TX-Gov: Democrat stands up for immigration and education

You may not like where they come down on the subject, but it can’t be argued that Texans at least take the issue of primary education seriously. The electoral success of George W. Bush’s 1994 gubernatorial and 2000 presidential platforms proves that, as does the enormous public interest in the Texas School Board textbook shenanigans.

It’s no surprise, then, that Democratic candidate for governor Bill White has been focusing on education this week. Today his staff hammered incumbent Repub Gov. Rick Perry for his record on education, but not before White himself went positive with his own plan, outlining five points at the National Council of La Raza's annual conference yesterday. It’s heartening see a border state Democrat standing up to vicious right-wing lies about Latinos and La Raza, especially with so many running the other way after the administration’s Arizona lawsuit. Thank you, Bill “Backbone” White. This from White’s campaign:

White hammered incumbent career politician Rick Perry on recent revelations of the Texas Education Agency's Enron-style accounting on school accountability measures.

"They decided to cheat, and then once caught cheating they failed to acknowledge responsibility and accept accountability. They counted failing scores as passing," White said. "How can you teach individual responsibility to students, or emphasize the importance of parental responsibility, if the state's CEO and his appointees don't accept responsibility? How can you hold teachers, principals and school boards accountable if accountability does not start at the top?"

"Pretending that schools are improving, rather than actually improving them, has been a pattern in Texas during the last decade under this governor," White said, citing Perry's failure to account for the actual dropout rate and his veto of a bipartisan bill that would have expanded early childhood education.

"The choices confronting Texas are very stark and very plain. Will the state with one out of every ten Americans in public schools set a goal, tell the truth about where we are and where we want to be, and act to educate its younger population that is largely Hispanic? Will we, as did generations before us, act on the fact that young Texans are our greatest resource, or will we simply pretend they are? Will we plant for a future with great abundance, or will we forgo that hard work and live off our harvest?" White asked.

Perry spoke at an education event today, and White’s spokesperson Katy Bacon fired back in a press release: "Does Rick Perry think it's acceptable that Texas ranks 49th out of 50 states in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma? That SAT and ACT scores are lagging while college tuition rates have skyrocketed 93 percent. Only a career politician would try to brand this as success, accountability and preparing the workforce for the future."

La Raza? Education? A tie in the polls? The chance to bump up of secessionist Rick Perry ahead of redistricting? Support Bill White now at our ActBlue page.

TX-Gov: Democrat stands up for immigration and education

You may not like where they come down on the subject, but it can’t be argued that Texans at least take the issue of primary education seriously. The electoral success of George W. Bush’s 1994 gubernatorial and 2000 presidential platforms proves that, as does the enormous public interest in the Texas School Board textbook shenanigans.

It’s no surprise, then, that Democratic candidate for governor Bill White has been focusing on education this week. Today his staff hammered incumbent Repub Gov. Rick Perry for his record on education, but not before White himself went positive with his own plan, outlining five points at the National Council of La Raza's annual conference yesterday. It’s heartening see a border state Democrat standing up to vicious right-wing lies about Latinos and La Raza, especially with so many running the other way after the administration’s Arizona lawsuit. Thank you, Bill “Backbone” White. This from White’s campaign:

White hammered incumbent career politician Rick Perry on recent revelations of the Texas Education Agency's Enron-style accounting on school accountability measures.

"They decided to cheat, and then once caught cheating they failed to acknowledge responsibility and accept accountability. They counted failing scores as passing," White said. "How can you teach individual responsibility to students, or emphasize the importance of parental responsibility, if the state's CEO and his appointees don't accept responsibility? How can you hold teachers, principals and school boards accountable if accountability does not start at the top?"

"Pretending that schools are improving, rather than actually improving them, has been a pattern in Texas during the last decade under this governor," White said, citing Perry's failure to account for the actual dropout rate and his veto of a bipartisan bill that would have expanded early childhood education.

"The choices confronting Texas are very stark and very plain. Will the state with one out of every ten Americans in public schools set a goal, tell the truth about where we are and where we want to be, and act to educate its younger population that is largely Hispanic? Will we, as did generations before us, act on the fact that young Texans are our greatest resource, or will we simply pretend they are? Will we plant for a future with great abundance, or will we forgo that hard work and live off our harvest?" White asked.

Perry spoke at an education event today, and White’s spokesperson Katy Bacon fired back in a press release: "Does Rick Perry think it's acceptable that Texas ranks 49th out of 50 states in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma? That SAT and ACT scores are lagging while college tuition rates have skyrocketed 93 percent. Only a career politician would try to brand this as success, accountability and preparing the workforce for the future."

La Raza? Education? A tie in the polls? The chance to bump up of secessionist Rick Perry ahead of redistricting? Support Bill White now at our ActBlue page.

Trumka to Launch Jobs Initiative Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will announce a major new initiative to create and save jobs.

(Watch the live webcast at aflcio.org/createjobs starting at 9 a.m.)

Trumka will be part of a noted panel in "Spotlight on the Jobs Crisis" at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

With unemployment at its highest rate in more than 20 years, Trumka says America needs bold, quick action to put people back to work, in addition to longer term, structural fixes for our economy. The AFL-CIO initiative he announces will include calls to extend help for the unemployed, rebuild the nation's infrastructure, provide aid to struggling states and communities, create federally funded community-based jobs and increase lending to small and medium-sized businesses to spur job creation.

There's more...

John McCain's DREAM Act Flip

Today during his La Raza Q&A, John McCain said he would support the DREAM act (the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.) Here's the video:

This is at odds with the message he sent to conservative bloggers late last year.

'John McCain held another blogger call today. He began by discussing the two major votes in the Senate yesterday -- the confirmation of Judge Southwick and the failure of the Democrats to force a vote on the Dream Act. McCain returned to Washington to help get Southwick confirmed, but left for Iowa before the Dream Act vote, in order to attend an event at which he gave what he described as a major speech about what's next in the entire Middle East region now that "we're succeeding in Iraq."

...As for the Dream Act, McCain told us that he would have voted against cloture (i.e., in favor of preventing a vote) because he "got the message" this summer that Americans want the border secured before we "go on to the rest." McCain would deem parts of the border secure when the governor of the relevant state so certifies.

Since McCain is clearly on record as to how he would have voted on the Dream Act cloutre motion, and since his vote was not needed to prevent cloture, there seems to be no basis for criticizing his departure for Iowa prior to the vote.'

So if he'd stayed for the vote, McCain would have supported the filibuster of the DREAM Act but if it actually went to an up or down vote would he have voted for it or against it? Sounds like he ducked that question with the bloggers but today at La Raza he told a young woman flat out he would support it. I imagine Senator McCain's conservative blogger friends might have a few words for him.

If in fact his statement today was sincere, though, I commend Senator McCain for his support of the DREAM Act. Peter Schragg described this essential bill as follows at The California Progress Report:

[The DREAM Act] would allow an estimated 360,000 young illegal immigrants who are recent graduates of U.S. high schools - many are now in college - to get on the track toward legal residency. [...]

The act covers students brought here by their parents as young children. Many don't speak their native language and know little about the country where they were born. Collectively they represent an investment of some $18 billion-plus in their American education.

But...call me crazy...something tells me a press conference is in the offing wherein John McCain will tell us he actually does not support the DREAM Act and that his "Yes...yes..." was taken out of context or some other variation on his tendency to tell us he did not say what he actually said. How long do you give him?

Update [2008-7-14 18:15:53 by Todd Beeton]:Kyle at The Sanctuary reminds me that as a co-sponsor of the bill, McCain was for the DREAM Act before he was against it (and now for it.)

McCain Today: Told a young questioner he would support the DREAM Act.

2003 & 2005 & 2007: McCain Co-Sponsored The DREAM Act. McCain co-sponsored versions of the DREAM Act in 2003, 2005, and early 2007. [S 1545, introduced 7/31/03 ; S 2075, introduced 11/21/05 ; S 774, introduced 3/6/07 ]

NOW in 2007: McCain Skipped Vote On DREAM Act But Said He Would Have Voted Against Bill That He Co-Sponsored. "Last week, McCain skipped a Senate vote on immigration legislation called the DREAM Act - Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors. He then said he would have voted against the bill, even though he was a co-sponsor." [Myrtle Beach Sun-News, 11/2/07 ]

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McCain La Raza Q&A

At the end of his La Raza speech, John McCain took several questions and he really seemed to win the crowd over. At one point, when it was announced there was no more time for questions, he defiantly told people lined up to ask questions to "go on" and even threw his mic to a guy when it appeared the mics had been shut off. The crowd went nuts. Not, bad, Senator.

Q: "You say you are for comprehensive reform, you also said you want enforcement first. Is this comp reform include 12 million who are already here and will you make reform a top priority as president?"

A: "If it wasn't my top priority, I wouldn't have risked my nomination to fight for it...Not putting the party first, putting my country first...Senator Obama voted for amendments that would have killed the bill, that's a fact, sir...Why did we fail? People remembered that in 1986 that we gave amnesty and said we'd secure the border but we didn't secure the border...If we pass the bill, we need to give Americans confidence that we will secure our borders." Not because the fringe elements in the Republican Party scuttled it, hmm? And again, still no mention of a path to citizenship, which Obama overtly said he supported.

Follow-up from same questioner: "1 bill that provides a pathway to citizenship and legalizes 12 million people?"

A: "If we convince people that we secure the borders." He then went on to change the subject and divert attention to the Mayor of San Diego who was there.

Q: "I am ashamed of these raids that are separating children from parents. As president will you stop these inhumane raids?"

A: "We will. With all due respect, you're talking about a symptom of the problem rather than the problem itself."

Q: "Will you refuse to use immigrant bashing in your campaigns?"

A: "Yes, Ma'am, I will not do that."

Follow-up from the same questioner: "Many of the candidates in your party have not followed your leadership. Will you as leader of your party will instruct your candidates across the country from continuing that?"

A: "Yes, of course and I have denounced it throughout. I want a respectful campaign. People are sick of the sound bytes...and I wish Senator Obama was here on the same stage to tell you himself that he feels the same." Sneaky.

Q: "Will you support humanity all across the world and support The DREAM Act that we are trying to pass?"

A: "Yes. Yes, but I will also enforce the existing laws. That's why we must secure the border..."

Q: "You're supporting the militarization of the border that has killed hundreds of people. Will you commit to stopping the inhumane raids and commit to comprehensive immigration reform?"

A: "We have to secure the borders and you may disagree but I am committed to that and you have my commitment."

Both his speech and his Q&A highlighted the balancing act he's attempting here. Boasting of cooperation with Ted Kennedy he perceives as a net plus but he clearly perceives raising the issue of providing a "pathway to citizenship" as a net negative. He did a good job today but the way he is trying to walk this tightrope is not convincing.

The DNC is having a conference call to address John McCain's remarks today.

There's more...

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