Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Are You Ready For Some Football Metaphors?

"This is about winning campaigns. I come from the Vince Lombardi school: 'Winning is everything.'" -- Rep. Rahm Emanuel

In your Chicago Sun-Times, Lynn Sweet reports that Rep. Luis Gutierrez accuses Rahm Enamuel of forcing Dem teammates to lie down instead of even trying to block a "vicious and vile" Republican immigration bill.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an architect of Democratic immigration policy, is accusing Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the chairman of the House political operation, of cajoling Democrats facing tough re-election races in 2006 to vote for a controversial GOP-authored immigration bill. ***

Friday, the House approved an immigration bill by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) that most Democrats regarded as anti-immigrant and needlessly punitive. It is unlikely to survive in the Senate. The measure was approved 239-182, with 36 Democrats voting with the GOP majority.

"As painful as it is for me to come to this conclusion, after careful examination of all of the events last Friday I have come to the conclusion that indeed the chair of the DCCC either asked, encouraged or cajoled people to vote for the Sensenbrenner bill," Gutierrez told me.

"And that is the conclusion I have come to. And that is what I believed happened. And I think that as Democrats we have to stand courageously for what we believe in and not look for what is expedient," he said.

The Hill, a newspaper covering Congress, ran a story Tuesday about how members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and their allies were "furious" that Emanuel and Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) were lobbying incumbents who were GOP targets next year to vote "yes" on Sensenbrenner.

Emanuel and Hoyer voted no.

I got a call Tuesday from Josh Hoyt, head of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Triggered by the Hill story, Hoyt said the group is holding a press conference this morning in Chicago to criticize House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Emanuel for "taking the lead into turning immigrants into a political football." Hoyt told me that Gutierrez sent a letter to Emanuel excoriating him for his tampering.
The Hill has more this morning:
The bill, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and opposed by the CHC and many Hispanic groups, would expand detention facilities and border controls, and would impose work-force restrictions on employers seeking to hire illegal immigrants.

[Congressional Hispanic Caucus] members had been speaking passionately against the bill all last week.

"The Sensenbrenner bill is a vicious and vile attack on our nation’s hardworking immigrant community," Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said Wednesday. "This horrible piece of legislation is not only ill-conceived and fundamentally flawed, but it also will not fix our nation’s broken immigration system."

All the CHC members voted against the bill save one, Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.), a Frontline member who voted to back the bill after being lobbied on the House floor by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the House Democrats’ campaign operation, and by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House sources said. ***

“Mr. Salazar was certainly in one of the most difficult positions because this bill did damage to his community,” [Cecilia Munoz, vice president for policy at the National Council of La Raza] said. “It was pretty clear he was pressured by the DCCC in very hard-hitting way. ***

Emanuel had said privately earlier in the week that he did not wish to spend money defending Democrats who had voted against the enforcement bill, a House source said.
Well, sports fans, I am sure that a cynic could identify some lesson for Illinois 6th District primary voters in that story, but its all just too subtle for me.

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