Tag Archive: immigration

Pope Francis vs. the Republicans

Pope Francis t-shirt vendors

Pope Francis t-shirt vendors

“The Catholic Church is now more progressive on both science and social issues than the GOP.” That’s the message coming from the humorous meme site lolworthy.com, accompanied by a photo of an astronaut on a spacewalk. Once again, the humorists have it right. The visit of Pope Francis to the United States is most noteworthy in the contrast between the Pope’s hopeful, humanistic message and the negative reaction from many in the Republican party.

Speaking before a joint session of Congress on Thursday, Pope Francis said some things that appeared to go against current Republican dogma:

Messaging Maxim #8: Don’t use the other side’s labels

Protesters opposing Arizona anti-immigrant law

Protesters opposing Arizona anti-immigrant law

Republicans and conservatives, which are curently one and the same, love to come up with short, catchy labels for things. Here’s a list of popular Republican political phrases. Those labels and phrases are always loaded, either in favor of the Republicans, against the Democrats, or both. So, if you’re a Democrat, a liberal or a progressive, why would you ever use those Republican labels, making them even more popular so they get taken up by the mainstream media and become part of our vernacular? The answer is, you shouldn’t. But plenty of Democrats, liberals and progressives are making this mistake lately. Here are a few examples of Republican-loaded phrases that Democrats, and thus the mainstream media, are using all over the place. Hopefully, these will serve as a reminder to cut it out:

Republicans on a losing streak

Republican Presidential hopeful Scott Walker in London

Republican Presidential hopeful Scott Walker in London

If someone had told you that, in the months after the Republican Party’s historic 2014 Congressional election wins, Republicans would suffer one self-inflicted defeat and embarrassment after another, you might have told that person that he was nuts. But that is exactly what has happened to the Republican Party since last November’s elections. Here are some of the highlights, or more accurately, lowlights:

President Obama’s striking town hall meeting on immigration

Protester at 2010 immigration reform rally

Protester at 2010 immigration reform rally

Yesterday, President Barack Obama participated in a town hall meeting on immigration, hosted by Jose Diaz-Barlart of Telemundo network and held before an audience at Florida International University in Miami. The Obama town hall meeting, broadcast on Telemundo and MSNBC, was striking for several reasons:

First, Diaz-Balart (who was shrill and seemed to be yelling much of the time) and some members of the audience displayed a shocking lack of knowledge about how the United States government works. They need to reread their U.S. Constitution, or at least watch Schoolhouse Rock. For example, Diaz-Balart seemed exasperated at the Obama administration that a federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked Obama’s recent executive action on immigration (which would suspend many deportations in order to keep families together) from taking place. Diaz-Balart asked Obama:

How long will it take?  Because a lot of people are asking.  They said, we were 24 hours away from registering for the expanded DACA and just months from DAPA.  This happens 12 hours before.  What’s going to happen now? How long is it going to take?  And, again, a lot of the questions are, was the President caught by surprise?  And why is it taking so long?  This is what we’re getting, Mr. President.

Republicans begin new year in extreme ways

Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise

Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise

Republicans, who won big in last November’s elections, have already trotted out extreme positions, statements and behavior for the new year. If this trend of GOP extremism continues, it could be one of the biggest issues of 2015.

President Obama’s stunning comeback on immigration

Rally for Immigration Reform, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2010

Rally for Immigration Reform, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2010

Americans might be calling President Barack Obama the Comeback Kid. After historic mid-term election losses for his Democratic Party just over two weeks ago, President Obama, with a 15-minute announcement last night, has now maneuvered himself into the position of (a) going on offense by taking action on immigration reform; (b) igniting the hopes and the hearts of millions of Latino Americans, who comprise one of the fasting growing voting blocs in the U.S.; and (c) making the Republicans look both lazy and mean at the same time.

Framing the new Republican majority

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R)

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R)

President Barack Obama and other White House officials (such as Communications Director  Jennifer Palmieri and Press Secretary Josh Earnest) have been quick to characterize Tuesday’s Republican Election Night victories as the beginning of a period of Republicans being “partners in governing” the United States. For example, at his post-election press conference on Wednesday, President Obama said:

… So I look forward to Republicans putting forward their governing agenda…. I am very eager to hear Republican ideas for what they think we can do together over the next couple of years…. I’m looking forward to them putting forward a very specific agenda in terms of what they would like to accomplish…. And what we’re going to make sure that we do is to reach out to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, who are now running both chambers in Congress, and find out what their agenda is. And my hope is, is that they’ve got some specific things they want to do that correspond with some things that we want to get done…. They’re the majority. They need to present their agenda.

This is an important Democratic frame, because, up to now, the Republicans have acted as a minority party even though they held a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. However, President Obama tried this “shared responsibility” frame once before, after Republicans took over the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, and the frame did not stick. The question is whether Republicans will be held responsible for co-governing now that they will also run the U.S. Senate.

Republicans suddenly love Big Government

George W. and John McCain share birthday cake in Arizona as Katrina hits New Orleans, 2005

George W. and John McCain share birthday cake in Arizona as Katrina hits New Orleans, 2005

One of the Republican Party’s key tenets — indeed, one of its mantras — for decades has been “smaller government.” Recall Republican President Ronald Reagan‘s 1986 speech, where he stated:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’

In recent weeks, however, Republicans have been calling for all kinds of Big Government:

Did video help defeat Eric Cantor?

As we said over three years ago in Messaging Maxim #3, There’s an Invention Called Video, some Republicans (older white male Republicans in particular) seem to have trouble grasping the fact that statements they make on video are forever, and can come back to haunt them. This week, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor may have been hurt by the video maxim in a different way: being overly cautious about what he put on video.