Thursday, August 28, 2014
Weekly Opinion Editorial
EXECUTIVE ORDER WOULD BE MISTAKE!
by Steve Fair
Word is that President Obama is about to sign an Executive Order that will grant amnesty to around five million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. According to Congressman Jose Gutierrez, (D- IL), the President will sign the XO when he returns next week from Estonia and Wales. Guitierrez described the possible action as, “huge.” He went on to say that when he and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus met with the President last month Obama assured them he wouldn’t deport their people. To say America’s immigration issue is a complicated one that divides Republicans and Democrats is an understatement.
Some advocates- in both Parties- favor deporting every illegal immigrate back to their home country, no matter what their age. They correctly point out the immigrate came into America ILLEGALLY. They want the INS to round up the illegals and bus them back to the border. They believe many of those illegals are taking jobs away from Americans.
Those on the other side of the argument say the reason many immigrates are illegal is because the immigration policy is broken in America. They claim that many who entered the country legally remained here after their visa has expired because the INS is inept and unable to process paperwork in a timely manner(absolutely true). They point out that many illegals came to America as children and had no choice in the matter. President Obama took care of many of those illegal children when he signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act in June of 2012.
Some prominent Republicans advocate a ‘pathway to citizenship, including former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating. In a Los Angeles Times editorial last November entitled, “What would Reagan do,” Keating wrote: “Unfortunately, too many conservatives — though they aspire to walk in Reagan's footsteps — have forgotten that immigration reform is the most Republican of causes. We cannot support open borders for trade but not for people. We cannot support the unfettered exchange of goods and ideas while building razor-wired walls that separate children from their parents. We cannot make America stronger and more prosperous by excluding tomorrow's talent and industry.” The article implied former President would have granted amnesty to illegal immigrants (Reagan did in fact grant a ‘pathway to citizenship for three million illegals in 1986, but not by Executive Order).
At their June 2014 state convention, the Texas Republican Party voted to restore a plank in the state party platform that had been removed two years earlier. The restored plank calls for no amnesty, a verified secured border and penalizing employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. The resolution was approved after a long debate. “Just as we should not negotiate with terrorists…we should not negotiate or accommodate people who are not respecting our laws,” said Ivette Lozano, a delegate from Dallas.
Some Republicans believe taking such a hardline stand will hurt the GOP with Hispanics, Asians, and other minorities. But according to Gallup, only 3 percent of those contacted said that immigration was their most important issue. Yanil (no last name given), a Hispanic women says illegals get no respect among legal immigrates. “As a Hispanic I can tell you, most of us are against illegals. I was born to immigrants. Long story short, in my opinion, it's not fair that illegals get a free pass for crossing the border, while others do things legally,” She said.
Illegal immigrants aren’t currently allowed to vote in elections (hence the term illegal), but if a New York state legislator has his way, that could change. State Senator Gustavo Rivera, who represents the Bronx, wants to grant the estimated three million illegal immigrants in New York state the right to vote if they have lived in New York for three years and paid taxes. Rivera says he has the support to get the bill passed and signed into law. New York would be the first state to grant the right to vote to illegal immigrants.I have not touched on the national security threat an open border policy presents or the cost to taxpayers to educate and provide social services to millions of illegal immigrants pouring into our country. Granting amnesty by Executive Order is not the way to deal with illegal immigration. President Obama should put down his pen and work with Congress to hammer out a common sense solution on this important issue. Contact President Obama and tell him to not grant amnesty to illegal immigrants by Executive Order. Here is the link to do it by email http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/contactus
Monday, August 18, 2014
Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair
Recently a Republican candidate in a runoff for a county office sent out a mailer that included some nice compliments about the candidate by U.S. Senator Tom Coburn. The mailer also included some photos of the good doctor. The implication of the piece was clear- Dr. Coburn was supporting/endorsing the candidate, but that evidently wasn’t the case. It turns out Coburn’s ‘endorsement’ of the candidate was for a much earlier race when he ran for the state legislature. Senator Coburn sent out a press release condemning the implied endorsement, saying he was ‘disappointed in the candidate. Oops- endorsement may have backfired. The fact is this is not the first time something like this has happened in politics and it probably won’t be the last. Four observations about endorsements:
First, candidates should get permission for an endorsement. That sounds really simple, but you would be surprised how often campaigns just add an influential name to their ‘supporter’ list without permission. When caught candidates will plead ignorance, apologize and remove names, but once the ‘endorsement’ has entered the marketplace, it can never fully be retrieved. More than one candidate in Oklahoma has included photos they took at a fundraising event with the Governor, President Bush, or some other prominent elected officials in their campaign literature. The objective is clear- “me and ‘W’ are tight and he’s supporting me.” It’s blatant dishonesty and reveals a serious character flaw. It has no place in a principled campaign.
Second, endorsements are not the permanent assets of the endorsed. They belong to the endorser. Endorsements have a shelf life. In the case cited above, Dr. Coburn gave his endorsement for a specific race. That doesn’t mean Dr. Tom was endorsing every campaign that candidate pursued for the rest of their life. Common sense would dictate you can’t use an endorsement in one race for another race. Are candidates that clueless? If so, then perhaps they shouldn’t be elected.
Third, endorsements don’t win races. It is always nice to have prominent people endorse you if you’re a candidate. Dr. Coburn is the gold standard of endorsements in Oklahoma. He is well respected and voters value his opinion, but Dr. Tom has endorsed a lot of candidates who lost. Campaigns are won by engaging the voter and getting your message out. In a recent state legislative race, a young man with little money knocked every Republican door in his district and beat a well-funded, “endorsed,” candidate. Shoe leather will beat endorsements every time. The only endorsement that really means anything is that of the constituents in the district.
Fourth, the way a candidate wins is important. Politics is a competitive arena. It is not for the faint of heart. Political campaigns can become nasty and personal, but cheating to win should never be tolerated. Using a past endorsement is cheating. It’s more than a little inconsistent when a ‘values’ candidate lies and cheats. It is a fact that situational ethics has become a part of the campaigning process. Unprincipled candidates may practice it, but candidates with real convictions will win or lose on principle.
Let’s talk for a moment about negative campaigning. Most voters will tell you they hate ‘negative’ campaigns. Then why do candidates and campaigns resort to ‘negative’ campaigning? The reason is simple- IT WORKS. A negative campaign creates a buzz and moves the needle. Negative campaigns are like a car wreck- we can’t look away. What exactly is negative campaigning? Here are some guidelines: Pointing out an opponent’s voting record is not negative campaigning. Caricaturing their voting record is negative. Pointing out an opponent’s lack of experience, education or training is not negative. Exaggerating the difference between you and your opponent is negative. Exposing your opponent’s voting history is not negative. In fact, it should be required that every candidate on the ballot be required to disclose how often they vote. You would be shocked to know that many elected officials don’t bother to vote. If they don’t care enough to show up to vote, why do they want to be an elected official?Next Tuesday, August 26th is the primary run-off in Oklahoma. There are a limited number of Republican races across the state. Check with your local election board for specifics. You can vote in-person absentee on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the county court house. Make sure you know who really ‘endorsed’ who before you vote or better yet, find out where the candidates stand on important issues.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Weekly Opinion Editorial
LAME DUCKS COULD BE A PROBLEM!
by Steve Fair
In 1990, Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved term limits for the state legislature. A person can serve no more than twelve (12) years combined in both chambers. One of the major arguments the critics of terms limits voiced was that Oklahomans would have poorer state government because of the loss of all the institutional knowledge of the long serving state lawmakers. They insisted that lobbyists and bureaucrats would run the state if term limits were enacted. They said the turnover of legislators would be devastating. Bear in mind, Oklahoma state government was arguably one of the most corrupt in the nation before term limits. Term limits have been good for Oklahoma. And it appears the turnover in the legislature is about the same as it was before term limits.
A recent study by the Oklahoma Policy Institute showed the average Oklahoma state legislator now hangs around an average of about seven years, compared to also the same period before term limits. The OPI concludes term limits have given rise to overly ambitious lawmakers with little experience. They write: “Oklahoma political observers are in near unanimous agreement that term limits have had profound and far-ranging effects on the Oklahoma legislature. In the view of many journalists, legislative and agency staffers, and lobbyists, today’s legislators are significantly less experienced than were their predecessors. Short legislative careers are taken to mean that legislators are less familiar with policy issues, agency operations, public finances, and the legislative process itself. With less time to rise through the ranks to leadership, term-limited legislators are often seen as more overtly ambitious and more beholden to lobbyists than in pre-term limit days.” Three observations:
First, the OK Policy Institute (OPI) is a liberal think tank, so consider the source. Their website claims they are non-partisan and independent, but the fact is six of the nine members of the board of directors are registered Democrats and the Chairman of the Board of OPI is a former staff member for the late Congressman Mike Synar. Synar was one of the most liberal members of Congress ever elected from Oklahoma. It’s far from unanimous among Oklahoma political observers that term limits have not worked. In fact, the conclusion is quite the opposite. You have to understand OPI’s reason for attacking term limits. In their mind, Democrats lost the state legislature, and ultimately state government, because Oklahomans enacted term limits, but the fact is Democrats lost the hearts and minds of Oklahomans because of their liberal stance on the issues. Term limits just accelerated the process.
Second, term limits has revealed a gap in Oklahoma government that needs to be plugged. Currently there is no mechanism for voters to hold a term limited legislator or a statewide elected official accountable. At a recent event, a Republican legislator was overheard telling people that he didn’t care what they thought about one of his votes because he wasn’t going to be on the ballot again. That’s a problem. If an elected official believes they are not going to have to answer to their constituents, they may just stop listening to their constituents. Without recall citizens just have to ‘wait them out’ and a lot of damage can be done by a lame duck in a four year term. Recall is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before his or her term has ended. Recalls are initiated when sufficient voters sign a petition. Many states have recall provisions in their state constitutions. Oklahoma needs to add it to ours-even more so since we have term limits.Third, uninformed voters are the problem, not lobbyists. OPI mistakenly blames lobbyists- who often just represent groups of people- as being a problem. It is true that some legislators are unduly influenced by lobbyists and special interests. They are hypnotized by the tickets and tinker toys they give them, but that’s not the fundamental problem. The problem is voters who elect clueless candidates that know nothing about the issues once they are elected. Lobbyists and special interests are more than happy to educate them and that is how we get bad government. Voters must vet the candidates and cast their vote based on issues and not on the color of yard signs or some clever mailer. Georgia Williams, a long time Comanche County political activist, says “Voters need to know where our candidates stand on issues relevant to the growth and productivity of our state and getting government off the backs of the citizenry! Voters have a responsibility to know who and what they are voting on.”
Monday, August 4, 2014
Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair
On March 30, 1981, former White House press secretary James Brady was wounded in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley Jr. On Monday Brady died at the age of 73. His name became forever associated with gun control after the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was signed into law by President Clinton on November 30, 1993. The Brady Act requires that background checks be conducted on individuals before a firearm may be purchased from a federally licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer—unless an exception applies.
The Brady Act was initially proposed in 1987, but the National Rifle Association and other second amendment groups were able to keep it from becoming law for six years. After its passage, the NRA funded lawsuits that made their way through the court system to the Supreme Court challenging Brady’s constitutionality based on the tenth amendment- state’s rights. The NRA argued that local and state law enforcement officers should not be compelled to do background checks. The Supreme Court ruled in the NRA’s favor, but gave the option of conducting the checks to local law enforcement. The vast majority continued doing business as usual and the net effect was no change.
In an average year over seven million background checks are run on those purchasing guns with 120,000 a year turned down.(1.7%). Has the Brady Bill been effective? What has been its net impact on America?
First, Brady Bill background checks haven’t reduced crime. Crime rates have actually risen in the twenty years since the bill was signed. Think about it- only a stupid or a desperate criminal would attempt to buy a gun to commit a crime and risk submitting to a background check. He will buy his gun in some dark alley. The background checks are nothing but an inconvenience and a hassle to the honest citizen. The criminal is going to get his gun illegally. The NRA is right when it says that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.
Second, every citizen has a God given right to defend themselves. The founders knew this considered it to be an unalienable right. The Declaration of Independence affirms that by stating that, "it is their [the people's] Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government [i.e., a tyrannical one], and to provide new Guards for their future Security." This statement presupposes a people's right of self-defense. King George believed that the right of self-defense originated in government, not in the people. Our founders believed that right originated from the Creator.
Third, the fundamental problem is the nature of man. Man has a depraved nature- a wicked sin nature. Without the regenerating work of God in his heart, he will be eternally separated from his Creator. Sin is in the heart before it’s in the hand. Cain killed Able before guns. Good public policy must always recognize the fundamental problem with mankind is his nature. George Washington understood it when he said; “It is vain to exclaim against the depravity of human nature on this account; the fact is so, the experience of every age and nation has proved it and we must in a great measure, change the constitution of man, before we can make it otherwise. No institution, not built on the presumptive truth of these maxims can succeed."
The Brady Bill simply wasn’t needed because murder, robbery, assault and other violent crimes were already illegal. The Brady Bill has done nothing but erode the liberty of honest Americans. James Brady may have been sincere, but he was sincerely wrong. He may have been a good press secretary, but he was a disaster as a policy maker. His legacy will be one that has made Americans less free.Now every time some deranged individual kills unarmed Americans, the liberals proclaim we need fewer guns and more gun laws. They want to disarm everyone, wrongly believing that will prevent violence. The only person in American who has disarmed is the honest American who has a fundamental right to defend himself.