Saturday, December 8, 2007

George Will has an interesting column on Republican challenges to "No Child Left Behind," particularly focusing on Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI)'s "Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act of 2007," which would try to return more authority on education to state boards and local school districts.
Biden rising? In addition to this recent American Research Group poll showing Joe Biden overtaking Bill Richardson for fourth place among likely Democratic caucus goers (rising to 8%), Insider Advantage has come out with another poll suggesting that, of all Democrats, Biden has gained the most among South Carolina Democrats since July 2007 (an American Research Group poll also has Biden gaining--though not by as much). Real Clear Politics offers this breakdown:
Obama 26 (-2 vs. last poll, July 23-24)
Clinton 24 (-19)
Edwards 15 (+2)
Biden 10 (+6)
Richardson 2 (-3)
Biden hasn't yet seen these gains in IA and SC be translated into much growth in the national polls. The Washington Times has more on Biden's ambitions for Iowa.
A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit challenging Arizona's new immigration-enforcement law, but the legal fight isn't over:

In his ruling on Friday, U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake wrote that the lawsuit was premature because there was no evidence that anybody had been harmed, and that the plaintiffs—a coalition of business and immigrant rights groups—were suing the wrong people.

The ruling said the law gives only investigatory authority to the governor and state attorney general, who were named as defendants. Wake said county prosecutors, who weren't defendants, actually have the power to enforce the law.

The plaintiffs had asked for a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect. Farrell Quinlan, a spokesman for business groups in the suit, said they planned to file more information with the judge to answer what he sees as shortcomings in the complaint.

Alfredo Gutierrez, a spokesman for immigrant rights groups, said they plan to refile the lawsuit after Jan. 1, when they might be able to show damages caused by the law.

The law will go into effect on January 1. It would require employers to verify the legal status of their new hires.

(H/T: Malkin)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Some of the Democratic leadership sounds unhappy with Constitutional checks and balances:

“As an amateur student of constitutional history and as a member of Congress, I have come to the conclusion that the Senate was a historic mistake,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the No. 4 Democrat.

And for some freshman lawmakers, who came to Washington hoping to do big things for the American people, the late-session circus has been disconcerting.

Centralize, centralize! (H/T Hot Air)

Yesterday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) won the Senate Republican Conference chairmanship 31-16.
Huckabee unveils a new immigration platform. Krikorian's impressed; others are more skeptical.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Current market conditions and the failure of the "grand bargain" for immigration reform in the summer seem to be encouraging some of the (Brazilian) "undocumented" to return to their native country.
A lot of folks have been talking about this story in which Fred Thompson says that the US federal government should not be "tell[ing] you what to eat." This claim becomes more pointed when read in the context of Sen. Harkin (D-IA)'s proposal for the federal government to regulate what can--or cannot--be served in public school cafeterias: "a national ban on selling candy, sugary soda and salty, fatty food in school snack bars, vending machines and à la carte cafeteria lines." More details about the legislation:

The nutrition standards would allow only plain bottled water and eight-ounce servings of fruit juice or plain or flavored low-fat milk with up to 170 calories to be sold in elementary and middle schools. High school students could also buy diet soda or, in places like school gyms, sports drinks. Other drinks with as many as 66 calories per eight ounces could be sold in high schools, but that threshold would drop to 25 calories per eight-ounce serving in five years.

Food for sale would have to be limited in saturated and trans fat and have less than 35 percent sugar. Sodium would be limited, and snacks must have no more than 180 calories per serving for middle and elementary schools and 200 calories for high schools.

Coming back to Thompson:

Thompson, ever a fan of small government, said healthy living should be the responsibilities of families first.

"We shouldn’t be looking at the federal government in Washington first and working our way down, it ought to be just the other way around. With that, or whether you're talking about education, there's some things the federal government can't do," said Thompson.

However, it seems to me that this question is not only about the size of government but also how government should be organized. Should there be a top-down federal bureaucracy that decides what foods are healthy and that tells schools which foods they cannot sell, or should school districts be able decide what foods to serve? How much power should a federal regulatory body have, and how much detail should it go into? Thompson, in his approach to federalism, seems more skeptical about the value of this top-down approach and seems to have much more of an interest in allowing for a diversity of approaches to various problems/issues.
Quinnipiac's released a new set of polls of voters in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In addition to the presidential results, there are these immigration numbers showing significant majorities for increased enforcement (rather than legalization) amongst these voters:
19. Do you think immigration reform should primarily move in the direction of integrating illegal immigrants into American society or in the direction of stricter enforcement of laws against illegal immigration?

........................FL Rep Dem Ind

Intg immigrants 24% 15% 34% 23%
Enforcement 66 76 56 67
DK/NA 10 9 11 10

........................OH Rep Dem Ind

Intg immigrants 20% 11% 28% 20%
Enforcement 71 83 64 68
DK/NA 9 6 8 12

........................PA Rep Dem Ind

Intg immigrants 19% 9% 26% 25%
Enforcement 72 82 64 68
DK/NA 9 9 11 7
Interestingly, these polls show that political independents are, overall, least likely (compared to Republicans and Democrats) to vote for a candidate they otherwise agree with if that candidate holds views of immigration policy they disagree with.  2/3 of polled independents want further enforcement measures.
The White House writes to K-Lo about its immigration enforcement mechanisms:
...I just wanted to take a moment to update you and (and NR's readers) on immigration enforcement, specifically the No-Match rule.

DHS Secretary Chertoff announced today the Administration will pursue a dual track approach to address current litigation against the rule. As you will recall, in October San Francisco federal district court Judge Charles Breyer issued a preliminary injunction against the regulation, preventing the Administration from sending out a revised No Match letter to employers.

The new No Match Rule was one of the 26 steps President Bush announced in August to strengthen enforcement of our immigration system and would be a major step in preventing employment of illegal immigrants. (For information on the other initiatives, see the White House website:

To address the three concerns on which Judge Breyer based the injunction, DHS will soon issue a supplement to the No-Match Rule. The Administration hopes this additional rulemaking will further strengthen the rule, allowing the courts to let the rule to go into effect as soon as possible.

Second, the Administration is pressing ahead with an appeal to the Ninth Circuit – the Justice Department filed an appeal on behalf of DHS today.

The Administration is serious about enforcement efforts and is doing everything it can to get the No Match rule moving forward as quickly as possible.

All the best,


Kerrie Rushton
Deputy Director, Office Of Strategic Initiatives
The White House
Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris have a little conversation about immigration.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hutchison's out of the race for Senate Republican Conference Chair: that leaves Burr (R-NC) and Alexander (R-TN). The Politico has more on the details of this race.
"Feiler Faster" Primaries? In addition to the "feiler faster thesis"'s application to the search for "outsider" status in the presidential primaries, could the search for the Anti-Candidate also be feilerized? A lot of pundits have talked about the search for the anti-Giuliani in the Republican primaries, but now, with the seeming "Huckaboom" could there also be a search for the anti-Huckabee? Over at Hot Air, the anti-Huckabee movement's already taking shape:
If trends continue, we’re looking at a soft-border tax-and-spend nominee in Huck. Why not a soft-border nominee [i.e. McCain] who’s good on the war and somewhat better than Huckabee on spending?
With rumors of Huckabee and Giuliani having a "nonaggression pact" flying, maybe Giuliani is hoping to pose himself as the anti-Huckabee and Huckabee as the anti-Giuliani so that they could seal off the race from other candidates. But aren't there plenty of areas (immigration, for example) where Giuliani and Huckabee overlap? And where other Republicans (e.g. Thompson, who seems to hold different views on both immigration and federal power than Huckabee) might offer a different course?

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Politico has an interesting story about how immigration and its politics may be shaking up conventional Democratic and Republican coalitions. It also has a survey of five races in which immigration may be a campaign issue: a Republican challenging a Democrat as "weak" on enforcement, a Democrat challenging a Republican as "weak" on border security, one Republican potentially challenging another (Chris Cannon, a famous proponent of "comprehensive immigration reform"), and a PA race in which Lou Barletta (R) (of Hazleton fame) may challenge a 20-year Democratic incumbent. Then, there's this interesting race:

Democratic Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, usually a liberal stalwart, was the only member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to back a tough-on-immigration proposal earlier this year.

That’s probably smart politics in a West Texas district that gave President Bush 57 percent of the vote in 2004.

But it could also come back to bite him politically in a district that is nearly two-thirds Hispanic. Rodriguez’s likely Republican opponent is self-funding businessman Quico Canseco, who wants tough enforcement measures to battle illegal immigration.
Canseco sounds very skeptical of the "grand bargain," and his website says this about "immigration" (which is at the top of his list of "issues"):
Immigration: We take great pride that our country is one of a few in the history of the world where people are trying to get in instead of out. We are a bastion of freedom and liberty composed of a population of immigrants from all over the world. The success of America is its constitution, its laws and its common language. When we begin to discard one or the other of these tenants of our society, we tear away the very fabric of what has guaranteed our national survival. As a nation, we must not condone illegal entry into our country. We must take all measures to secure our porous border, and to protect our nation’s sovereignty. America is a welcoming nation and it should continue to extend a warm welcome to those that want to enter in accordance with the laws, the rules and the regulations for entry. Those that do so otherwise disrespect our nation’s sovereignty and they must not benefit by their illegal trespass.
Hot Air has some clips up of George Stephanopoulos's interview with Mike Huckabee that touched on Huckabee's support for various programs to help the "undocumented" attend Arkansas institutions of higher education. It gets a little testy!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Mike Huckabee has said that he would sign a nation-wide ban on smoking in the workplace and has said that he has signed a measure in Arkansas that bans smoking in every workplace. Well, there's a cheap kind of gotcha moment (especially cheap because Huckabee even admits in this clip that that bars and restaurants don't count) in the fact that a number of workplaces are exempt:
The state still has a large number of businesses -- 394 -- that have opted out of the ban. The law allows smoking areas in certain businesses, including small hotels and motels, retail tobacco stores and businesses with fewer than three employees. The law also includes an exemption for bars and restaurants that don't admit people under 21.

Most of the exemptions granted -- 293 -- were for bars and restaurants. Others are mostly for small businesses and small hotels. Tobacco shops, nursing homes and the Oaklawn Park race track in Hot Springs and the Southland Park greyhound track in West Memphis are exempt under the original law and did not need to seek their own exemptions.
However, also interesting is the means used to enforce this smoking ban in Arkansas. The state is increasing its enforcement of this measure:
Arkansas health director Paul Halverson said the state in July dropped its policy of waiting until after multiple complaints have been lodged to inspect a business accused of violating the ban, which took effect last year. Now, the state conducts inspections after one complaint.

"What we did was move to a more aggressive position," Halverson said.

Since July 1, the state has conducted 74 inspections of 45 businesses accused of violating the smoking ban. In the first year of the ban, the state had only conducted 23 inspections, according to the Department of Health.

Legislators approved the ban during a 2006 special legislative session after then-Gov. Mike Huckabee backed it as a way to protect workers' health. Since the ban took effect in 2006, the state has received 665 complaints by phone and online.

Health officials said the number of inspections reflect initial inspections and some unannounced follow-up inspections of businesses.
Would a federal ban signed by Huckabee have the same enforcement provisions?