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Posts Tagged ‘Arizona Immigration Law’



Hasta la Vista GOP, or Why Cesar Chavez Lives On

Monday, March 28th, 2011

As a union organizer, Cesar Chavez, whose birthday we commemorate today, was no friend of immigrants who slipped across the border illegally to provide cheap labor in the fields of California that undercut the drive for living wages for farm workers.

Hell, the United Farm Workers was known to have reported illegal strike-breakers to “la migra,” and in 1973, they set up a “wet line” (imagine the outrage if anyone else had used the term) along the US-Mexico border to stop immigrants from sneaking into the country illegally and undermining the UFW’s work organizing field hands.

But Chavez – especially in his later years — was a strong proponent of allowing illegal immigrants living and working here to become legalized, and today would surely be fighting for a path to citizenship, as his granddaughter, Dr. Cynthia Chavez, made clear in a TV ad for Jerry Brown during the 2010 governor’s race.

Which makes today the perfect opportunity to focus on an issue that Calbuzz has hammered on repeatedly – the need for California Republicans to support a path to citizenship for illegal and undocumented workers. Not because it’s the right and decent thing to do – never a powerful argument with the knuckle-dragging wing of the GOP — but because it’s a matter of their party’s political survival.

Failure to communicate: Don’t take our word for it. Some of the smartest Republicans around make the case. “A pathway to citizenship for those who have entered the country illegally is the most important element of immigration reform for Latino voters,” wrote Marty Wilson and Bob Moore, after a recent Moore Information survey of Latino voters in California.

According to the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California, about nine in 10 Latinos (86%) favor giving illegal immigrants “a chance to keep their jobs and eventually apply for legal status.” That’s a position shared by 68% of Democrats and 62% of independents but just 41% of Republicans.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. And the political effects are profound.

“Latino voters are widely negative about the Republican Party (26% favorable/47% unfavorable/27% no opinion) and widely positive about the Democrat[ic] Party (62/22/17),” Wilson and Moore wrote. Nor is the GOP “going to win many Latino voters by stressing conservatism; only 22% suggest that Republicans should, ‘stick to core values and nominate true Conservatives.’

Fully a third of Latino voters say they will never vote for a Republican although another third would consider GOP candidates if “Republicans move toward the center and nominate candidates who are less conservative.”

The big picture: To appreciate the magnitude of the challenge for the Republicans in California, it helps to understand first the national context.

During the past decade, the Latino population in the U.S. grew 43 times faster than the non-Hispanic white population, the Census Bureau reported last week. Between 2000 and 2010 the U.S. Hispanic population grew 43%, to 50.5 million from 35.3 million. Latinos’ share of the total population rose to 16% from 13% — accounting for more than half the total U.S. population growth in the decade.

At the same time, Census Bureau officials reported, the non-Hispanic white population grew by barely more than 1 percent, dropping as a portion of the total from to 64% from 69%.

“The states with the largest percent growth in their Hispanic populations include nine where the Latino population more than doubled, including a swath in the southeast United States – Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina. The Hispanic population also more than doubled in Maryland and South Dakota,” reports the Pew Hispanic Center in an analysis of the Census Bureau report.

“In six states, growth in the Hispanic population accounted for all of those states’ population growth; if the Hispanic population had not grown, those states would not have grown,” Pew added. “They included Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. In Michigan, the state population declined over the decade but the Hispanic population grew.”

No place to hide: While Latinos in Florida, New York, Illinois and California cannot be viewed as a monolithic voting bloc – voters of Cuban, Puerto Rican, Haitian and Mexican ancestry, for example, cannot be easily categorized politically – surveys consistently find a common thread is a belief that there ought to be a mechanism for allowing illegal immigrants to become legal residents and/or full citizens.

And with the continued growth of Hispanics, red states are becoming less reliable safe harbors for Republicans (consider Nevada, for example) and so too are formerly “safe” Republican districts in California.

“Increasingly for California Republicans, there’s no place to run, no place to hide,” said Democratic consultant Garry South who, with former Republican state Sen. Jim Brulte, recently analyzed the changing electoral landscape for their partners at California Strategies.

“The demographics are moving so heavily against them, it’s becoming very difficult to maintain a meaningful number of completely safe GOP seats almost anywhere.

“Most of the huge Latino growth between 2000 and 2010 was in inland areas normally considered Republican, not along the coast,” South said “And Asians grew by even more than Latinos. Together, Latinos and Asian Americans now constitute an absolute majority of Californians. Republicans are getting on average about 30-35 percent of their votes. Do the math.”

Said South and Brulte in their analysis:

Based upon the historical standard of “safe” verses “competitive” districts, there will likely be a few more competitive legislative and congressional districts. That said, given that the top two vote getters regardless of political party run off in the November general election, the historical notion of “safe” districts now no longer applies.

 

While many GOP legislators, donors and activists, believe a “fair” redistricting presents a great opportunity, there is also a huge potential downside risk for the GOP as well. If the Democratic Party’s consistently overwhelming financial advantage is not countered at the legislative level, it is possible that Democrats [will] obtain a two-thirds majority in one or both houses of the state Legislature in 2012.

 

The GOP has not experienced a net pick up of legislative seats in a presidential election since 1984.

The Elephants’ elephant: In their analysis of Latino voters, Wilson and Moore call immigration “the elephant in the GOP living room.” The Arizona immigration law is widely unpopular among Latino voters, immigration reform is widely popular and Democrats are more likely than Republicans to be trusted, by a ratio 0f 57-21%, to reform immigration laws.

And the central issue is a pathway to citizenship.

Why is it so hard for Republicans to move on this issue? Because – partly in fear of an influx of Democratic-leaning voters – they’ve spent years railing against illegal immigration and appealing to the most nativistic and xenophobic impulses of their base voters. Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman – who otherwise might have been quite moderate on the issue – tacked so far right on immigration they made themselves pariahs among Latino voters in the 2010 governor’s race.

Even Mike Murphy, who made a bloody fortune leading Whitman’s disastrous 2010 campaign for governor, seems to have gotten the point. The GOP is saddled with a “base-driven strategy that has injected red-hot rhetoric into our party’s message on immigration” he told the Washington Post. “Primary politics have made the situation even worse,” Murphy said, suggesting as Chris Cillizza reported,  that GOP opposition to some sort of path toward legalization is a “non-starter” for Hispanic voters. No duh.

Wilson and Moore tested one message they believe can help the GOP find greater favor among Latinos. “A candidate who says, ‘secure the border first, stop illegal immigration, then find a way to address the status of people already here illegally’ gets a favorable reaction from 73%,” they found.

Others have suggested the GOP could favor legal residency, but not full citizenship with the right to vote, for undocumented workers. Still others say if an illegal immigrant serves in the U.S. military or graduates from college, he or she ought to be able to become a citizen.

How the keepers of the John Tanton anti-immigrant flame in California would react to a movement within the California Republican Party (or by a statewide GOP candidate) toward a more moderate line on immigration is, sadly, predictable. The phrase “head on a stick” comes to mind.

“I don’t think a Republican candidate can win on this issue either way in California,” said South “If they support a path to citizenship, they enrage and alienate their lily-white base. If they oppose it or try to straddle the issue, they just become the typical anti-immigrant Republican who wants to deport every Latino back to Mexico. They’re fucked. Hee, hee.”

Happy Cesar Chavez Day!

Meg Hit on Radio; Gay Marriage No Big in Gov Race

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

You gotta give Meg Whitman credit for sitting down in the studio Wednesday with Calbuzz’s favorite Neanderthal radio yakkers – John Kobylt  and Ken Chiampou of KFI-AM in LA – and trying to explain all the contradictions in her positions on immigration and climate change. She couldn’t of course, and J&K – whose web site screamed “Nutmeg in Studio”– were down her throat, in her face and on her case for 30 sizzling minutes.

What they did that few have been able to do is push Meg into answering some simple questions like: Are you for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants?

Why is this much of a question? Well, first you have to go back to October 28, 2009, when Meg was filmed at the Mexican border – a visit she often brags about – saying “Can we get a fair program where people stand at the back of the line, they pay a fine?” (According to the San Diego Union Tribune Whitman’s sentence concluded “. . .  they pay a fine, they do some things that would ultimately allow a path to legalization?”)

But on the radio Wednesday, her answer was: “I am not for a path to citizenship.”  When J&K argued (wrongly we believe) that millions of jobs held by illegal aliens should go to Americans, Meg’s response: “I agree with that.”  And she flatly agreed with the notion that no one should get citizenship unless they leave the country and apply through the process.

If there was ANY question about her position in her Spanish-language advertising or op-eds, it should now be clear. Meg Whitman is flatly opposed to allowing immigrants here without proper documentation to become U.S. citizens.

She said she’d use the eVerify system to hold employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants, but only after eVerify is working better than its current 90% accuracy rate. Which caused J&K to go batshit!

Over and over again, Meg would start a sentence: So, here’s what I would do . . . So, this is what I think, So what I have said . . . So, So, So, So . . . AARRGGHHHHHH! Of course J&K cut her off about 90% of the time, confronting her from the right – getting her to agree, for example, that she would “make sure” Americans get those jobs that illegal immigrants are taking away from our out-of-work citizens. (As if those unemployed citizens would EVER take those vital service jobs that undocumented workers do for our society. See “A Day Without a Mexican.” )

J&K also jammed Meg for saying she’s opposed to the Arizona stop-for-papers immigration law but that she’d let it stand for Arizona. Why shouldn’t California have a law just like Arizona’s?, they wanted to know. What’s wrong with it? (Something about different geography was all they could get.)

How could she be saying she wants Latino children to have the opportunity to become doctors and lawyers when she doesn’t want them all – i.e. including illegals – to be able to go to state schools?

And then they came to Prop. 23 – the measure that would suspend California’s pioneering climate chance change law. As Calbuzz predicted, Whitman suggested that she will likely vote ‘No” on Prop. 23, even though she has called the measure it would suspend a “job killer.”

Whitman is trying to say she would suspend the law for a year, but when pressed by J&K about the one-year suspension, she was quick to note that it could be suspended for three years. And in an interview earlier this year with the Ventura County Star, Whitman suggested she would jettison the law altogether. The Brown campaign was on this like stink on a skunk.

We suppose eMeg’s people sent her onto J&K to try to do some damage control with their right-wing audience, but judging from the listeners we heard right after her appearance, we’re not sure it worked. She was called a “two-faced lying weasel,” “wishy-washy . . . bought her way into the election,” and an “absolute two-faced liar.”

So, what we have to say about that is . . .The reason these issues matter is because: 1) Whitman is desperate to win a third or more of Latino voters but her stand today seriously endangers that effort IF Latino voters hear what she said today — which will depend on whether Jerry Brown and/or his allies drive that message home and 2) Whitman is trying to wiggle her way away from her strategic blunder in the GOP primary where she ripped AB 32 when she didn’t have to and on this issue Brown seems intent on making sure that moderate and independent voters know that Whitman is not on their side on the environment.

Gay blades not out on Prop. 8 ruling: Even though Brown and  Whitman are on opposite sides of the gay marriage debate, don’t look for the issue to gain much traction in the campaign for governor.

As a legal matter, Judge Vaughn Walker’s opinion declaring the Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional re-ignites the controversy in California, and across the nation. At first glance, with the decision headed for a likely long appeals process, there is no immediate political venue for the controversy to play out in a major way in the 2010 state campaigns.

If there is any advantage to be gained, it would be modest, and likely accrue to Brown’s benefit. As Attorney General, he refused to defend Prop. 8, both before the state Supreme Court and before U.S. District Judge Walker, and might get a small boost from the Democratic base among liberals and gay rights advocates in an election in which turnout will be crucial.

Whitman has consistently said she is opposed to gay marriage, and has quietly expressed support for Prop. 8, but is unlikely to gin up much excitement among evangelicals and other Republican social conservatives for her understated views, particularly given her pro-choice position on abortion, and her effort to run hard to the center in the general election.

It was clear from the bland statements issued by both candidates after Wednesday’s ruling that neither side sees vast political opportunity, at least for now.

Brown’s campaign flack referred questions about his reaction to the attorney general’s office, which released this brief comment from the AG:

In striking down Proposition 8, Judge Walker came to the same conclusion I did when I declined to defend it: Proposition 8 violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry, without a sufficient governmental interest.

Candidate Krusty was somewhat livelier on Twitter:

It’s official! Great News for California! California gay marriage ban overturned!

Then wife Anne tweeted:

I’m proud my husband worked so hard to protect marriage for others, even though it took him 15 years to pop the question to me :-)

eMeg’s comment, made by Darrel Ng, Team Whitman’s Third Mate Under Assistant Vice President Deputy Flack for Issues the Volcanic Sarah Pompei Doesn’t Want to Deal With:

Meg supported Proposition 8 and believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Meg also strongly supports California’s civil union laws. Today’s ruling is the first step in a process that will continue.

“The first step in a process that will continue?”

Sort of like ordering breakfast, or brushing your teeth, or driving on the freeway or . . . everything… How cosmic of you, Darrel!

P.S. Over in the Senate race, where the issue might prove more salient, Babs and Hurricane Carly are also split.

Two Weeks to Go: Calderon Meets Condoleezza

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Two weeks before the June 8 primary election, the fight for the Republican nomination for governor has come down to this: Raising Arizona vs. Big Love.

As Meg Whitman rolled out a new ad, featuring her Mormon mentor Mitt Romney and a cast of thousands attesting to her conservative bona fides, Steve Poizner doubled down with his own spot, whacking his rival for not backing The Grand Canyon State’s illegal immigration crackdown law.

After more than a year of campaigning, and in excess of $100 million in collective spending, eMeg and The Commish have begun making their final arguments to GOP voters, each trying to define the election with the same basic message: I’m the true right-winger in this race.

Two moderate Republicans trying to tart themselves up as right-wingers, Her Megness and Poiz have both sought to expose their rival as a liberal-in-drag , pointing fingers and hurling mighty oaths at the other over  character – You’re a non-voting, Wall Street scumbag pornographer! No, you’re a partial birth abortion-loving, lying hypocrite! – and ideology – You’re a Jarvis-hating, solar panel-hugging union tool! No, you’re a tax-loving, smelt-smooching,  Van Jones fellow traveler!

Because both are hobbled in making their case to the right-wing voters who dominate Republican primaries in California by the lack of a long or consistent conservative record, it’s not surprising, as they enter the stretch run, that the latest ad for each rests on third-party validators – and invalidators – to establish movement authenticity cred.

Whitman’s latest ad takes the more direct approach.

She trots out a trio of iconic conservative Republicans to testify on her behalf. Mindful that Poizner has undermined her with his Goldman Sachs attacks, presidential wannabe Romney praises her “integrity,” while Condoleeza Rice lends her hard-line rep as George Bush’s National Security Advisor and Secretary of State to endorsing eMeg’s “values” and “strength” and Prop. 13 guru Jon Coupal blesses her as the “only one real fiscal conservative” who will protect taxpayers.

“Strong…fiscal conservative…leader,” the three say serially to end the spot.

Poizner takes an oppositional approach, employing anti-endorsements to send a message on immigration as a signifier of his conservative credentials.

Not since John C. Fremont opened a can of whupass on the forces of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna  has anyone taken a  bigger swing at Mexico: using a news clip of Felipe Calderon’s speech to Congress last week, during which he bashed the new Arizona law, the ad directly links Whitman and the Mexican president as backers of amnesty and anything-goes immigration policy on one side, and Poizner squarely on the other, as it builds on a previous spot connecting eMeg to the alleged policy of President Obama.

“Do you want a governor who has the same position on illegal immigration as the president of Mexico?” the announcer intones.

Messaging aside, three more key points:

1-From what we can glean, eMeg is still out-spending Poizner about 2-to-1 heading into the final days; he’s already got a decidedly uphill fight and, without forking out significantly more cash, it’s hard to see how he pulls it out.

2-Whatever else the ad war has accomplished, it’s a safe bet that it’s driven the negatives of both Republicans way up. We’ll know more after seeing the USC/LA Times and Field polls but we hear that favorability ratings among general election voters for Whitman and Poizner are both under water – about 3-to-4 negative – while Brown’s is up to about 5-to-3 in positive territory.

3-If that’s the case,  whoever wins the GOP nomination  may want to spend some time digging out of their negative favorability hole before attacking Brown. And that would be a huge relief to Krusty  who’s been able to save cash and political capital while  lambasting his GOP rivals as “apostles of ignorance and darkness.”

“ I don’t think they’re even healthy for the mind,” Brown said of the two ad campaigns last week. ” I think they’re contaminating the children who may see these things.”

Jerry’s Cash Cache

Back in the first week of May, when Calbuzz first reported on the California Democratic Party’s Goldman Sachs anti-Whitman TV ad masquerading as an “issues ad,” we had what we thought was solid information from Democratic sources that the CDP’s initial buy – of just under $1 million – would be followed by a couple more weeks.

Since Attorney General Jerry Brown had raised the money for the CPD’s ad buy, it made sense that the ad would keep running for a while in hopes of weakening Whitman’s favorability among Democrats, independents and perhaps even some Republicans. (BTW, it was when we tried to discuss this with CDP Chairman John Burton that he said fuck you told us to go fuck ourselves.)

Well, something happened that our sources didn’t anticipate: with the CPD ad in the mix while Steve Poizner was unloading ads on Whitman about Goldman Sachs, illegal immigration and her voting record, eMeg’s favorability ratings got so bad so fast, Krusty the General Brown – a renowned cheapskate – decided he didn’t need to spend all that money on the Goldman ad.

Which is where the $2.25 million came from that Brown received on Friday from the California Democratic Party. Which is part of the reason we won’t be too surprised if, when Brown’s next money report is filed, he has about $20 million on hand.

Stupid Poll Tricks

Remember when we mentioned that the Survey USA poll on May 10 that found Whitman with a mere 2-point lead over Poizner was most likely a pile of horse manure? Well lo and behold, Survey USA, with its fancy schmancy robotic pre-recorded calls, now says Whitman leads 54-27. Of course, there’s no explanation why Poizner would have dropped 10 points or why Whitman would have picked up 15. But who cares? It’s all just numbers, right?

The Daily Kos poll, by Research 2000, which has Whitman leading Poizner 46-36%, sounds more sound to us.

Get a room, willya?: Mickey Kaus, the blogosphere’s favorite son candidate for U.S. Senate, wants Barbara Boxer to meet him at the Holiday Inn.

New Whitman Ad: The Three Faces of eMeg

Monday, May 17th, 2010

In the hours since Meg Whitman released a bizarre new ad Friday, Calbuzz has been hunkered down in our darkened media room, playing and replaying the 60-second spot in slow-mo, stop motion and mute, deconstructing the thing with the same painstaking care we devoted to Blowup and the Zapruder film.

Unshaven and unshowered, fueling our round-the-clock labors with Cheez Whiz nachos and Team Gulp cups of 7-11 coffee, we’ve been desperately driven to answer one key question about the ad:

Huh?

The new spot marks a radical and utterly random departure for the eMeg marketing team, which previously was characterized by a confident, consistent and tightly focused message discipline.  Now, “Tough Business” suddenly lurches into unfamiliar, dangerous territory, like a drunken Rotary Club conventioneer stumbling after midnight into the Tenderloin district.

The ad presents to viewers a cue card-reading version of eMeg, who recites a whiny and rambling, if not incoherent, script.

Second-by-second, her expressions change and twitch – eyes narrowed in anger, brows lifted in self pity, mouth widened in rictus grin – a painful exercise that recalls nothing so much as the thespian exertions of Joanne Woodward in “The Three Faces of Eve.”

White-lettered talking point phrases swiftly unfurl and then disappear from the screen, like shards of Power Point on speed; the pastoral, Cezanne-like still life of pink roses, three oranges and a cozy coffee cup behind her is suddenly replaced by a discordant, grainy noir image of a border fence running to the ocean.

Beyond the uneven tone and whiplash aesthetics of the spot, however, what’s most curious is its insistent defensiveness, which appears aimed at answering in one swell foop every one of the countless attacks and charges that GOP rival Steve Poizner has hurled at her in the last six months.

To the extent it succeeds in that dubious goal, it seems to us that the ad does so solely on behalf of several hundred political junkies and paid campaign staffers, surely the only people in California familiar enough with the tit-for-tat warfare that’s unfolded to date to have enough background to follow the damn thing.

A couple of key points from the text:

1-“Sacramento politicians like Jerry Brown and Steve Poizner are fighting me every step of the way because I’m running for governor to clean up the mess they’ve made.”

Putting aside the inherent illogic of equating Brown and Poizner, the linguistic construct at the start of the sentence is at least a game, ju-jitsu effort to defend against the dynamic in which Whitman is being simultaneously attacked from left and right.

But as she delivers the second half of her assertion, eMeg’s face displays a flash of frosty anger aimed at the very notion that the two are “fighting” her at all – How dare they? – that not only reflects her own sense of entitlement but also makes her sound like a low-rent nagging mom telling you to go clean your room.

2-“I strongly oppose Barbara Boxer…”

This is the real Dr. Irwin Corey moment (“nonsensical observations about anything under the sun, but seldom actually making sense”) of the ad, when eMeg suddenly beams herself up into the U.S. Senate race, 17 words after she mentions in passing that she’s running for governor, with nary a pause for breath, and apropos of nothing.

Clearly, her wild swing on Boxer is meant to knock down what Whitman’s handlers must be polling as one of Poizner’s more effective lines of attack. But coming out of nowhere, without context or foundation, all it will do is confuse any  ordinary voter who encounters the ad while surfing in search of a “Gray’s Anatomy” re-run , making him feel like he’s walked in in the middle of the movie.

3-“Absolutely no amnesty, period.”

About 20 percent of the 150 words of the ad are devoted to immigration, a bid to blunt and co-opt the Commish’s apparently effective embrace of a bash-the-immigrants line. We don’t recall eMeg previously vowing to send the national guard to the border, a Poizner applause line he was trying out as least as far back as an interview we did with him last fall.

And her professed no-amnesty certainty is a clear shift from what she said  at an appearance on the border last year, when she stated that illegal immigrants “should do some things that would ultimately allow a path to legalization.” (In defense of Whitman on this point, it seems plausible that at the time of her earlier statement, she was ill-informed about the power and importance of code words, like “amnesty” and “pathway to citizenship” in the immigration debate; that was essentially the argument she made at the Republican state convention in March, when SacBee political writer Jack Chang pressed her at a presser about her quote and whether it represented an endorsement of amnesty).

As much as eMeg tries to muddy the waters on immigration, however, Poizner’s support for the Arizona immigration law, which he endorsed at last month’s big San Jose debate, just 48 hours after he said he opposed it, is now a sharp point of differentiation between the two that is working for him in appealing to conservative GOP primary voters.

Bottom line: eMeg’s new ad has a strong odor of desperation, and the look of a piece that was thrown together by committee on a tight deadline, a reflection of where things stand in the primary race with three weeks to go.

So different is it from the rest of her communications strategy that a rumor has spread on the internets that she has suddenly turned to the New York-based advertising firm BBDO to write it, a claim that eMeg’s mouthpiece, the volcanic Sarah Pompei, flatly denied.

“This is the musings (cq) of an internet gadfly,” she said.

From an undisclosed location: Big Dick Cheney’s endorsement of eMeg, in a Sunday op-ed in the Orange County Register, is a nice little coup, and its timing suggests a determination by Team Whitman to regain control of the news cycle, in a week when at least one new big poll will offer fresh, independent evidence of whether and, if so, by how much Poizner has actually slashed eMeg’s once-commanding lead.