Category Archives: Immigration

Learning from the past – Fear wins

So, ever since I heard about livingroomcandidate.org on Slate’s Political Gabfest, I’ve been hooked. It’s a roundup of almost all of the presidential ads since 1952. Some of the ads are pure genius (and sick) like this one, which basically said, “Vote for Johnson, or die”:

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However, for the Obama Campaign, I think several tactics can be learned from watching these videos. The first, and maybe most relevant ad, comes from none other than the prez himself:

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Message: Lie about what you bring, and disparage everything about the other candidate without even mentioning his name.
My Obama recommendation: [Kids playing in the backyard; Michelle Obama sitting next to Barack smiling] Too many Americans are out of work. Crime is on the rise. Sons and daughters are dying to support a nation that has asked Americans to get out. It’s time for a change. It’s time for hope and honesty to reign in Washington. I believe I’m the man to do this job.

But don’t talk about things that the average voter won’t get, such as a candidate’s past record (unless it has something to do with the death penalty and crime, military spending and immigration):

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Now take a look at this ad by Bush:

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My Take: Al Gore didn’t win Ohio in 2000 because he didn’t scare the average voter.

Advice: [Oil fields pumping in Saudi Arabia. Images of women getting stoned and men getting beheaded. Troops getting shot at in Baghdad. Finish with an image of Osama Bin Laden. Obama voice over.] In an era of war, we need a leader who will not back down to our supposed allies in the Middle East who allow the terrorists to run free in their hills. We can not allow our allies to terrorize their citizens because we depend on their oil. We cannot send our troops into battle without body armor or batteries to power night vision goggles. And most importantly, we cannot allow enemy No. 1 to roam free in the mountains of Pakistan. As president, I will defend this nation and hunt down the terrorists where they are.

Here’s another ad from a winning Democrat:

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My take: Take on a Republican scare issue, or several issues, and embrace them.

Advice: [Begin with Osama’s face] Terrorism is our No. 1 enemy. A dependence on oil from the Middle East is No. 2. That’s why I support a temporary increase in offshore drilling, the exploration of new nuclear power plants, and the development of clean-burning coal. We’ll need these valuable resources while we transition the United States to a new kind of energy.

Advice No. 2: [The Mexican border fence. People crawling through the mud.] We need to do a better job securing our borders. Every year billions of dollars in drugs cross into the United States. Illegal immigrants are taking Jobs away from legal immigrants and hard-working Americans. And shady employers do this because they can pay the illegal immigrants a third of what they’d have to pay legalized citizens. We need comprehensive immigration reform. We need to make it easier for immigrants to come to the United States legally. We need to give the children of immigrants the chance to fulfill the American dream. My opponent, after originally supporting immigration reform, now opposes it because he kowtowed to the Republican base. You won’t ever see that happen with me.

And finally, the Obama must avoid complicated issues:

Furloughs

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Environmental issues not focused on terrorism:

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And finally, don’t get caught doing something that doesn’t befit a candidate’s stature:
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Fear is a candidate’s most powerful tool. I’m not sure if Barack Obama can make it central to his campaign, which has been based on the theme of “hope.” But I think he needs to take on one of the fear issues that he has an advantage on: terrorism, immigration, crime in the United States, the war in Afghanistan. Without scaring the American voter and reminding them constantly that Bin Laden is still alive, the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan, and the dependence on foreign oil, Obama might not win this very winnable election.

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Go Obama: The DREAM Act and McCain’s Biggest Flip-Flop

Arthur Mkoyan, a 17-year-old Fresno teen, came to the United States with his parents when they fled the Soviet Union 15 years ago. They sought asylum in the United States. It was never granted an. Two weeks ago, Mkyoan, a 4.0 Fresno high school valedictiorian was scheduled to be deported. He was an illegal immigrant although he hadn’t seen his “home” country of Armenia since he was 2.

Wouldn’t it be better for the United States if a kid like Mkoyan was able to stay here, enroll in a university and then become a citizen than to just kick him out of the country? Doesn’t the United States need overachievers and people who will work hard just to get ahead?

This is what Sac Bee columnist Peter Schrag wrote:

Mkoyan is one of the emblems – there are thousands of others – of a self-defeating immigration policy that prefers to deport talented young people at a time when the nation faces a desperate need of skilled workers to replace the millions of baby boomers who are about to retire.

This is why Congress should have passed the DREAM Act in 2007.

The DREAM Act is aimed at giving citizenship to the following (taken from Wikipedia):

  • Proof of having arrived in the United States at age 15 or younger.
  • Proof of residence in the United States for a least five (5) consecutive years since their date of arrival.
  • Must be between the ages of 12 and 30 at time of bill enactment.
  • Having graduated from an American high school, or obtained a GED.
  • “Good moral character,” essentially defined as the absence of a significant criminal record (or any major drug charges), compliance with Selective Service laws and an absence of fraudulent information in documents.

These students would then have the opportunity to apply for citizenship after completing several educational goals.

On a personal note, one of my brightest students came up to me and confessed that she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to get into a university because of this exact issue. She’s the type of student that would help this country in the future. And she might be right about her situation. She works harder than any of my so-called “legal” students.

On to the campaign.

The funny thing is that we don’t hear anything about McCain flip-flopping on this issue when, in fact, it’s probably the biggest flip-flop in presidential campaign history.

McCain co-sponsored three versions of the DREAM Act. Then he decided that he wanted to run for president. Suddenly, he opposed this piece of legislation because there would be no way for him to earn the Republican nomination if he supported a bill that helped undocumented immigrants. So McCain fled Washington and didn’t vote to end cloture on the bill when it was caught up in a filibuster.

McCain said he knows that Republicans are more concerned about border security:

“I will secure the borders before we do anything else,” McCain said. “The borders have to be secured. I got the message. Got it.”

That sounds like a “say anything, do anything to get elected” attitude, right?

Guess who was another co-sponsor of the DREAM Act. That’s right, Barack Obama. This is what he said when it failed to make it to the Senate floor for a vote:

We need comprehensive immigration reform in this country – reform that promotes our national and economic security and creates a pathway to earned citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country. We should not punish undocumented children who were brought to this country illegally through no choice of their own by keeping them in the shadows. The DREAM Act would have given these young people the opportunity to earn a degree or serve in our military, and eventually become legalized citizens. Failing to pass the DREAM Act only compounds the immigration crisis by continuing to drive thousands of young people every year into hiding.

And guess who still supports the DREAM Act. Right, Barack Obama. Here’s Obama talking about it during a debate (at 3:40):

I know all the conservative arguments why undocumented immigrants shouldn’t be allowed to enroll into American colleges. I think they are too lame to repeat here. All I want to say is that for the party that claims to support Christian values, it’s really missing the mark on one of Christ’s most important teachings:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,/and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats./He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left./Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world./For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,/naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’/Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?/When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?/When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’/And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

But of course, the conservative party doesn’t support these Christian values. Obama’s support of the DREAM Act is one of the main reasons I’ll be voting for him come November.

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