- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 7, 2014

“The president meets the press. Will he meet with undocumented immigrants?” asks Pablo Alvarado, director of National Day Laborer Organizing Network, a Los Angeles-based grass-roots membership group. “We feel strongly that undocumented immigrants are the most qualified people to persuade President Obama to do the right thing at this moment.”

Mr. Alvarado is referencing both Mr. Obama’s decision to delay executive action on immigration until after the midterm elections as well as his exclusive interview on “Meet the Press” on Sunday. The appearance did not sit well with the organization, which has officially named Mr. Obama the “Deporter in Chief.” That’s just the beginning though. Mr. Alvarado is among many Hispanics who expressed much displeasure in the rapidly moving events that have become politicized — and emotionally charged as well.

“It’s clear that playing it safe is what is going on at the White House and among Democratic circles. And playing it safe means walking away from our values and our principles,” Rep. Luis V. Guitterrez told ABC News in the aftermath.

“President Barack Obama in the last five years has deported more people than any other president in the history of the United States,” the Illinois Democrat noted. “Playing it safe might win an election. Sometimes you lose an election playing it safe also. But it almost never leads to fairness, to justice and to good public policy that you can be proud of.”

HOLA, REPUBLICANOS



Democratic strategists have reasoned that if President Obama reconstructed immigration policy without the help of Congress, then infuriated conservatives would race to the polls en masse on Nov. 4, guaranteeing that the Republican Party would take back the U.S. Senate. It is a viable narrative, given that the GOP only needs six Senate seats for a victory. But could the strategy compromise Hispanic loyalty to the Democratic Party in the presidential bout? The potential size of the Hispanic voting bloc has been estimated to be as high as 30 million, and traditionally framed as true blue and Democratic. According to 2012 exit polls, Mr. Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote; Mitt Romney garnered 27 percent.

Dismay of Democrats could alter his trajectory, augmented by a motivated GOP. Last year the Republican National Committee organized an aggressive Spanish-language outreach, including the active Twitter feed “RNCLatino,” to woo potential fans — and continues to do so. Heritage Foundation fellow Mike Gonzalez now counsels Republicans to appeal to “Hispanics’ inner pride and their Spanish sense of moral code.” And of particular note is the LIBRE Initiative, a nonprofit reported to be funded by business mavens Charles and David Koch.

“LIBRE is dedicated to informing the U.S. Hispanic community about the benefits of a constitutionally limited government, property rights, rule of law, sound money supply and free enterprise through a variety of community events, research and policy initiatives that protect our economic freedom. Our mission is to equip the Hispanic community with the tools they need to be prosperous,” the group says in its mission statement.

“The Latino electorate is at a crossroads,” notes executive director Daniel Garza.

EXACTING A TOLL FOR ‘BRIDGEGATE’

Though a slimmer, more nimble New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has put “Bridgegate” behind him, the Democratic Party is not about to allow the traffic controversy a free trip down the political highway. On Monday the Democratic National Committee marks the one-year anniversary of the day the Christie administration shut down lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge with an event of their own.

Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, New Jersey Democratic Party Chairman John Currie and local Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman will appear at a park adjacent to the busy bridge itself for a press conference — and to launch newfangled ads critical of Mr. Christie, electronically targeted to passing commuters. No, the spots are not appearing on toll booths, but they will be heard on a targeted radio app and seen on mobile phones, according to press secretary Michael Czin.

And the script: “Gridlock. That’s what happened one year ago in Fort Lee, when the Christie administration shut down lanes to the GWB. But it’s also what Chris Christie has brought to New Jersey — wrecking our economy and losing our trust.”

A TALE OF THREE GOVERNORS

Where’s Texas Gov. Rick Perry? Why, in Japan and China for a week, of course, appearing in three major cities and primed to address the American Chamber of Commerce on Monday and the World Economic Forum on Friday, among many audiences. Mr. Perry is buoyed by the fact that Texas exported close to 11 billion in goods to China last year, and he anticipates more of same.

But where’s California Gov. Jerry Brown? Why, with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course. The pair are staging a climatepalooza in Sacramento to celebrate California as a “global leader in the fight against climate change,” joined by such notables as green-minded actor Ed Begley Jr., local officials, tycoons, academics and scientists. Mr. Schwarzenegger, who seems intent on staging a Hollywood comeback these days, will remain in the role of governor a little while longer: A half-hour after the climate event ends, he heads to the state capitol rotunda for the unveiling of his official governor’s portrait.

MR. TODD’S DEBUT

A few reviews for Chuck Todd’s debut — goatee and all — as the 12th moderator for “Meet the Press”:

“Facial hair notwithstanding, the new ‘Press’ still feels a lot like the old ‘Press.’ ” (Variety)

“Little about Todd’s first hour redefined Sunday talk-showing as we know it. And it was almost as if Todd, a likable and eminently sincere presence on the television screen, knew it.” (Washington Post)

“Not radically different than David Gregory‘s, but the show was certainly livelier, less stuffy. The biggest changes were not in content, but in tone.” (Huffington Post)

“In trying to resurrect the ultimate politics show, Todd was conducting more than moderating, crafting an outside-the-Beltway image for an inside-the-Beltway institution. He was constructing the impossible, and he is building the perfect show for nobody to watch.” (The Guardian)

POLL DU JOUR

• 56 percent of Americans say they are “falling behind” financially; 59 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents agree.

• 37 percent overall say they are “staying even” financially; 35 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of Democrats and 37 percent of independents agree.

• 54 percent overall say national economic conditions will be the same in a year; 51 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of independents agree.

• 45 percent overall report “one or more financial problems” in the last year; 40 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of independents agree.

• 22 percent overall say the economy will get better; 15 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of independents agree.

• 22 percent overall say the economy will get worse; 31 percent of Republicans, 11 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,501 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 20-24 and released Friday.

• Perky reminders, pesky truths to [email protected]

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