The Free Press, Mankato, MN


August 25, 2013

The GOP dodge on immigration

Some argue few political repercussions for failure

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., has now shown what it would look like if House Republicans seek to kill immigration reform while trying to evade blame for it. Worse for Democrats, the GOP might not face electoral repercussions for killing reform in next year’s midterms.

“The bills that House Republicans do support may go nowhere,” the Huffington Post’s Elise Foley reported Goodlatte as saying at a town hall last week.

“ ‘Will the Senate agree to them? I don’t know,’ Goodlatte said. ‘But I don’t think Republicans in the House . . . should back away from setting forth the right way to do things.’

“ ‘Even if it doesn’t go all the way through to be signed by this president . . . it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least show the American people that we are interested in solving this very serious problem that we have in our country.’ “

One way to read this: As long as House Republicans pass a few immigration reform measures of their own, they will have demonstrated to the American people that they want to solve the problem, and it won’t matter whether their efforts result in a compromise with Democrats.

Ultimately, the fate of immigration reform rests with the GOP leadership. But the electoral consequences of killing reform almost certainly won’t be felt until after 2014.

Washington Post

Christie and gay conversion therapy

More than a decade ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that patients and their parents “avoid any treatments that claim to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation, or treatment ideas that see homosexuality as a sickness.” Last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie officially endorsed this point of view.

Christie signed a bill banning licensed therapists from trying to “convert” gay teens to heterosexuality. For that he received stinging criticism from conservative anti-gay groups. It’s possible, however — hard as it may be to imagine — that Christie’s supporters are exaggerating the political courage he showed by signing this legislation. It’s also possible to overthink the more legitimate debate it raises.

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