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Intelligencer: 22 - 28 Oct 2008
October 22, 2008
No Talk on Immigration
THERE was not a single question on immigration in any of the three (four if you include the VP one) presidential debates.
It was an incredible oversight if you consider that millions took to the streets, thousands of articles were written and congressional failure to pass immigration reform was a long running story these past couple of years.
Yet Iraq and the economy have come center stage and immigration has faded from view — but it hasn’t gone away, you know.
Senators John McCain and Barack Obama were probably just as happy that immigration was not discussed in the debates as both sides probably view it as a no win proposition. The rabid right have turned the undocumented into such stock figures of hate and prejudice that it has become almost impossible to have rational discussion on the topic.
Meanwhile, hate driven politicians such as Sheriff Joe Arappio in Arizona have tried to raise their profiles by conducting raids on the undocumented, replete with armed deputies and media cameras.
Arappio recently went after helpless janitors in downtown Phoenix in midnight raids that netted 13 very frightened janitors and allowed Arappio to claim a great victory in the fight against illegals.
Such pathetic posturing is what passes for immigration action in America today — a fact The New York Times pointed out in a scathing editorial about Arappio’s raids.
No doubt when either McCain or Obama are in the White House they will have an entirely new opportunity to deal with this thorniest of issues in a safe and humane way. At least that is all we can hope for.
Ethnics Rally to Obama
BETTER late than never, the Obama/Biden campaign is making a major effort to reach out to different ethnic communities in the weeks before voting day.
A press release from the campaign states, “The Obama-Biden campaign today welcomed the formation of a dozen European and Mediterranean American National Leadership Committees. These committees, comprised of prominent leaders from across the country — governors, senators, members of Congress, diplomats, labor leaders and others showcase the continued and growing support for Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”
Obama himself said, “I’m honored to receive the support of these European and Mediterranean Americans. As immigrants and the descendants of immigrants, European and Mediterranean Americans have a deep commitment to their families and their communities.
“And like all Americans, they want an economy that creates jobs and restores opportunity, a quality education for their children, affordable and accessible health care — the very promise that their children’s tomorrows will be better than their yesterdays. I am running for president to restore that promise and put the American dream within reach for them and for all Americans.”
The press release states that over 200 Americans from 12 different European or Mediterranean backgrounds have come together to endorse Obama.
The campaign has have formed 12 different national leadership committees, which are — Albanian Americans, Arab Americans, Armenian Americans, Croatian Americans, Greek Americans, Hungarian Americans, Irish Americans, Italian Americans, Polish Americans, Serb Americans, Slovenian Americans and Ukrainian Americans.
Some of the groups are just window dressing, but Arab Americans in Michigan, Polish Americans in Wisconsin, Irish Americans in Pennsylvania and Ohio and Italian Americans in several East Coast states all form an important voting group.
Overall the white ethnic voting blocks are critical components in key swing states.
Obama’s Irish Loyalists
SO how Irish would an Obama administration be? There would certainly be a few key figures who would have tremendous access to the candidate.
Depending on his health of course, Senator Edward Kennedy and his family, including Caroline Kennedy, would be in pole position given that the senator’s endorsement was probably the single most important one that Obama won during the primary season.
Then there’s Tony Lake, who led on the issue of Northern Ireland as Bill Clinton’s national security advisor. He is likely to be in a similar role in the new administration.
Denis McDonough is another key foreign policy figure who formerly worked for Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, a key ally of Obama. He has been doing much of the day to day lifting on Irish issues.
Senator Joe Biden, of course, would also be on the engine and in the driving seat when it came to influence as vice president. Either way it looks like Irish interests will be well served.
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