Friday, May 19, 2006

Freedom Fries 2: Electric Boogaloo

An increasingly desperate Republican Congress has decided to rejuvenate its fortunes by buckling down and tackling the country's biggest problem—national healthcare, a potentially illegal surveillance program, an out of contol deficit...No, our lack of an official language...

Yes, hot on the heels of the War on Christmas and the gay assault on the sancticty of marriage, is the very real and terrifying threat to the English language in America.
"After an emotional debate fraught with symbolism, the Senate yesterday voted to make English the "national language" of the United States, declaring that no one has a right to federal communications or services in a language other than English except for those already guaranteed by law.

The measure, approved 63 to 34, directs the government to "preserve and enhance" the role of English, without altering current laws that require some government documents and services be provided in other languages. Opponents, however, said it could negate executive orders, regulations, civil service guidances and other multilingual ordinances not officially sanctioned by acts of Congress."

Apparently, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who pushed this idea yesterday, wanted to make English the "official" language, but couldn't muster enough votes to pass it. Instead, English has been designated the "national" language as a powerful symbolic statement of America's … English-speaking ways. Or something. It's not entirely clear.

The Inhofe proposal was a hit with Republicans, who seem anxious to prove to their conservative base that they may not be able to pass an immigration bill, but they can show how unilingual they are. Of the 34 opposing votes, there were 32 Dems, one independent who votes with the Dems (Jeffords), and one Republican who represents a state with a large Hispanic population (New Mexico's Pete Domenici). I guess the GOP didn't want to compete for Hispanic votes in the future anyway.

That's from the always excellent Carpetbagger

This is such a craven appeal to the mouthbreathing, jingo-paranoid base I'm not even sure this is a net gain for Republicans, never mind supposedly big-tent Democrats! Why any Dem would support this defies logic.

Republicans had made headway with the Latino base under Bush, and he had made appeals to that bloc with his nominees. They were even supposed to be aggressively courting the Latino vote, using pro-life and religious rhetoric to help, hoping to peel the fastest growing segment of the population away from Democrats. I even think Bush set out to propose a immigration policy palatable to Latinos...but this immigration thing is off its axis now, and the Republicans are careening out of control with it.

The wedge has been turned around on them and their own party is split. This kind of thing comes from the portion of the party that is stuck in the past and fears anything new and not white. This will cost them way more Latino votes than Alberto gonzales will gain them, and hopefully peels off embarrassed moderates as well, all to placate the 30% that they already, and will always, have locked up.

While I think it is a sad display, and I do not want to see such paranoid and basically racist stuff debated on the floor of the Senate, if it hastens the demise of this Republican majority, it's a setback I can live with.

What I can't live with is this:
Baucus (D-MT)
Byrd (D-WV)
Carper (D-DE)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Johnson (D-SD)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)

Those are the Dems that voted "Yea."

Even if you are of the opinion that English should be the official or national language, at this point it serves no purpose to lend these Republican antics any legitimacy. These dumb symbolic votes should be reflexive "no" votes for Dems, so when they are pointed out for the bullshit that they are, there is no veil of "bipartisan."

In my opinion, for a Dem to go along with this is even worse than a Republican proposing it. Nice job, you fucking clowns.


BenC said...

Awfully furious.

Mr Furious said...

What can I say? It's not only preposterous and a complete waste of time, it's completely worthless legislatively. A meaningless gesture. So, yeah, it pisses me off.

And for any Dem to get suckered in is beyond stupid.

I took this act over to Balloon Juice, so there is likely to be more activity over there if you're interested.

Anonymous said...

States Right's surrenders.

S.W. Anderson said...

Inhofe is beyond provincial. He's the senatorial equivalent of an ingrown toenail — and just as nasty at times, as I've seen on C-SPAN.

As for the Democrats who voted for this, it may be worth keeping a couple of things in mind.

First, the only reason the Republicans did this was to gin up support among their base. Like their amendment against same-sex marriage, it's a bid for wedge-issue brownie points. They figure the more Democrats they can catch voting against it, especially from purple and red states, the better their chances in November. In the meantime, a riled up base of 16th-century types makes for more donations.

Now,look at what states those yea-voting Dems are from. I rest my case.