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Here's Sen. Charles Grassley on Tuesday morning, making a really, really bad argument for why the Boston attack shows why the Senate's immigration reform bill shouldn't pass (my transcript):
It has been reported that the older Boston bomber traveled to Russia and his name was misspelled on his airline ticket [...] If this bill were to pass as is, we'll continue to rely on airline personnel to properly type a name into a computer and not on biometric identifiers.
Apparently, Sen. Grassley has no idea that immigration reform has nothing to do with how we track the names of people flying in and out of the country. It's not like natural born citizens have "John Doe" or "Jane Doe" written on their airplane tickets and passports. If there's a problem with that system, it should be addressed, but there's no inherent reason that immigration reform should wait for that fix (or vice versa).

But despite the inanity of that argument, Grassley wasn't finished. Check this out:

Moreover, if the background checks on the 12 million people who are here illegally are anything like they were in the Boston bomber [case], we're in serious trouble.
If there's a way to improve background checks, it makes sense to do it, but Grassley apparently doesn't realize that (a) the terrorists he's worried about (from the 9/11 bombers to the Tsarnaevs) have all come through the legal immigration system, not the "12 million people who are here illegally" and (b) if you want to give people background checks, you have to establish a framework for giving them legal status. If you don't create a viable legal immigration system, you won't have any background checks at all for millions of people, so by his own standards doing nothing would be worse than doing something.

Grassley's position may be stupid, but some Republicans are hoping that it will derail immigration reform. As you'll see below the fold, even Marco Rubio expressed sympathy for it—but nonetheless reiterated his view that when it comes to immigration, "we still have a broken system that needs to be fixed."

Here's what Rubio said on Monday:

One of the bill’s Republican co-sponsors, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, broke with other authors and said the Boston attack may be a reason to slow consideration of the proposal.

“If there are flaws in our immigration system that were exposed by the attack in Boston, any immigration reform passed by Congress this year should address those flaws,” Rubio, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said in a statement. “Congress needs time to conduct more hearings and investigate how our immigration and national security systems could be improved going forward.”

Rubio added:
The attack reinforces why immigration reform should be a lengthy, open and transparent process, so that we can ask and answer important questions surrounding every facet of the bill. But we still have a broken system that needs to be fixed.
Time will tell if this is kabuki from Rubio or if he's actually getting cold feet. I suspect the former, but suspicions tend to cause more trouble than they're worth and the one thing that's absolutely clear is there's no reason the attack in Boston should delay or derail immigration reform, no matter what Chuck Grassley says or tweets.
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Comment Preferences

  •  "biometric identifiers"? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, shoeless, Pinto Pony

    Next thing I know we'll measure people's brain size.  If it comes below a minimum in the "foreigner" law they will be prevented entry. But now that I think about it, I am sure they will oppose this because it would limit the number of immigrant Repugs.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:55:17 AM PDT

  •  Look up hack in the dictionary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, shoeless, verdeo, Pinto Pony

    and you'll find a picture of Grassley.

    I honestly don't think he's even trying anymore.

    Barack Obama for President

    by looty on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:56:10 AM PDT

  •  Well, politically speaking (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, shoeless, TexasTom

    I wouldn't be surprised if the Democrats would secretly do high fives if the demographically challenged republicans are dumb enough to scuttle immigration reform.
    Bad for the country, but it would be a cudgel they could bash them over the heads with in 2014.

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:56:48 AM PDT

    •  Dems would do high fives but Dems should be just (0+ / 0-)

      as politically opportunistic as Republicans.

      Here, Grassley, as clumsy as he is in making his case, he is using the Boston event to undermined a major piece of legislation, but what about Democrats?

      Why can't Democrats use the Boston event as an example of why we should have stricter gun laws?

      "If there was a strict background check in place Mr. and Ms. America, these individuals might not have had guns to shoot out with police."  

      Grassley might be clumsy but as usual he is playing savvy  politics.

  •  If only... (8+ / 0-)

    Someone at the TSA had noticed Tsarnaev's name was misspelled... it would have prevented this whole thing!


    Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

    by walk2live on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:00:22 AM PDT

    •  I type my own name onto my plane ticket. (0+ / 0-)

      I go to the airline's website, type in my name, buy the ticket, and fly! No one at the airline ever has the chance to misspell my name.

      Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits. Satchel Paige 1906-82

      by threesmommy on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 03:20:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing is going to win over Latinos (9+ / 0-)

    like telling them their friends and families can't have rights because two fuckwads did something bad that was completely unrelated to immigration.

    Equating "immigrants" with "terrorists" is probably not a winning electoral strategy...

    •  Only gerrymandering and 5 SCOTUS tools are keeping (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      GOP on life support, given that their approach to immigration reform, social issues, etc. apporoaches that of Talleyrand's evaluation of the French Bourbons:

      "Ils n'ont appris rien et n'ont oublié rien."

      "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

      by TofG on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:20:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even stupider than it appears... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chitownliberal7, ER Doc

      ...because exactly what sort of background checks could have kept the Boston bombers out?  They were kids when they came over, with no record or reason to believe that they might someday maybe be a danger.  Or does Grassley propose that we do the sort of background check that would require a Tardis (that's a time machine, for those who don't watch "Doctor Who")?

      Or is the proposed Republican screening process that we simply not let any Muslims into our country?  Presumably, the fact that this would step all over the First Amendment is irrelevant, as only the 2nd and 10th Amendments actually seem to matter much...

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:31:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The system is flawed so what should be do? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, mikejay611, shoeless

    Let's think about this statement in another context.

    . . . if the background checks on the 12 million people who are here illegally are anything like they were in the Boston bomber [case], we're in serious trouble.

    So, because background checks on purchasing a gun  won't stop criminals (and apparently terrorists) from getting guns,  let's not try to strengthen background checks at all.

    That is the logic to apply here, isn't it, Senator Grassley?

    Of course, we can apply the same reasoning to the following from Rubio.

    The attack reinforces why [gun control legislation] should be a lengthy, open and transparent process, so that we can ask and answer important questions surrounding every facet of the bill. But we still have a broken system that needs to be fixed.
    I look forward to Grassley and Rubio fixing our system of background checks for purchasing a gun.  The events in Boston show it is flawed too.

    [Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security] do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

    by MoDem on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:01:23 AM PDT

    •  It's not clear how the events of Boston (0+ / 0-)

      demonstrate the failure of the background check system. Dzhokhar would have been unable to legally buy any of the weapons they had, due to his age. Tamerlan was of age, but none of the local jurisdictions involved have admitted to issuing the permit he would have needed under Massachusets law, so it seems unlikely that he went through a background check at all. We don't know where the guns came from yet. Maybe they came from a private sale out of state, which might have been prevented with a change in the law. But it is also possible that they came from an explicitly black market sale in Massachusetts, which would not have been affected by any change in the law, since it was already illegal. We don't yet know.

      -7.25, -6.26

      We are men of action; lies do not become us.

      by ER Doc on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:39:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Grassley should retire (5+ / 0-)

    I really hate this lowlife. he has been obstructing and disserving his country for as long as I can remember. I wish he would crawl back under his rock and stay there.

  •  So he's arguing if you don't have a perfect system (7+ / 0-)

    it's better to have nothing at all. By the same logic there should be no food inspection if anything ever gets by, no airplane structural inspections if any fault ever is missed, etc. Sounds like NRA logic at its finest.

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:02:07 AM PDT

  •  You can't spell "Grassley" without an ASS (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mikejay611, Betterthansoap
  •  Forgive me if I'm mistaken, (9+ / 0-)

    but isn't this the very same gentleman who bristled at Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)'s accusation that Republican Senators were trying to use the Boston Marathon Bombing to derail an immigration bill?

    Sure looks like him.

    Must have been some other asshole.

    "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster." - Nietzsche

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:03:01 AM PDT

  •  I love it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, Batya the Toon, IB JOHN

    when Republicans crow, "Don't punish law abiding gun owners for the acts of one lone nut!" (even though we have a mass shooting every 5.9 days in America.)  But now they are caterwauling that 11 million undocumented immigrants --most of whom are scrubbing pots and trimming hedges and vacuuming carpets-- are a clear and present danger, because two whack job immigrants bombed a marathon.

  •  I was wondering when South Florida's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    verdeo, RNmakingsense

    Golden Boy Marco would find a crack through which to weasel out of immigration reform support, like the chicken-shit he is...  Well if there's any consolation, he's not even that popular with the Cuban community here in South Florida. I just keep hoping he goes away. He is the very definition of an empty suit. There's no there there. And he annoys the hell out of me personally. Little lying opportunist...

    "In the battle of existence, Talent is the punch; Tact is the clever footwork. Wilson Mizner -7.25/-5.64

    by mikejay611 on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:06:46 AM PDT

  •  Not only that... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, DesignGuy

    In the clips I heard on the radio this morning, he seemed to be suggesting that the fact that the Tsarnaev brothers were allowed in here 10 years ago (or however long it was) was somehow an argument against immigration reform.  Dude - they were little children when they came here - have you now invented a way to examine the brains of five-year-olds to see if they are going to be radicalized as adults?  If so, can we use it to determine which five-year-olds are going to grow up to be republicans so we can intervene early??

    And he seemed to suggest that since their parents went back to Russia "which supposedly they were fleeing from", their asylum should have been revoked, even though by then they were legal residents.

    Altogether, I agree, a massively stupid performance.

    •  No, Rubio hasn't invented a way to examine heads (0+ / 0-)

      However, he will call in Tom Cruise who will explain how that device works.

      [Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security] do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

      by MoDem on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:23:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lee Harvey Oswald (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This clown defected to the USSR, acted like an imbecile there and then came back here without anyone acting at all concerned. Incompetence is not something new -- it's been around a long time.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:17:12 AM PDT

  •  I thought Rubio's comment was fine: (0+ / 0-)

    As a principle, I can't argue with using the opportunity of a reform bill to fix flaws that are uncovered.   It's nice and vague and supports the idea that problems are fixable.

    That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

    by Inland on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:20:43 AM PDT

  •  I recently subjected myself to TSA screening (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and the personnel were incredibly friendly and accommodating, bordering on the obsequious really.

    Unlike 3 or 4 years ago when I was * constantly * being subject to "enhanced security screening" protocols. Each and EVERY time I flew.

    The only thing that I can figure is that in my old age, I have mellowed and am no longer posting inflammatory type rhetoric on internet sites like DailyKos like I used to.

  •  The politicians are in a quandary (0+ / 0-)

    We have 12 to 15 M people here that are working and part of our community and they use that as a cudgel, while they covertly want cheap labor. I'd rather have all of our immigrants here that are undocumented and stop the corporate importing of labor that depresses our employment.

    That is the problem.

  •  So, um, background checks to ride an airplane (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but not to own a gun?

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:33:13 AM PDT

  •  These clowns will find any reason not to vote for (0+ / 0-)

    reform......Their base won't wear it.

  •  how was the name spelt on the passport? (0+ / 0-)

    the guy needed a visa to go to Russia.

    I know they look at passports when borders are crossed.

    this ought to have been enough.

    "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she (Christina Taylor-Greene) imagined it." President Obama

    by guavaboy on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:35:47 AM PDT

  •  Grassley's lack of logic and reason is well known. (0+ / 0-)

    He's the guy who says we don't need more gun laws because criminals won't abide by them anyway. And cautions against those pesky liberal Democrats being "divisive" by not agreeing with every idiocy that occurs to Republicans with verbal diarrhea.

    Why would we be surprised that elected Republicans - most of whom do not embrace the immigration issue, but see it as important to their electoral demographics down the road - want to cure every ill before they approve of legislation? We heard just such an argument during the gun violence debate, too.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:35:52 AM PDT

    •  Maybe there should be a rule against senile old (0+ / 0-)

      farts being allowed near the levers of power, such as they are. Of course, in the case of the Senate, there wouldnt be a quorum of 51 left if you eliminated everyone with incipient Alzheimer's, some other form of dementia, severe alcoholism, or plain old schizophrenia.

  •  So background checks for foreign criminals is OK (0+ / 0-)

    ...but background checks designed to catch American criminals is denying them their 2nd ammendement rights?

  •  An idea for Sen. Grassley: (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe we could just background-check all those illegals the first time they try to buy guns.  Two birds - one stone!

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:03:09 PM PDT

  •  Not derail, maybe, but cause reconsideration. (0+ / 0-)

    Just like the next violence by gun incident will cause the Senate to reconsider gun violence legislation.

    Oh, wait ...

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:14:40 PM PDT

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