Thursday, June 28, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #63 - Part 1

Clarabell Award: Tyranny is as tyranny does

It's beginning to look like the Clarabell Award, given for particularly clownish words or actions, is going to be a regular feature here on Left Side of the Aisle. It wasn't intended to be, it was intended to be something done just occasionally as need be - but it's turning out that there are just too many clowns out there.

I'll start, however, by noting that last week's recipient, Eric Hovde, a GOPper senatorial wannabe in Wisconsin, was honored for his statement that he wanted the media to stop publishing what he called "sob stories" about people struggling in the recession and focus on the deficit. This week he confirmed that he deserved the award by calling Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the presumptive Democratic nominee for that Senate seat, a "communist."

He's not the only GOPper to toss around the term without the slightest clue of what it actually means; recall, for example, when Rep. Allen West claimed about 80 Democrats in the House are Communist Party members.

I admit to having the same reaction to Hovde as I did to West: "Communist? Just what decade are you living in?"

But turning to this week, our dishonoree is Rep. Joe "You lie!" Walsh. There is this bill called the DREAM Act, which provides a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children, have grown up here, identify culturally and politically as Americans, and who meet certain standards and requirements. The bill has been introduced in every Congress since 2001 - and has been blocked every time. Bluntly, I find the idea that this simple, humane bill could even be controversial both astonishing - remember, it applies to people who think of themselves as Americans but who just aren't citizens - and as proof of how much of our immigration debate is being driven by racist xenophobia.

In August 2011, the Obama administration announced that it was going to use "prosecutorial discretion" in dealing with deportations. Put simply, the federal government was going to decline to pursue deportation proceedings against undocumented immigrants who would've been eligible under the DREAM Act had it passed. Recently, the White House announced it was going to continue this policy for two more years.

And the right wing, either not knowing or just not caring that this had been the policy for the past 10 months, went totally berserk. And this is where Joey-boy enters the story. Now, note clearly: Prosecutors have discretion to determine where they are going to focus their energies, discretion to decide which cases to pursue and which to let slide. There is absolutely no question but that what the White House has done is legal and within the DOJs legal powers. Whether you approve of the decision or not - and I do approve - is totally irrelevant. It is legal. Period.

So what does Joe Washed-up do? He goes to a town hall event and says Obama is a "tyrant. I don't know what else you call him." He is a tyrant, that is, for using his unquestionably-legal powers to do the right thing.

A Washed-up campaign representative named Christian Morgan said "Joe calls them as he sees them."

Yeah? So did Mr. Magoo, you clown. You and your boss both.


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