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“Trump Proves GOP Proclamations Of Mortal Affront Untrue”: He’s Only Repeating What His Party’s Has Been Saying All Along

In 2006, then-Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce advocated the return of a 1954 program for the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. It was called “Operation Wetback.”

In 2010, Sen. David Vitter, Republican from Louisiana, released a campaign ad that depicted a bunch of seedy-looking Mexicans, some with gang bandannas, slipping through a hole in a border fence to invade America.

In 2011, Rep. Mo Brooks, Republican from Alabama, said of undocumented immigrants: “I will do anything short of shooting them” to make them stop “taking jobs from American citizens.”

That same year, Republican presidential contender Herman Cain vowed to build an electrified border fence that would shock Mexicans who sought to slip into the country.

In 2013, Rep. Steve King, Republican from Iowa, said that for every illegal immigrant who becomes a valedictorian, there are another hundred with “calves the size of cantaloupes” because they are drug mules.

Yet the party is shocked and offended by what Donald Trump said? Jeb Bush calls his recent comments on undocumented Mexican immigrants “extraordinarily ugly”? Sen. Marco Rubio finds them “not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive”? A major donor tells the Associated Press Trump should be excluded from the debates?

Beg pardon, but there is something rather precious in all this ostentatious umbrage. If you didn’t know better, you might forget that the GOP has sought votes for years by stoking fear and anger toward Mexicans who enter this country illegally. If you weren’t paying attention, you might not know that various Republican officials and pundits routinely characterize those people — most of them just dirt poor and trying to put bread on the table — as a disease-ridden invasion force of drug smugglers and gang members, not to mention pregnant women splashing across the Rio Grande in order to drop so-called “anchor babies” on U.S. soil.

This is not to say Trump’s words were not ugly. They were. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “…They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems [to] us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

But ugly as it was, Trump’s xenophobia broke no new ground. So you have to wonder at the pious denunciations it is generating. You’re tempted to say people are reacting like this because Trump was blunter than we are used to. On the other hand, there is nothing particularly subtle or ambiguous about threatening to shock Mexicans. Maybe folks weren’t paying attention before.

It’s worth noting that Trump’s comments came as he announced his intention to run for President of the United States, a nation whose last census found about 32 million of us identifying as Mexican-American (some, presumably, good people). Indeed, Mexican-Americans are far and away the largest group under the umbrella rubric “Hispanic.” All the Cuban-, Puerto Rican-, Argentinean-, and Spanish-Americans combined don’t equal the number of Mexican-Americans in this country. So when the GOP talks about “Hispanic” outreach, it is, in a very real sense, talking Mexican-American outreach. Yet this “outreach” seems always to be overshadowed by insult.

The party seems not to realize that you can’t have it both ways, can’t insult people, then ask them to vote for you. How telling is it that, even as party elders assure us his remarks don’t represent the GOP, Trump vaults to second place in the polling of Republican contenders? It’s a truth that gives the lie to these proclamations of mortal affront.

It’s hypocritical and unfair to put all this on Trump. He only repeated what his party’s been saying all along.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, July 8, 2015

July 9, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP, Hispanics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The GOP Still Is Chock Full O’ Nuts”: How Long Can The Republicans Hide The Crazy?

I have to give the Republicans credit for one thing in this election cycle. They’ve been able to keep their crazies quiet. But the big question is: Will some GOP crazy talk seep out between now November 4? In the words of Sarah Palin, I’d have to say, “You betcha.”

We’ve recently seen some glimmers of Republican lunacy. Just last week the Arizona State Republican Party’s vice-chair, Russell Pearce, offered this gem: “You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations.” Translation: forced sterilization of poor women to make sure they don’t have more babies. Pearce resigned on Sunday.

That’s an awful remark. But that wouldn’t even get him to the GOP final four of crazy when you compare it with the crap we’ve heard come of the mouths of Republican candidates in recent years.

Who can forget in 2012 the double whammy of GOP Senate candidates comments about rape? First, there was Rep. Todd Akin who told us when there’s a “legitimate rape” of a woman, her body somehow is able to magically block the unwanted pregnancy.

Then came Indiana’s Senate nominee, Richard Mourdock, who told us that pregnancy from rape is in essence a good thing because it’s “something God intended.” Consequently he, like Akin, believed that women who were raped should be legally required to carry the rapist’s child to term.

And in 2010, there was Sharron Angle, who lost a possibly winnable Senate race against Harry Reid in Nevada with comments like people might need to look toward “Second Amendment remedies” to turn this country around and “the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.” It’s not often—in America at least- we see politicians suggest that maybe their political opponent should be shot.

Now some might ask: Maybe we aren’t hearing those types of remarks because the Republican Party no longer has right-wing crazies? (I’ll pause so you can finish laughing.) True, some “wacko birds,” to quote John McCain, lost in the primaries this year, but still the GOP still is chock full o’ nuts.

And I think we are well positioned to see some of these candidates take a journey on the crazy train in the closing weeks of this election cycle. Why? Three reasons. First, the debates are coming up, and as we saw in 2012 with Mourdock, the more these people talk in an unscripted forum, the more likely the guano will ooze out.

Second, in the tighter races, the candidates are feeling the heat. Consequently, they may make an unforced error or try to offer some red meat to the far right hoping it brings their base out in what’s expected to be a low-turnout election.

Finally, there are some male Republican candidates for Senate, like Colorado’s Corey Gardner and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, who are playing with dynamite. By that I mean they’ve decided to talk birth control thinking it can help them, but one slip up on this issue, and cue the “Republican war on women” headlines.

Any of these scenarios could be trouble for the GOP. And not just for the candidate who made the comment, but it could put Republicans on the defensive nationwide. So in the vein of March Madness, here are my picks for the Final Four of the 2014 GOP championship of crazy.

1. Jody Hice—Choosing Hice is like picking Duke or UConn in the NCAA basketball tournament. Hice, the GOP nominee in Georgia’s conservative 10th congressional district, has already given us a buffet of cuckoo. He has made horribly anti-gay and anti-Muslim comments, plus he thinks women should only run for political office if their husbands consent. And as Stephen Colbert noted two weeks ago, Hice recently confused a quote made by John Quincy Adams with one made by Dolly Parton.

2. Rep. Joni Ernst—The GOP Senate nominee in the battleground state of Iowa has the potential to serve up a prime cut of crazy. During the primary, she stated that U.S. laws “come from God,” and judges must be aware of that when deciding cases. She has called Obama a “dictator,” suggested impeaching him, and advocated that states be able to nullify federal laws they don’t agree with. Plus she gave us a Palinesque commercial where she rode a Harley Davidson while shooting a gun, promising voters that “once she sets her sights on Obamacare, Joni’s gonna unload.”

3. Thom Tillis—Although the Republican Senate nominee in the Tar Heel State is a veteran politician, he still might just deliver up a whopper. In 2011, Tillis did give us a comment that conjures up the ghost of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent remark when he told a crowd: “what we have to do is find a way to divide and conquer the people who are on assistance.” And just a few months ago, Tillis offered us this beaut: Unlike blacks and Hispanics, the “traditional population” in our country isn’t growing.

4. Sam Brownback—The Kansas Governor might be the sleeper in this race to crazy. He’s in a tight reelection campaign and he’s very right wing. In fact, during a TV interview in 2012, he told a female caller that if she didn’t like the fact that her boss didn’t want to cover her birth control because of his religious beliefs, she should “go work somewhere else.”

Those are my top four. Sure, I could’ve picked others. There are perennial wingnut powerhouses like Iowa Rep. Steve King and Texas’ resident wacko Rep. Louie Gohmert, but I’m feeling pretty good with my choices.

So now it’s time sit back and let the games begin. I can almost guarantee you that in the final weeks of this campaign one of the above candidates will make headlines with some outrageous comment. For people like Hice, who is in a safe GOP district, it may not matter. But for those in tight races like Tillis and Ernst, one slip up could allow a Democratic candidate to be the Cinderella story of this year. And a few Akin-esque gaffes could actually help Democrats be bracket busters and retain control of the Senate and pick off a few governorships.

 

By: Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast, September 20, 2014

September 21, 2014 Posted by | GOP, Midterm Elections, Republicans | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Just So We’re Clear”: Arizona Republican Suggests Sterilizing Poor Women

Russell Pearce has had quite a career in Arizona. The Republican started as a fairly obscure state senator, before his anti-immigrant SB1070 pushed him into the national spotlight, which Pearce parlayed into a promotion as state Senate President.

His shooting star didn’t last – Pearce’s record and extremist associations undermined his standing, and in 2011, voters pushed him out of office in a recall election.

State Republicans probably should have allowed Pearce to fade from public view, but instead, GOP officials made Pearce the #2 leader in the state party. As Zach Roth reported, that didn’t turn out too well, either.

The far-right former lawmaker who helped create Arizona’s “papers please” immigration law has resigned as a top official with the state GOP after making comments about sterilizing poor women. […]

On Saturday, the state Democratic Party highlighted comments Pearce made recently on his radio show. Discussing the state’s public assistance programs, Pearce declared: “You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations…. Then we’ll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job.”

Just so we’re clear, by making Norplant a part of public assistance, Pearce was, fairly explicitly, talking about sterilizing low-income women.

By way of a response, the principal author of Arizona’s “papers please” law argued in a written statement that he was referencing “comments written by someone else and failed to attribute them to the author.”

It’s a rare sight: a politician trying to defend himself by relying on an admission of plagiarism.

Of course, the problem has nothing to do with attribution and everything to do with an intended message. No one cares whether Pearce was sharing someone else’s argument; everyone cares that he talked about sterilizing poor people.

Daniel Strauss added that Arizona Republicans were so eager to support Pearce after his recall race that he was made the first-ever vice chairman of the Arizona GOP a year after his ouster.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, September 15, 2014

September 16, 2014 Posted by | GOP, Poor and Low Income, Reproductive Rights | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russell Pearce: Romney “Absolutely” Called Arizona Immigration Bill A National Model

Mitt Romney had the most conservative immigration policy of any Republican presidential candidate during most of the primary, but now that’s he trying to appeal to Hispanic voters as he pivots to general election, the presumed GOP nominee has been shifting back towards the center. Yesterday, he opened the door to a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act — a law he vowed to veto during the primary — and earlier, he said that he never called for making Arizona’s harsh immigration law a “model” for the nation.

But that’s not how one of the key people behind that law, former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, sees it. The former Republican lawmaker, who was ousted in a recall election, was the key force behind turning SB-1070, authored by Romney adviser Kris Kobach, into law.

He told reporters today that he “absolutely” believed Mitt Romney had endorsed the law as a model for the country. The Huffington Post’s Elise Foley reports:

“The folks that he’s said [are] his advisers on this, I have worked with for years and have great confidence and trust in them,” Pearce told reporters after a Senate subcommittee hearing on the immigration law. “I know Romney is a compassionate man, most of us, I’d like to think, are. But I think he also understands the crisis and the damage to this republic and the need to enforce our law.” […]

Romney also has advocated for what he called “self-deportation,” or making things difficult for undocumented immigrants until they decide to leave, one of the central tenets of the Arizona law. […] “[Self-deportation] is in SB 1070,” Pearce said.

Previously, Pearce has said that Romney’s “immigration policy is identical to mine.”

Romney has tried to distance himself from Kobach, who also helped author the controversial immigration crackdowns in Alabama, South Carolina, and other states. But Kobach quickly contradicted him, saying he regularly advises senior members of Romney’s staff.

 

By: Alex Seitz-Wald, Think Progress, April 24, 2012

April 25, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ruling: No Corporate Donations For Russell Pearce In Arizona Recall Election

Senate President Russell Pearce will not be able to get financial help from corporations to keep him in office, at least not directly.

In a formal legal opinion, state Solicitor General David Cole rejected the contention of Lisa Hauser, an attorney who represents Pearce, that the prohibition on those donations that applies in regular candidate races is inapplicable in recall elections.

Cole said the law is clear that neither corporations nor unions can make contributions designed to “influence an election.’’ And he said a bid to oust a sitting legislator from office fits that definition.

Cole wrote the decision rather than Attorney General Tom Horne, who had recused himself because of his political ties to Pearce.

Under Arizona law, a formal opinion from the Attorney General’s Office can be cited as legal precedent, much like a court ruling. The fact that this opinion was signed by Cole and not Horne does not change that.

Hauser said a campaign committee formed to aid Pearce had accepted a small corporate check — she said it was about $1,200 —but returned it when state Elections Director Amy Bjelland questioned the legality of the move. It was Hauser who then sought the formal opinion.

“If that’s the AG’s opinion, unless we go to court to change it, it is what it is,’’ she said. But Hauser said that is unlikely to happen.

If nothing else, she said, the opinion clarifies that corporate and union money will be off limits not only to Pearce but to anyone who decides to run against him.

“We just want to make sure everybody’s playing by the same set of rules,’’ Hauser said.

But Cole pointed out there is a loophole of sorts in the law.

He noted that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that corporations and unions have some of the same free-speech rights as individuals. While that does not disturb state or federal laws prohibiting contributions directly to candidates, there can be no laws which bar either type of organizations from forming or contributing to separate efforts to elect or defeat any particular candidate.

The only requirement is that these committees be completely independent of — and have no connection of any sort to — the candidate.

Randy Parraz, one of the recall organizers, said his committee has not accepted either corporate or union money. But Parraz will not disclose who paid for the successful petition drive, at least not yet.

“A lot of this has to do with people’s fear,’’ he said, intimating that those who helped with the recall might be the subject of some sort of unspecified retaliation. He said some people gave just $25 because the sources of contributions at that level and below do not need to be detailed.

“We’re going to comply,’’ he said. “We don’t feel compelled to have to disclose at this point.’’

Bjelland confirmed that for this unusual election — the first ever for a statewide or legislative office — the first campaign finance reports do not have to be filed until Oct. 27. That is only two weeks before the vote.

In a separate event Monday, Parraz attempted to deliver a letter to Pearce at his Senate office asking him to resign.

That is one option he has under state recall laws. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors would then choose a replacement.

But Pearce said he has no intention of quitting and believes he will win the recall and be able to serve out the balance of his two-year term.

By: Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services, Published in East Valley Tribune.com, July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Arizona, Conservatives, Corporations, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Government, Governors, Ideologues, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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