WBEZ | GOP http://www.wbez.org/tags/gop Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Hey Gov: An Illinois politics road trip http://www.wbez.org/news/hey-gov-illinois-politics-road-trip-110657 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Bu1yd1ZCcAEYqlk.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/hey-gov-an-illinois-politics-road-trip/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/hey-gov-an-illinois-politics-road-trip.js?header=none&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/hey-gov-an-illinois-politics-road-trip" target="_blank">View the story "Hey Gov: An Illinois politics road trip " on Storify</a>]<h1>Hey Gov: An Illinois politics road trip </h1><h2>WBEZ political reporters Alex Keefe and Tony Arnold took off from Chicago and drove along the Illinois River until the hit the State Fair. All along the way, they stopped to ask people what they want from the next governor. </h2><p>Storified by <a href="https://storify.com/WBEZ">WBEZ</a>&middot; Thu, Aug 14 2014 16:56:40 </p><div>WBEZ&apos;s @akeefe &amp; @tonyjarnold are following the Illinois River to the State Fair, asking citizens what they want from a governor. #HeyGovWBEZ</div><div>Best Game in Town: Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair by WBEZ's Afternoon ShiftThe Illinois State Fair hosts &quot;Governor's Day&quot; today at the fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois. Governor's Day is the traditional rally and picnic for the Illinois democratic party. Tomorrow is Republican Day. The big story is how Governor Quinn has changed the format of today's festivities.</div><div>Gov. Quinn heads to Illinois State Fair to rally his base by WBEZ's Morning ShiftThe Illinois State Fair brings out politicians, special interest groups and voters looking to get some answers from candidates. Incumbent Governor Quinn is following the same pattern as last year and making Wednesday's Governor's Day at the Fair a family event rather than an opportunity to hash out political agendas.</div><div>What Walt Willey, Ottawa #il native and longtime &quot;All My Children&quot; soap star, wants from the next gov http://t.co/IFmdwcg9u9 #heygov @WBEZAlex Keefe</div><div>A brief history of Ottawa, #IL, in mural form. #heygov @ Illinois River, Ottawa IL http://t.co/LpoCI5xsA8Alex Keefe</div><div>.@akeefe is driving me to Springfield. At least if we take a wrong turn I know we have a map. http://t.co/0ZBKrpc8E7Tony Arnold</div></noscript></div></p> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 11:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/hey-gov-illinois-politics-road-trip-110657 How to botch Latino outreach http://www.wbez.org/news/how-botch-latino-outreach-110623 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ap477265004976_wide-3e67378e76f5c917f3d0daed3bb68a0e5691af79-s40-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Even as Republican leaders wrap up <a href="http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/rnc-meeting-chicago-cheney-ryan-walker-speaking/wed-08062014-948am" target="_blank">a summer meeting</a> in Chicago where they&#39;re preparing for 2016, the party&#39;s fate in that election may be getting shaped in other places.</p><p>Places like Okoboji, Iowa, where Rep. Steve King was captured on <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI8rCleTbSo" target="_blank">video</a> getting into an extended argument with self-described &quot;DREAMers,&quot; American-raised children of undocumented immigrants. Or Alabama, where Rep. Mo Brooks has been describing immigration overhaul efforts as part of a Democratic &quot;<a href="http://www.lauraingraham.com/pg/jsp/charts/streamingAudioMaster.jsp?dispid=302&amp;headerDest=L3BnL2pzcC9tZWRpYS9mbGFzaHdlbGNvbWUuanNwP3BpZD0xOTA0Nw==" target="_blank">war on whites</a>.&quot;</p><p>Or even Washington, D.C., where a week ago, in order to win the support of immigration opponents like King and Brooks on a border crisis spending bill, leaders brought to the floor a <a href="http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d113:H.R.5272:" target="_blank">companion bill</a> ending President Obama&#39;s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program that permits children who were brought to this country as minors by undocumented immigrants to remain.</p><p>Neither bill is likely to become law, but, say political strategists in both parties, the damage is done. While there may be little effect in the coming midterm elections &mdash; when Hispanic turnout is typically depressed &mdash; anger over the legislation and the well-publicized comments could cement a perception that becomes difficult to change by 2016.</p><p>&quot;It just reinforces existing beliefs about Republican views on immigration and, more broadly, Hispanics generally,&quot; said Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s further evidence we&#39;re departing further and further into the wilderness,&quot; said John Weaver, a former adviser to Arizona Sen. John McCain. &quot;I don&#39;t really notice the &#39;war on whites&#39; myself, but maybe it&#39;s raging in northern Alabama.&quot;</p><p>McCain is among the 13 sitting GOP senators who last year voted for an immigration overhaul that includes a path to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. It&#39;s that feature that angers many House Republicans, who typically represent districts with tiny Latino populations. They argue that any immigration law changes are inappropriate before the border with Mexico is fully secured.</p><p>In their opposition, they are also bucking leaders of the Republican National Committee, which last year specifically cited immigration legislation as a way to open doors among Hispanics and other minority groups.</p><p>It was this sensibility, in fact, that spurred House leaders to push for the border bill last week, even though it meant postponing the start of the August recess. Speaker John Boehner had already put out a statement suggesting that attempts to pass a $659 million funding bill were being abandoned for want of votes. Boehner and his team were quickly besieged by Republicans worried about heading home without having done anything about the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children who had crossed the border. Republicans would seem uncaring, and Obama would have a political field day.</p><p>But in their desperation to win over immigration opponents, House leaders agreed to take up the proposal to end Obama&#39;s DACA program. It passed, with 212 Republican yes votes, and 11 Republicans voting no. (All but four Democrats voted against it.)</p><p>King was among those crowing about their victory &mdash; which led to Monday&#39;s confrontation at an Iowa fundraiser. Alabama&#39;s Brooks, meanwhile, defended the anti-DACA bill and dismissed criticisms against it as part of the Democratic &quot;war on whites.&quot;</p><p>(On a Huntsville, Ala., <a href="http://www.wvnn.com/" target="_blank">radio show</a> Wednesday with <em>National Journal</em> columnist <a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/it-s-not-just-obama-brooks-now-says-gop-is-waging-war-on-whites-20140806" target="_blank">Ron Fournier</a>, Brooks accused Fournier of contributing to divisiveness with his &quot;commentary&quot; &mdash; though Fournier was quoting from the Republican Party&#39;s own .)</p><p>Both incidents have gotten widespread play in the media &mdash; more play than the Republican Party&#39;s outreach to Latinos is getting nowadays. In an <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/changing_lanes/2014/08/07/reince_priebus_responds_to_war_on_whites.html" target="_blank">interview with RealClearPolitics</a> from Chicago, GOP chairman Reince Priebus called Brooks&#39; remarks &quot;idiotic.&quot;</p><p>&quot;We have to be a party that grows. That means we have to have more people in our party, not less,&quot; Priebus said.</p><p>Weaver, who in recent years has criticized the party for its failure to embrace an immigration overhaul, said the latest turn proves his point. &quot;If you&#39;re on the wrong side of history on immigration, that&#39;s not a good place to be,&quot; he said.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2014/08/08/338631780/how-to-botch-latino-outreach" target="_blank">via NPR&#39;s It&#39;s All Politics blog</a></em></p></p> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 14:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-botch-latino-outreach-110623 Morning Shift: Remembering Harold Ramis http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-25/morning-shift-remembering-harold-ramis-109766 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Harold Ramis Flickr justinhoch.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We look at the life and career of Chicago-based writer, actor and director Harold Ramis. Plus, we check-in on the Illinois governor&#39;s race with less than one month to go until the primary.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-remembering-harold-ramis/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-remembering-harold-ramis.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-remembering-harold-ramis" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Remembering Harold Ramis" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-25/morning-shift-remembering-harold-ramis-109766 Morning Shift: Holacracy seeks to draw perfect circles in the workplace http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-12/morning-shift-holacracy-seeks-draw-perfect-circles <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Circles Flickr Creativity103.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>How&#39;d you like to work without a boss? We dive into the idea of holacracy where workplace authority and decision making are evenly distributed. Also, what happens after prison?&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-holacracy-concept-seeks-to-draw-perf/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-holacracy-concept-seeks-to-draw-perf.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-holacracy-concept-seeks-to-draw-perf" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Holacracy seeks to draw perfect circles in the workplace" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 08:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-12/morning-shift-holacracy-seeks-draw-perfect-circles Morning Shift: Conservative group targets clean energy as a key issue http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-10/morning-shift-conservative-group-targets-clean-energy <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover Flickr Snurb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We talk to Young Conservatives for Energy Reform to learn what energy reform looks like for them. Also, we talk with the director of a new documentary chronicling the life of pin-up icon Bettie Page.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-conservative-group-targets-clean-ene/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-conservative-group-targets-clean-ene.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-conservative-group-targets-clean-ene" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Conservative group targets clean energy as a key issue" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 10 Feb 2014 08:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-10/morning-shift-conservative-group-targets-clean-energy Morning Shift: Some have to work harder to want to workout http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-01-15/morning-shift-some-have-work-harder-want-workout <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover Flickr sun dazed.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Dr. Tim Lightfoot explains how some of us are genetically predisposed to skip a workout. Writer and urbanist Richard Florida breaks down the states in terms of physical fitness. And, Otaak Band puts a Sudanese spin on belting the blues.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-some-have-to-work-harder-to-want-to/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-some-have-to-work-harder-to-want-to.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-some-have-to-work-harder-to-want-to" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Some have to work harder to want to workout" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 10:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-01-15/morning-shift-some-have-work-harder-want-workout Stalled immigration reform takes toll on Polish theater group http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/stalled-immigration-reform-takes-toll-polish-theater-group-109029 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Republicans immigration.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A small Polish theater company says they&rsquo;re another victim of stalled legislation on immigration reform. Teatr Brama Goleniow is regrouping after U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services denied eight of their company members visas to bring a stage production to the Logan Square/Avondale neighborhood.</p><p>The group had planned Chicago showings of Emotions in Sound &nbsp;in late September, a production they&rsquo;ve previously brought to the Ukraine, Peru, Scotland and Greece. But the U.S. visa snafu has delayed their plans to share the production with U.S. audiences.</p><p>&ldquo;In the beginning we applied for tourist visas,&rdquo; explained Jennifer Crissey, actor and project manager at Teatr Brama.</p><p>Crissey said she had been advised by officials at the U.S. embassy in Warsaw to apply for B-visas because their company was small, and did not view their intended travel as one that would yield commercial profit.</p><p>&ldquo;The actors going wouldn&rsquo;t be receiving salary, they wouldn&rsquo;t be getting paid to do this project,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Crissey said when the group went to the U.S. embassy in Warsaw for their visa interview in August, however, they were told that they should instead apply for artists&rsquo; visas.</p><p>&ldquo;So they essentially advised us one thing, and then changed their mind,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Crissey said that&rsquo;s when she asked the company&rsquo;s Chicago-based partner, Voice of the City, to sponsor their petition for P-3 visas, a class of visa specific to culturally unique artists and entertainers.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it was very evident in the application that this was geared for commercial exchanges on a scale that we just weren&rsquo;t doing,&rdquo; said Dawn Marie Galtieri, artistic director of Voice of the City, an arts alliance based in the Logan Square/Avondale neighborhood, &ldquo;so it started to make us very nervous.&rdquo;</p><p>Galtieri said she had to obtain a letter from the American Guild of Musical Artists to support their petition, as well as provide additional paperwork attesting to the wages and hours of the actors, contracts detailing the parameters of the production, and flyers and press releases about the show.</p><p>&ldquo;Really, it&rsquo;s a process for big stars,&rdquo; Crissey said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s when some big name comes from another country to play here, and they&rsquo;re playing at like United Center or some big stage like that.&rdquo;</p><p>Crissey estimated that in total, Teatr Brama spent nearly $3,000 in applying for the visas. Still, they were denied.</p><p>&ldquo;And I never in a million year thought that after providing them with all of the evidence that they asked for that we would get such an empty answer like, &lsquo;this isn&rsquo;t culturally unique enough,&rsquo;&rdquo; said Crissey, &ldquo;because, who can be the judge of that?&rdquo;</p><p>Crissey and Galtieri said they are now cobbling together an ensemble of actors from Chicago and across Europe who have authorization to travel to the U.S., and that they plan to move forward with the production in the absence of the original cast.</p><p>The show will be staged in mid-November.</p><p>A representative from Congressman Michael Quigley&rsquo;s (D-Illinois) office said that if Congress had moved on immigration reform this summer, Teatr Brama&rsquo;s visa woes might not have happened.</p><p>Poland, unlike many of its European Union counterparts, is not included in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. without first obtaining visas. Quigley and other members of Illinois&rsquo;s congressional delegation have &nbsp;been <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/polish-community-may-get-travel-perk-immigration-reform-107412">pushing to expand the parameters of the program</a> to include more countries, such as Poland.</p><p>In addition to a standalone bill that he has introduced in the House, Quigley also helped ensure that language to broaden the program be included in immigration legislation that the U.S. Senate passed in June.</p><p>Meanwhile, with just 18 days left in the House legislative calendar this year, pressure continues to mount for U.S. House Republicans to take up an immigration bill.</p><p>On Tuesday, hundreds of conservatives from business, faith and law enforcement groups converged on Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers to nudge them toward bringing legislation to the floor for a vote.</p><p>&ldquo;Ultimately, if you&rsquo;re going against this legislation, you are absolutely going against the entire faith community and you are also going against essentially what every respected economist in America has been asking for,&rdquo; said Sheriff Mark Curran of Lake County.</p><p>Curran is among a handful of conservatives from Illinois joining the effort. The effort is organized by the Partnership for a New American Economy, the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network, FWD.us, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.</p><p>Earlier this month, House Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration bill, after a bipartisan committee failed to produce its own bill. Congressman Jeff Denham (R-California) is the sole Republican to cosponsor the bill, along with 185 Democrats.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 29 Oct 2013 13:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/stalled-immigration-reform-takes-toll-polish-theater-group-109029 For GOP hopefuls, Labor Day is for politicking http://www.wbez.org/news/gop-hopefuls-labor-day-politicking-108585 <p><p>The Republican field for the 2014 Illinois governor and lieutenant governor races began to crystalize Monday, as Tuesday marks the day that candidates can begin gathering signatures to get on the ballot for March&rsquo;s primary.</p><p>Among the Republican gubernatorial hopefuls who spent their holiday politicking was Illinois State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, who greeted voters with his two frisky golden retrievers at Schaumburg&rsquo;s Labor Day parade.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s just a good opportunity to visit and mingle with the voters, people who care about Illinois,&rdquo; Brady said before Monday&rsquo;s parade stepped off. &ldquo;This election&rsquo;s gonna be about who can best lead our state. Clearly [Democratic Governor] Pat Quinn&rsquo;s failing.&rdquo;</p><p>The parade&rsquo;s marching order put Brady not far from a navy blue-shirted troupe of volunteers supporting Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist seeking to be the GOP gubernatorial candidate.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s about shaking up Springfield and turning it around,&rdquo; said Rauner, who has sought to play up his role as a political outsider. &ldquo;Taking the government in Springfield back from the corrupt, career politicians who are controlling it for their own benefit, and get it so it&rsquo;s responsive to the voters again.&rdquo;</p><p>Earlier in the day, Dan Rutherford, the Illinois treasurer, announced a Chicago attorney as his lieutenant governor pick.</p><p>Rutherford revealed on Twitter that his choice is Steve Kim, a 42-year-old attorney who lives in Northbrook. Kim, who has served as a Northfield township trustee, unsuccessfully challenged Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in 2010.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bruce%20Rauner.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 5px; height: 290px; width: 285px;" title="Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist seeking the 2014 GOP gubernatorial nomination, talks with supporters before Schaumburg’s 2013 Labor Day parade. (WBEZ/Alex Keefe)" />&quot;He comes from having been on the statewide stage before,&quot; Rutherford told The Associated Press. The Chenoa Republican said his first priority was choosing someone who could succeed him if he wins. Rutherford said he would release more details Thursday at a news conference.</p><p>Rutherford became the first among the four Republicans and two Democrats seeking the state&#39;s highest office to announce his running mate.</p><p>It&#39;s the first time that candidates for governor will run with their lieutenant governor choices. The change was instituted after 2010 when it was revealed after the primary that the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor &mdash; Scott Lee Cohen &mdash; had past troubles including domestic battery charge. Cohen dropped out after pressure from Democratic leaders who feared it would hurt Quinn.</p><p>Other Republicans are expected to announce their picks soon.</p><p>Republican state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale scheduled a statewide fly around with his pick for Tuesday. Sen. Brady has said his choice is also coming soon. The other candidates &mdash; including Rauner and Chicago Democrats, Gov. Pat Quinn and his challenger former White House chief of staff Bill Daley &mdash; have said they&#39;re not in a rush to make their choices public. Rutherford said he considered Kim&#39;s business experience and his background.</p><p>Kim is a managing partner at Rosenberg Kim &amp; Jimenez, Ltd., which does international and trade law and business development law, among other areas. Kim is also Korean American. He immigrated with his family as a young boy and is a U.S. citizen.</p><p>Rutherford said Kim has the ability to reach out to Illinois&#39; diverse residents, particularly the growing Asian population.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re a state where there is a very strong and vital immigrant community,&quot; Kim said, adding that his family&#39;s immigration story was one that would resonate with many groups.</p><p>Kim declined to talk specifics on where he stands on issues, like gay marriage, saying that he still formulating his opinions.</p><p>He said his focus is improving Illinois&#39; business climate.</p><p>&quot;I understand how to create jobs,&quot; he said. &quot;I strongly believe the climate in Illinois is not right now best suited for jobs and economic growth. We can change that.&quot;</p></p> Mon, 02 Sep 2013 15:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gop-hopefuls-labor-day-politicking-108585 With FAA, Democrats lose the sequester battle http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/faa-democrats-lose-sequester-battle-106870 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7216_AP118705097809-scr.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Sequester cuts caused travel delays at airports across the country before Friday's congressional votes. (AP/File)" /></div><p>Not that Democrats have ever been particularly good negotiators, but it&rsquo;s possible President Barack Obama&rsquo;s namby pamby adjudicating may have rubbed off on them, to bad effect.</p><p>Just last Friday, finally given a chance to show their courage in the sequester battle, the Democrats blinked &mdash; hard. by agreeing to a bill that allows the Federal Aviation Administration to bypass, at least for now, sequester-mandated cuts, the Democrats actually agreed to a strategy that basically hands the budget battle victory to the Republicans.</p><p>Do you remember the sequester? It was supposed to be so damn bad both sides in Washington were going to be forced back to the negotiating table, bipartisanship would have no choice but to emerge from the bitter pill of automatic cuts to the federal budget, without regard to need or politics: Head Start, the military &mdash; every favorite program was going to be guillotined.</p><p>When the Republicans didn&rsquo;t fall for that and allowed the sequester to go into effect, the White House &mdash; which unconvincingly disavows the sequester as its idea &mdash; went on a campaign to warn about the hardships the cuts would cause. Things were going to get so bad, we were all going to be really sorry. And, in fact, things were going to get so terribly bad, the people would rise up and blame the GOP and then the Dems would have the upper hand and things would get fixed, probably.</p><p>There&rsquo;s still a <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/sequester" target="_blank">White House page</a> with many dire warnings such as this: &ldquo;Harmful automatic budget cuts &mdash; known as the sequester &mdash; threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs, and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform. These cuts will make it harder to grow our economy and create jobs by affecting our ability to invest in important priorities like education, research and innovation, public safety, and military readiness.&rdquo;</p><p>Except it hasn&rsquo;t happened that way. Not that the sequester isn&rsquo;t slicing and dicing: It is. But the very nature of the cuts means the pain is being administered slowly, over a huge swath of programs, and most people haven&rsquo;t seen a big change in their lives post-sequester.</p><p>Still, the damage is real. In Illinois alone, the <a href="http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/politics/sequester-cuts-illinois/309/" target="_blank">sequester affects</a> funding for teachers, funding for special education for kids with disabilities, work study jobs, Head Start programs, child care, vaccines, nutrition programs for seniors, mental health programs, cuts to the FBI, emergency responders, veteran services, senior meals, housing voucher programs, AIDS and HIV services and many more programs.</p><p>So you&rsquo;d think once the cuts actually started to squeeze people in a noticeable way &mdash; like say, hours long delays at the nation&rsquo;s airports because of furloughed air traffic controllers &mdash; that the Dems would turn around and say, &ldquo;See? This is what we mean. And it&rsquo;s going to get worse.&rdquo;</p><p>And then, you know, maybe the Republicans would at least have to explain their position.</p><p>But no. In fact, not at all. The Democrats completed caved. The <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/national_world&amp;id=9079898" target="_blank">vote wasn&rsquo;t even close</a>: unanimous in the Senate and 361 to 41 in the House.</p><p>The Dems agreed to a Republican bill that allows the FAA to shift funds to keep air traffic controllers working, and to keep travelers from being inconvenienced. And in doing so, the Democrats have given the GOP a blueprint on how to get around any other cuts to favored programs they&rsquo;d like to alleviate.</p><p>In other words, the Democrats have given away whatever leverage they might have had had &mdash; especially because Obama has agreed to sign this bill, as is his wont, without concessions (like, say, Head Start in exchange for the air traffic controllers).</p><p>Let me be even clearer: The Republicans have figured out how to save programs important to their relatively privileged constituencies. The Democrats have completely sold their constituencies &mdash; especially the poor, young people, and women &mdash; down the river.</p><p>Obama and the Democrats are back out there now <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/congress-sends-obama-bill-to-end-delays/2013/04/26/27f94706-ae81-11e2-a986-eec837b1888b_story.html" target="_blank">talking</a> about ending the sequester, how it&rsquo;s unfair to this and that program, and that the Republicans need to come back to the negotiating table. But why would be the GOP ever do that?</p><p>The Republicans are enjoying the sequester. It is, after all, what they wanted: cuts to government programs. Sure, they would have preferred more say in what to cut, what to preserve. But in the long run &mdash; in terms of goals &mdash; the sequester, which both parties signed on to as a strategy, is actually doing what the Republicans &mdash; and only the Republicans &mdash; wanted.</p></p> Sun, 28 Apr 2013 16:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/faa-democrats-lose-sequester-battle-106870 Rubio's cowardice and ambition could kill immigration bill http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/rubios-cowardice-and-ambition-could-kill-immigration-bill-106448 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7176_AP382044843446-scr.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Sen. Marco Rubio, the GOP's immigration point man. (AP)" /></div><p>You might have thought that after the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/immigration-reform-afl-cio-us-chamber-commerce-come-meeting-minds-guest-workers-1161805">came to an agreement</a> over the weekend on guest workers &ndash; historically the trickiest part of immigration reform for unions &ndash; that the immigration bill the senatorial Gang of Eight has been working on would find the road a little smoother.&nbsp;Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) even went on the Sunday shows this week and crowed about a &ldquo;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/03/schumer-gang-of-8-has-substantive-agreement-on-immigration-issues/">substantial&rdquo; agreement </a>moving forward with both Democratic and Republican support.<br /><br />Except that the Republican most identified with the bill put the brakes on it. On Saturday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) fired off a <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/291099-rubio-warns-leahy-against-rush-to-legislate-on-immigration#ixzz2PPpyMHhB">letter</a>&nbsp;to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asking him to slow down the possible legislation.<br /><br />&ldquo;I am aware that the Judiciary Committee, both under your leadership and under the leadership of your predecessors, has conducted a number of hearings related to immigration reform,&rdquo; wrote Rubio. &ldquo;But they cannot be a substitute for fresh hearings to consider specific legislation as part of a national conversation.&rdquo;</p><p>A letter like that from most senators wouldn&#39;t make much of a ripple, but because Rubio is the GOP&#39;s point man (however reluctantly) on immigration, and because of his national profile, he&#39;s not that easy to dismiss. Rubio can kill the bill, and everybody knows that.<br /><br />Rubio&rsquo;s dilemma is not actually based on immigration concerns, or even party concerns. While he was busy trying to get the Senate to slow down, fellow senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was busy touting the bill on the news shows.<br /><br />&ldquo;We haven&rsquo;t signed off. There are a few details yet,&rdquo; Graham said. &ldquo;But conceptually, we have an agreement between business and labor, between ourselves, that has to be drafted. It will be rolled out next week. Yes, I believe it will pass the House because it secures our borders, it controls who gets a job.&rdquo;<br /><br /><em>Next week!</em><br /><br />What&rsquo;s the difference between Rubio and Graham? Besides, of course, that Graham comes from a state much less likely to be open to immigration than Rubio&rsquo;s Florida, or that Graham is up for re-election in 2014 and Rubio not until 2016? Why, exactly, is the white dude from the South so much more optimistic than the Son of Immigrants?<br /><br />In a word: cowardice.<br /><br />In another word: ambition.<br /><br />Graham isn&rsquo;t going anywhere but the senate seat for South Carolina, but Rubio&rsquo;s every move these days is calculated with a shot at the White House.<br /><br />And here&rsquo;s Rubio&rsquo;s dilemma: The country seems to be moving in favor of immigration reform, but the hardcore Tea Partiers &ndash; his core constituency, the people who elected him &ndash; are still staunchly against anything that smells of a path to citizenship. They&#39;re just not too excited about immigration in general, reformed or otherwise.<br /><br />But that&rsquo;s not all. The Republican Party desperately needs&nbsp;to attract, or at least neutralize, the Latino vote &ndash; the ever growing Latino vote, especially in the South, in places like, say, South Carolina, where the <a href="http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2011-03-24/number-hispanics-skyrockets-south-carolina">Latino population grew 148 percent</a> in the last ten years compared to about 13 percent for the general population.</p><p>That should make Rubio, the senior Latino in the GOP ranks, a Very Important Guy.&nbsp;Rubio, the thinking goes, should be able to talk to his people, explain the goodness of the GOP, and bring them over. He&rsquo;s good looking, bilingual, and his family has experienced immigration up close and personal.<br /><br />The problem is that Rubio, not unlike the GOP&rsquo;s other Latino star, Ted Cruz, has never been on the compassionate side of immigration. He&rsquo;s not as much of an extremist as Cruz, who uses the term &quot;<a href="http://www.ontheissues.org/international/Ted_Cruz_Immigration.htm">illegals</a>,&quot; and&nbsp;who&rsquo;d like a bigger fence, more boots on the ground, and absolutely zero chance at citizenship. Truth is, Rubio wants all that, too, except for maybe the path to citizenship, which he&#39;s surrendered to.<br /><br />Sure, Rubio could walk away. But if he wants to run for president in 2016 (which he very clearly does), he needs to show some balls somewhere, sometime, and pass a bill of some sort. (So far, the only senate bill he&rsquo;s sponsored on his own was a resolution to honor Vaclav Havel.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/browse?sponsor=412491#current_status=5">I kid you not</a>.)<br /><br />But what if Rubio passes the wrong bill? A bill that pisses off the Tea Party, or one that alienates Latinos even more, could mean that even if Rubio gets on the GOP ticket, Latinos may reject him with even greater vitriol for being a traitor than they would some meaningless non-Latino.<br /><br />Actually, I&rsquo;m probably getting ahead of myself here. I don&rsquo;t think Rubio actually gives a crap what other Latinos think of him, just so long as there are enough votes from wherever to keep him in power. And if he has to kill this once in a lifetime chance at immigration reform to keep his sure Tea Party votes in line, then so be it.</p></p> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/rubios-cowardice-and-ambition-could-kill-immigration-bill-106448