Politically Speaking – April 27, 2021
It has been my opinion for years that one of the biggest problems we have in government is no term limits. Prime examples are the State of Illinois’ former Speaker of the House Michael Madigan (four decades), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) since 1981 (40 years), and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) serving as Speaker of the House of Representatives since 2019 and previously from 2007 to 2011. Pelosi has served as a U.S. Representative from California since 1987 (34 years), Joe Biden (D-DE) for 36 years before becoming Vice President, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) since Jan. 3, 1985 (that’s 36 years), and the list goes on and on.
The question is, how long is too long? There have been, over the years, politicians I have personally supported because I believed they couldn’t be bought or swayed in any way. And I must say, in some cases I’ve been correct, but sadly, I’ve been wrong as well.
It continues to be my personal opinion the majority run with the goal of doing the patriotic thing, serving their country and being part of making a better life for their constituents. But along the way, some lose sight of that!
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times, a lot of people say the same thing: Term limits are needed. Last Thursday I received a press release from Illinois State Representative Blaine Wilhour which gave me some hope.
“Under legislation co-sponsored by State Representative Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City) legislative leaders in the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate would be subject to term limits of ten years. The bill cleared the House of Representatives on Thursday, April 22, 2021 on a bipartisan, unanimous vote.\
“‘This reform piece of legislation establishing term limits is key to avoiding the consolidation of too much power and control by one person like we saw for four decades under former Speaker Michael J. Madigan,’ said Rep. Blaine Wilhour. ‘My expectation is that this is just the start of a whole package of reforms that we need to see in Illinois.’”
“Under House Bill 642, no person may serve more than ten consecutive years as a legislative leader in the General Assembly. Roles limited under the legislation include Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, and Minority Leader of the Senate. The measure would take effect at the start of the next General Assembly, which begins on the second Wednesday in January of 2023.
“‘This common-sense measure is something a majority of Illinoisans have sought for a long time,’ added Rep. Wilhour. ‘The overwhelming majority of people want elected officials to be more along the line of citizen-legislators instead of career politicians.’
“House Bill 642 has passed in the House of Representatives now heads to the Illinois Senate for consideration in that chamber. You may follow the status of this legislation at www.ilga.gov.”
Show your support by contacting Blaine at 217-994-9348.
On to Rich Lowry.
Back to the Future on Immigration
By Rich Lowry, Editor of the National Review-
It’s not 2007 again. But apparently no one has told George W. Bush.
To coincide with the release of a book of his paintings of immigrants, Out of Many, One, the former Republican president wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post plugging the sort of immigration package that went down to defeat in both his administration and in the administration of his successor, Barack Obama.
Bush is an unusually sincere, earnest politician whose views on immigration are deeply felt and honestly come by — they are just anachronistic, or should be.
If there’s any lesson that everyone should have learned from Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party, it’s that the party’s old consensus on immigration is no longer sustainable.
Yet there’s still a reflex toward the lazy conventional wisdom that all that ails the country on immigration is lack of an agreement to give an amnesty to illegal immigrants already here and increase numbers of legal immigrants, in exchange for more bells and whistles at the border — what is commonly known as “comprehensive immigration reform.”
Bush says not passing immigration reform is his biggest regret, and John Boehner, out with a score-settling memoir of his time as speaker of the House, says it is his second biggest regret (after not forging a big fiscal deal with President Obama).
Boehner spends a lot of time meditating on how the GOP became, in his telling, “Crazytown,” a party of extremists and paranoiacs that eventually threw itself into the arms of Donald Trump.
The former speaker spreads the blame widely, but it evidently doesn’t occur to him that one major factor driving a wedge between the party’s establishment and its grassroots was the elected leadership’s insistence on repeatedly trying to pass immigration bills that Republican voters rejected.
For his part, Bush sounds as if he’s learned nothing. In his Post piece, he cites all the usual measures at the border included in these sort of bills — “manpower, physical barriers, advanced technology, streamlined and efficient ports of entry.”
That’s all fine, but it is no substitute for rigorous enforcement in the interior of the country and can’t counteract the open-borders message sent by welcoming illegal immigrants.
In that regard, Bush professes, as all supporters of comprehensive immigration reform always do, to oppose amnesty as “fundamentally unfair to those who came legally or are still waiting their turn to become citizens.”
He then calls for an amnesty couched as, in one of the laziest cliches in the immigration debate, bringing illegal immigrants “out of the shadows.”
This will be achieved “through a gradual process in which legal residency and citizenship must be earned,” by requiring “proof of work history, payment of a fine and back taxes, English proficiency and knowledge of U.S. history and civics, and a clean background check.”
Such requirements are always promised in comprehensive immigration bills and are always toothless, serving only as a way to deny that the amnesty for illegal immigrants is indeed an amnesty.
Bush says, as well, that both parties should be willing to get behind “increased legal immigration,” a characteristic feature of these bills. In another tired talking point, Bush insists that a higher level of immigration is necessary to bringing more skilled immigrants — never considering that we could also reduce the number of low-skilled immigrants.
But supporters of the old consensus aren’t especially keen on understanding the arguments of opponents. Boehner refers to the “far-right crazies” who never forgave John McCain for pushing immigration reform, and blames “demagogues” and sheer “stubbornness” for blocking a comprehensive bill in 2014.
So far this year, Republican senators have only talked of a narrower immigration bill focused on an amnesty for so-called Dreamers. Surely, though, the instinct toward comprehensive immigration hasn’t gone away. It’s up to Republican voters to constantly remind the party’s officeholders that 2007 is, indeed, a very long time ago.
© 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.