It’s been a busy New Year for News and this morning is no exception.
The story is like the start of a Law and Order episode. A woman flags a car down to say she’s been kidnapped…taken from her home in Storm Lake and brought to a home in Early. The Sheriff arrests the guy who allegedly kidnapped her and as they investigate the house where she’d been held, they found the body of another woman. Obviously there is a much more involved story here but what it is and how all of these things are related will only come to light as the investigation unfolds.
As I watch the story about the Secretary of State’s plan to check voter rolls for people who aren’t citizens, I have a couple of thoughts.
First, and this is important, I agree with the people who say this is a manufactured problem brought up for political gain. Matt Schultz can say what he wants…I’m sure he’s not a racist, he’s a politician and this kind of thing will play well with a portion of the people he needs to get re-elected. It’s as simple as that. Even if he never sees the voter rolls or find one illegal voter, Schultz can now say he tried. He can say he’s tough on those illegals…
Color me unimpressed
That said, I have about as much disdain for the group of professional protesters who showed up to voice their outrage about the investigation that isn’t. We ran a sound bite from a Latina who said it best…no illegal immigrant is going to offer up their name and address for the Government to come find them. There is no massive conspiracy to put Democrats over the top with the votes of Illegal Immigrants. Iowa’s Latino population is being targeted here and if anyone had a beef to talk about yesterday it was the Latino Community.
But, you also saw the older white guy who said he was “scared” to go to the polls? Really? Filling the room with Teddy Bears and playing Yanni over loudspeakers would actually make my polling station MORE intimidating. There is NOTHING scary about voting. And before you say, “yeah but that’s because you’re a white man”; consider that half of the poll workers were people of color at my polling station. There were welcoming faces for people of all ethnicities.
My point is that just like Schultz’s investigation, these protesters are there to score political points, not because of some altruistic motive. They don’t like Republicans, especially Schultz. These aren’t Citizen action groups, they are Democratic Party Action Groups. They are silent when a Democrat mis-steps. They make it out to be Watergate when a Republican does something silly.
Voting is your right. If you are a legal Citizen there is literally NOTHING that can stop you from voting. In Iowa, even if someone challenges your right to be there, you can cast a provisional ballot. They can investigate, make sure you are supposed to vote and then count the vote as they normally would. We’ve got a good system…let people know how good it is so more of them get out and vote and stop wasting time on a barrage of silliness from both parties.
Two news pieces about Iowa’s Junior Senator caught my eye.
First the AP story about Sen Harkin’s wife Ruth and her effort to get the Board of Regents to vote on creating an institute in her Husband’s name at Iowa State. Here’s the bottom line for me: I don’t think anyone did anything illegal here but this is why we wait until someone has passed away before we rename things in their honor. No matter how pure your motives are…it looks like you’re trying to set up a place where people can go study how wise you are. How about we let history decide that?
If I were a US Senator and this all came out, I would pull my name from any effort to build a center in my name, I would give back the money already pledged to such a place, I would redouble efforts to support Iowa State’s already prestigious Center for Agriculture and Rural Development and then I would recuse myself from any vote in Congress that had anything to do with the Korean Company that had donated to the Center and then lobbied Congress.
That’s just me.
Sen Harkin is also trying to get the rules of the Senate changed so it’s harder to filibuster. I’d like to see them bring back the rules that say a Senator actually has to stand there and talk the entire time if they want to hold something up. Can you imagine the Media coverage if they did? I read a blog from a Professor of Constitutional History this morning who said the intent of the filibuster was never to stop legislation…merely slow the process so there could be more debate. Harkin is right in his sentiment that the majority should be able to pass legislation in each house of Congress. The minority should not be able to stop the process entirely. If the American people don’t like a vote, they can elect new Senators.
As a side note if you want to know the origin of the word Filibuster…here’s a segment from NPR:
The term first appeared in the English language in 1591, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The word was then `flee-booters.’ Its origins are probably Dutch, with some Spanish and French influences.
NORRIS: In the 17th century, flee-booters raided the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean and earned a bad reputation. They were also called buccaneers and freebooters. The stuff these flee-booters stole was called booty.
BLOCK: Eventually an extra syllable wormed its way into the word, and flee-booters became filibusters. It also took on political meaning in the 1850s. Filibusters were people from the United States who traveled to Central America and the Spanish West Indies in order to illegally encourage revolutions.
NORRIS: The Oxford English Dictionary says the first time a legislator was called a filibuster to accuse him of being an obstructionist was in 1889.
BLOCK: And the next year, 1890, was the first usage of the word `filibuster’ to mean the tactic of talking for a long time to obstruct Senate business. Filibustering senators were, by extension, pirates raiding the Congress for their own political gain.
As always I welcome your opinion on these and other subjects…