First up, The New York Times editorial board looks at the Republican refusal to govern:
On two crucial issues this week, the extremists who dominate the Republican majority in the House of Representatives made it clear how little interest they have in the future prosperity of their country, or its reputation for fairness and decency.The House will refuse to consider a comprehensive immigration bill that could lead to citizenship for millions of immigrants, Republican leaders said on Wednesday, and will slowly and casually consider a few border-security measures that have no chance of passing on their own.Eugene Robinson on the "party of no":
And, on Thursday, the House passed a farm bill that stripped out the food stamp program, breaking a pact that for decades has protected the nutrition needs of low-income Americans. It was the first time since 1973 that food stamps haven’t been part of a farm bill, and it reflected the contempt of the far right for anyone desperate enough to rely on the government for help to buy groceries.
These actions show how far the House has retreated from the national mainstream into a cave of indifference and ignorance. House members don’t want to know that millions of Americans remain hungry (in an economy held back by their own austerity ideology), and they don’t want to deal with the desperation of immigrant families who want nothing more than a chance to work and feed themselves without fear of deportation.
Most House Republicans have nothing to worry about for the time being; their districts are safe. But the GOP’s fortunes in national contests — and eventually in statewide races — will be increasingly dim. Maybe they’ll wake up when Texas begins to change from red to blue.Dana Milbank:
In the meantime, it’s sad to see a once great political party carry on as if whistling past the graveyard were a plan.
Without a single Democratic vote, House Republicans narrowly passed a bill that, if allowed to stand, would provide hundreds of billions of dollars in agriculture subsidies but not a dime for the hungry.More analysis below the fold.
Happily, Americans are unlikely to starve as a result of Thursday’s vote because the Senate won’t allow the House’s farm bill to become law if the food stamp program isn’t restored. Even some House Republicans, uneasy about what they had done, spoke of having a separate vote on food stamps in the coming weeks.
But as a political matter, the food stamp folly shows just what a difficult situation Republican leaders find themselves in. For the second time in two days, they had been forced to placate conservatives in their own ranks by taking a position that alienates crucial segments of the electorate.
David Brooks lashes out at his fellow conservatives for what he sees as "political suicide":
This could be a tragedy for the country and political suicide for Republicans, especially because the conservative arguments against the comprehensive approach are not compelling. [...]Daniel Elliot over at The Christian Science Monitor reinforces that point and brings data to the table that shows how immigrants contribute to society and live by US values:
Whether this bill passes or not, this country is heading toward a multiethnic future. Republicans can either shape that future in a conservative direction or, as I’ve tried to argue, they can become the receding roar of a white America that is never coming back.
[T]here is a rich irony in such concern over whether immigrants will become productive members of society: On several traditional measures of American values and societal productivity, America’s native-born citizens are being outperformed by its immigrants – both legal and undocumented. [...]On the issue of Republican obstruction of Obama appointments, The Los Angeles Times editorial board calls for action:
Studies show that immigrants applying for citizenship surpass American citizens on tests of knowledge of American history and civics. To take one example, in a 2012 telephone poll, Xavier University researchers found that 35 percent of Americans failed the civics section of the US naturalization test. In contrast, 97.5 percent of immigrants applying for citizenship passed the test in 2012.
The GOP's demands are just a pretext to make the bureau more susceptible to pressure from lawmakers and bank regulators who've been more responsive to the financial industry than to consumers — a failing they demonstrated all too clearly during the housing market's boom and bust. As Georgetown University law professor Adam Levitin explained to a Senate committee two years ago, the bureau comes under at least as much oversight as any other financial industry regulator, and there's nothing unusual about having either a single director or a dedicated funding source.While you're over at The Los Angeles Times, check out this interesting slideshow on the "small steps" Pope Francis has taken that may "lift liberals' hearts":
Pope Francis may never ordain a woman, but when change has been a long, long time coming, even small steps (especially if they're taken in plain black shoes) can lift liberal hearts -- not to mention a pope's American popularity.The Denver Post cries foul over the force-feeding of Guantanamo prisoners:
President Barack Obama should end the painful and degrading practice of force-feeding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and we'd ask him to consider the wise words on the issue from an international leader: President Barack Obama.Finally, Andrew Rosenthal over at The New York Times scoffs at the desire of some to form a new 51st state to avoid regulation and progress:
What makes no sense is the current movement by 10 counties in northern Colorado and a few in Nebraska and Kansas to band together to make a new state called North Colorado. Their reasons are fairly ridiculous – they want to make a state that doesn’t regulate oil companies or guns or promote alternative energy industries.
They would be forming a state without a major city — and no, I don’t count Greeley, which is the seat of Weld County, the leader of this secession movement. It would be a state without a functioning economy and without many actual people.