancing my education and gearing up for a career, but also transformed me as a person. Our nation’s network of junior and community colleges can produce these results. I am living proof.“  

Green also talked about the need to make higher education more affordable by making all education expenses tax deductable, not just tuition, and re-doubling our efforts to teach math and science:

“To build a truly competitive workforce, every company needs people who know how to learn; people with skills in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving and communications; and people who have ambition and self confidence. In essence, we need people who are great raw material.”

Greeen closed by asking Congress to reform the H-1B visa process for foreign-born, highly educated workers.  Hopefully, as head of the Business Roundtable’s Education and the Workforce Task Force Green will agree that there is no seperating H-1B visa reform from the broader issue of comprehensive immigration reform, and that it is time for the business community to join the broad coalition supporting its passage. 

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