Tags: Senate

Senate Candidate on Game of Thrones Endorsement: ‘I Don’t Even Know Who That Guy Is’


Allen Weh is in an uphill battle against Democratic senator Tom Udall in New Mexico, but he is untroubled by news today that beloved Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin is helping Udall’s reelection campaign.

“I don’t even know who that guy is,” Weh tells National Review Online. “I never heard of those books, and I haven’t seen that TV show.”

Does that mean Weh won’t be bringing in Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins to help his own campaign? “I don’t even know who that is,” Weh adds.

Martin, whose Song of Fire and Ice series was adapted into the popular HBO series, announced Thursday that he will hold a $250-per-person fundraiser for Udall October 7 at a personal movie theater he owns in Santa Fe. The event will reportedly include a $1,000 “exclusive V.I.P. meet and greet,” a $2,000 dinner, and a chance for one winner to “ask them anything” — a powerful inducement for fans eager to learn new developments in the fantasy series.

Udall hardly needs the help. He has consistently led Weh by double digits, though the Republican challenger has begun to move the needle in recent weeks. The New York Times deems Udall’s seat 99 percent safe, a perception Weh says overestimates the blueness of a state with a popular Republican governor who appears headed to an easy reelection. He notes that the last two Senate races in New Mexico — Martin Heinrich’s defeat of Heather Wilson in 2012 and Udall’s 2008 landslide over Steve Pearce — occurred during presidential election years when the Obama campaign apparatus was heavily deployed in the Land of Enchantment.

“So the last two elections were really bad, and people only see those last two,” Weh says. “People can read the tea leaves the wrong way.” He adds that in summer 2013, Udall showed a 22-percent lead against a hypothetical Republican. Weh entered the race in January, and while he has not wiped out that deficit, he says recent polls have shown a gap in the low teens, with strong swings toward Weh among independent voters (who favored Udall by 36 percent earlier in the year but by only 3 percent in the latest Albuquerque Journal poll). Weh says within the next few days he expects to announce that “we’re in single digits.”

But he has never heard of George R. R. Martin. One explanation for Weh’s pop-culture lacuna may be that he has been busy with the charter aviation business he started in 1979 and built into a multi-million-dollar company. Weh also had a distinguished career in the Marine Corps, entering as an enlisted man and later qualifying for OCS. He served two tours in Vietnam and retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, having been awarded a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. Although he has also served as chairman of the New Mexico Republican party, Weh acknowledges that Udall’s structural advantages have made big GOP supporters reluctant to help what he calls the “Rodney Dangerfield campaign.”

For the record, this reporter has also not seen the Game of Thrones series or read any of the books, and I think Abbey Road was hands-down George Martin’s best work.

Tags: Senate , Allen Weh , New Mexico

Bloggers Eager to Deport Immigration-Reform Proposal


From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Righty Bloggers Wish to Deport Latest Bipartisan Immigration Reform Proposal

So, what are the early reviews for that immigration-reform package introduced by eight senators?

Mark Krikorian:

I can at least respect the Democrat members of this cabal — Schumer, Durbin, Menendez, and Bennet — because the Left has never hidden its disdain for America’s sovereignty. But the Republicans — McCain, Graham, Flake, and Rubio — want to achieve the Left’s objectives while appearing tough.

His debating partner from the weekend, Hugh Hewitt, wants to see details:

Unfortunately the “framework” isn’t legislative language and it was the language about “Z Visas” that sank the last attempt to deal with the issue. At first glance is there up-to-date-information about the border fence or its proposed extensions, no specifics on how many years — 10, 15, 20? — a regularized resident would have to wait until becoming eligible for benefits and voting and whether that regularized resident would have to return home to wait for citizenship in line with other would-be immigrants as opposed to staying here as a permanent resident but without voting rights, and no details on how the broken visa system or the not-yet-mandatory E-Verify programs would work.

It is a speech outline, and a not very good one at that. What is needed is a bill. An actual honest-to-goodness bill that free people can read and debate. Will the sharpies inside the Beltway ever figure out that those of us who can read don’t have the highest opinions of their drafting ability or a great deal of trust that that which they say they will do they will do.

Thoroughly opposed, Michelle Malkin:

Hey, did someone set the clock back six years in Washington? Because today looks a hell of a lot like the dawn of the Bush-Kennedy-McCain 2007 illegal alien amnesty. Deja vu all over again.

Starring in the role of John McCain this time around? Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio . . .

Don’t believe the hype from Rubio supporters that this warmed-over shamnesty proposal — another recipe for more illegal immigration, a bigger welfare state, and undermined sovereignty — is somehow new, improved and more enlightened.

Neo-Neocon expresses what will be the core of the opposition to the path to citizenship:

There’s a principle here, among other things, which is that coming here illegally should not be further rewarded. I write “further” because it already is rewarded.

Rick Moran also wonders how much of what’s written in the law would ultimately get enforced:

It also remains to be seen what kind of enhanced border security measures would be passed. We have seen immigration bureaucrats undermine or even ignore measures that have passed Congress (like the virtual fence).

It remains to be seen whether any immigration reform proposal can get through the GOP House. It might come down to how many Republican House members tie immigration reform to the improvement in relations with Hispanics.

For the pro-open borders perspective, there’s Nick Gillespie over at Reason:

The government doesn’t want to admit it, but except in totalitarian countries, they don’t run the border. People come and go based on large-scale dynamics that simply overwhelm most nations’ ability to control in-flows and out-flows of people. E-verify systems are a nightmare filled either with error rates that will harass thousands of innocent people and businesses or else be so porous all they will do is add a drag on hiring legally. If the senators start really working the Sunday shows and their constituents about how immigration benefits our economy and is the right thing to do from a historical and moral perspective, that will be the sign that they’re meaning to take this across the finish line.

The thing is, I don’t think a bunch of senators going on Sunday shows talking about the joys of immigration will actually change people’s minds about this issue.

The discussion about illegal immigrants is allegedly talking about the same 11 million people, but the two sides describe them in diametrically opposite terms. On one side, we have a bunch of lawbreakers, who have come here and taken our jobs, driven down our wages, and worsened the crime problem, sucking away at our public benefits, being treated in our emergency rooms, driving recklessly and traveling ten to a van and facilitating the creation of a permanent underclass and black-market economy; gangs and the drug trade have flourished in their impoverished, lawless shadow communities. The other side says we’re dealing with aspiring Americans just like the ancestors of most of us, hardworking dreamers who are valedictorians and volunteers and folks who would come to epitomize the greatness of America, just like the Ellis Island-era immigrants, if we would just give them the chance; they point out that they’re around us without us noticing, as we enjoy the services of the busboys, waiters, cooks, construction workers and nannies around us.

In our guts, most of us know that some of the 11 million are as bad as the critics say, and some are as good as their defenders say . . . and that our government has proven an absolute failure at sorting out the good ones from the bad ones.

By the way, what does it say about Obama’s well-proven ability to louse up bipartisan negotiations that this occurs?

Some senior Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus used a private White House meeting Friday to urge President Obama not to unveil his own immigration legislation, for fear of blowing up delicate bipartisan talks, Democratic sources tell CNN…

Sources familiar with the bipartisan Senate framework announced Monday tell CNN one of the main reasons they chose to unveil their framework one day before the president’s planned Tuesday speech on the subject, was to start the national dialogue on their bipartisan terrain. Politically, CNN is told the senators felt it was crucial for it to be known that there has been a real bipartisan process ongoing that is independent from the president.

“It would be a sabotage of the process,” said one immigration reform advocate familiar with internal discussions but not able to speak freely on the record.

“Everybody is fine with him announcing principles, using bully pulpit, etc. But what nobody who actually wants to see this passed wants, is an ‘Obama White House’ branded bill getting introduced,” said the source.

Well, there’s the secret words there — “nobody who actually wants to see this passed” wants to see Obama grabbing the glory and having his staff determine the details of the legislation . . . but it’s not so clear that the president actually wants to see this passed, when he thinks he could get another bite at the apple after the 2014 midterms. Demagoguing the Republicans as racist, xenophobic and viscerally anti-immigrant has been a key part of their messaging . . . why would they want a bipartisan immigration reform bill to louse up that convenient narrative?

Tags: Barack Obama , Illegal Immigration , Immigration Reform , Marco Rubio , Senate

The Who of Kagan


Excerpts from Kagan’s opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee are available here

Two notes: 1.  Her final remarks could be different, but in the excerpts she does not mention Harvard by name.  Perhaps she was advised that bouncing between Cambridge, Manhattan, and D.C. undermined the White House’s mantra that she will be The People’s Justice. 

2.  Like Sotomayor, Kagan is embracing the terminology of the Right.  According to Kagan, “what the Supreme Court does is to safeguard the rule of law, through a commitment to even-handedness, principle, and restraint.”  In the immortal words of The Who, “Don’t get fooled again.”

Tags: Elena Kagan , Opening Statement , Senate , Supreme Court

Kyl vs. Kagan


Senator Jon Kyl used his opening statement to unleash a torrent of criticisms against Kagan.  He belittled her experience, making the accurate point that other SCOTUS nominees without judicial experience have had “actual” legal experience, as contrasted with Kagan’s two years doing document review at a big law firm.  He questioned her choice of judicial heroes, Aharon Barak and Thurgood Marshall, and accused her of embracing their activist philosophies.  And he accused her of being precisely the sort of rubber stamp Obama was seeking for his domestic-policy agenda.   I hope the MSM was watching. It seems to me that the White House has successfully convinced them that this nomination has created little traction for Republicans and Kagan opponents — that Kagan has successfully flown under the radar — because the Washingon Post hasn’t had a daily item about some Macaca moment.  But that’s hard to square with the facts.  As recent polls have shown, support for Kagan has dropped since her announcement.  How do they explain that?  Or how do they explain Senator Kyl’s aggressive opening statement — bearing in mind that he has been a proponent of deference to presidential prerogatives?   Whether Kagan’s boosters in the press like it, Kagan’s decision to kick the military off the Harvard Law School campus has received widespread notice.  The fact that she has no judicial experience and mostly political experience has penetrated.  And the argument that she could be Obama’s rubber stamp makes sense to the ordinary person.  Does that mean her nomination will be rejected? Of course not.  But this is not a moment of triumph for White House spinmeisters — their candidate would lose an election.  It is impossible to listen to statements by Senators Hatch and Kyl, for instance, and not conclude that it is only because the deck is stacked 58 (for now) to 41 that Kagan has a prayer.

– Gary Marx is executive director of the Judicial Crisis Network.

Tags: Elena Kagan , Jon Kyl , Senate , Supreme Court

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