Chad’s Moring Brief for 02.04.13
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of February 4, 2013. Give Chad your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11 am.
1. More Americans See Government as a Threat (link)
According to a new poll from the people at Pew Research, the majority of Americans now see the federal government as a threat to personal rights and freedoms.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults, finds that 53% think that the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms while 43% disagree.
In March 2010, opinions were divided over whether the government represented a threat to personal freedom; 47% said it did while 50% disagreed. In surveys between 1995 and 2003, majorities rejected the idea that the government threatened people’s rights and freedoms.
The growing view that the federal government threatens personal rights and freedoms has been led by conservative Republicans. Currently 76% of conservative Republicans say that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms and 54% describe the government as a “major” threat. Three years ago, 62% of conservative Republicans said the government was a threat to their freedom; 47% said it was a major threat.
By comparison, there has been little change in opinions among Democrats; 38% say the government poses a threat to personal rights and freedoms and just 16% view it as a major threat.
This poll actually surprises me a bit. We aren’t that far removed from the reelection of President Obama and already 53% don’t trust the government. In my opinion the number should be much higher though. No matter who is President or who controls Congress, our freedoms and rights are always under attack.
By the way, you shouldn’t trust local or state government either.
2. Immigration Bills Dwindle in Austin (link)
In 2011, the Texas Legislature wanted to talk a lot about immigration. This year though, we are seeing a much different story. According to the Statesman, six dozen bills were filed in the last legislative session dealing with immigration. In this session so far, only a few have been filed.
Even more remarkable is the tone of the discussion. In 2011, lawmakers spent a lot of time on Gov. Rick Perry’s legislative priority to ban sanctuary cities, which ultimately failed. Some members took to the House floor to hammer home the issue of illegal immigration. Contrast that with this session. Perry didn’t utter the word “immigration” once during his State of the State speech last week, and some lawmakers are talking about pushing a state guest worker program.
Immigration laws haven’t changed much in the past two years, but the Legislature’s sentiment certainly has, particularly among the Republican majority.
Several factors — including fewer state lawmakers with penchants for immigration proposals, movement on the long-stalled issue in Washington and the 2012 presidential election results — have contributed to a loss of appetite for state immigration control measures.
Mark Jones, a Rice University political science professor, said voters and Republican Party leaders are finally in general agreement on the issue of immigration. From top to bottom, Republicans believe that “the party needs to change its image” to be more welcoming of Hispanics and softer on immigration, Jones said.
If the GOP continues to take a hard line on immigration, Jones said, the Republican Party would jeopardize its viability in Texas as well as nationally. Any time Republicans engage too much in the immigration debate, they open themselves up to attacks by Democrats saying they are anti-Hispanic, Jones said.
State Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock, said many members who regularly filed controversial immigration bills didn’t return to the Legislature this year.
“The guys who filed that stuff aren’t here,” Gonzales said.
Notably absent are former Reps. Jim Jackson, R-Carrollton, Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, and Charlie Howard, R-Sugar Land. Together, those former lawmakers — all of whom retired, except Miller, who lost in a primary — filed many of the House’s most notable immigration-related bills last session.
Perhaps the most significant absence is former Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, who lost his primary. Berman wrote numerous anti-illegal immigration measures — including one that would restrict people who are in the country illegally to certain geographic regions — and attracted a lot of unwanted attention to Texas Republicans.
As I said before the session began, immigration just wasn’t going to be a big part of the session this year. After the reelection of President Obama, and the debate within the GOP over immigration, there just aren’t many who want to deal with immigration on the state-wide level.
3. Perry Against Boy Scout Plan (link)
Governor Rick Perry voiced his opposition this weekend to the Boy Scouts of America lifting the ban on gay scouts and leaders.
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said emphatically Saturday that the Boy Scouts of America should not soften its strict policy barring gay members, and dismissed the idea of bending the organization to the whims of “popular culture.”
Mr. Perry, the country’s longest-serving governor, is an Eagle Scout, and in 2008 he wrote the book “On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For.” It detailed his deep love for the organization and explained why it should continue to embrace traditional conservative values — including excluding openly gay members and leaders.
The governor spoke at the Texas Scouts’ 64th annual Report to State, where hundreds of scouts from across the state filled the State House of Representatives to announce their delegations’ recent accomplishments. Mr. Perry had addressed the gathering several times before, most recently in 2010.
Mr. Perry told the youngsters that the Scouts were a key reason that he had joined the Air Force and later sought public office, and that society’s failure to adhere to the organization’s core values was a cause for high rates of teenage pregnancy and wayward youths who grow up to be “men joining their fathers in prison.”
After his address, Mr. Perry said: “Hopefully the board will follow their historic position of keeping the Scouts strongly supportive of the values that make scouting this very important and impactful organization.”
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