Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama Speech (Briefly) Touches on Immigration

Obamabarack Senator Barack Obama, in a speech before more than 80,000 people last night, accepted the Democratic Presidential nomination.  Here is his brief reference to immigration:   

"You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. But this, too, is part of America's promise -- the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort."

Any thoughts from our readers?


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Well, the man certainly knows how to equivocate. Perhaps he is saying that he thinks that we could possibly find a way to solve the problems of immigration through CIR, but please don't pin him down. That's why most people thought that he said most of the right things in the recent Rev. Warren interview, but still lost to McCain that day. At least with McCain, you know where he stands, as politicians go, anyway. Obama is on the right side of just about everything, but, for fear of offending anyone, he tends to disappoint almost everyone. At least, that's how he comes off on the topic of immigration reform, or at least I think so, but please don't pin me down.

Posted by: Robert Gittelson | Aug 29, 2008 6:13:42 AM

Good analysis, Git. I wouldn't get my hopes up on any issue with this guy. The true believers insist (hope?) he really stands for something, he's just being mum/equivocal/flip flopping until he's elected. Well, when people like that get elected, the first thing which tends to be on their mind is re-election--the maneuvering never stops. Obama made a specific time pledge on CIR but I've already heard skepticism from some immigration watchers like Gordon Hanson. Personally, I suspect he's philosophically pretty globalist/open borders but would act with political expedience and thus may or may not deliver to the immigration 'stakeholders'. Interestingly, a lot of assumptions were made about him at Harvard Law Review and he apparently delivered nothing to ticked off minority interests. They thought he'd be an agent of change and were sorely disappointed.

The last CIR bill polled in the low twenties and was perceived as a major defeat for Pres. Bush. A loss could change the trajectory of your presidency. Obama used to play poker and CIR is a pretty high stakes political game for a seemingly cautious pol. Does he really want to go 'all in' early in his first term? Do the Democrats if they already have a majority in both houses? The thinking could be 'If we already have what they want, why take the risk?'

Example: Rahm Emanuel has a 100% liberalization voting record on the issue but was quoted by Juan Salgado as saying 'Congressman Rahm Emanuel said to me two weeks ago, there is no way this legislation is happening in the Democratic House, in the Democratic Senate, in the Democratic presidency, in the first term.' If he still thinks that way, would Obama push? Maybe, but his history suggests that's far from a sure thing.

Finally, who will be demanding CIR? He might assume even if he stalls he already has these people in his pocket based on the D before his name. For the rest of the country, what are they going to think if he puts immigration ahead of the less specialized issues which dominate the polls? After saying virtually nothing about it? As a domestic issue, I doubt it would go over well if we are still in an economic slowdown or perceived state of weakness.

Posted by: Jack | Aug 29, 2008 5:30:52 PM

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