Republican Rep. Capito (WV-02) takes credit for bolting a locked door

I know we often make fun of lawyers in this country ("What do you call a smiling, sober, courteous person at a bar association convention? The caterer."). On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for the value of training in law for political leadership. The Clintons (Bill, Yale; Hillary, Yale), Barack Obama (Harvard), John Edwards (UNC), and Harry Reid (George Washington U.) all have law degrees.

Then we have our Republican mis-leadership. There's George Bush with an Master's in Business Administration. That's the same degree that Duke Cunningham and Jeff Skilling have. There's Rep. Shelley Moore Capito with a Master's in Career Counseling. That's the same degree as... well, actually, no one comes to mind. Bush and Capito share a mis-understanding of the law, too. Whereas Bush missed the week in high school civics class about constitutional checks and balances, after six years in Congress Rep. Capito still hasn't figured out the basic mechanics of when a law is needed.

Case in point: Rep. Capito is crowing about her success in using an obscure legislative maneuver to outlaw something that is already illegal!

West Virginia Democrats had no problem getting it right (emphasis mine):

West Virginia's other two congressmen--Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall--voted against the measure. Rahall says he opposed the amendment because the program already includes ID requirements and toughening up the standard would be burdensome to many rural and elderly citizens and raise privacy concerns. Mollohan's office said the amendment was "nothing but political chicanery."

You know, it's hard to counter the negative stereotypes the rest of the country has of West Virginia. Rep. Capito isn't helping any. They noticed up in New York, too: Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens) said "It's all demagoguery." As Albor Ruiz of the New York Daily News put it:

While the fate of 12 million people, thousands of families and the future of the nation's economy wait for Congress to do its job on immigration reform, some of its members would rather play games.


"Loopholes in current law, like this housing assistance loophole for illegal immigrants, act as a magnet and invite people to enter our country illegally," Capito is quoted as saying. "We should not be rewarding those who have come here illegally by awarding them taxpayer-funded services intended for law-abiding citizens."

Wow! Is she tough! She's cracking down and closing loopholes! No "illegal" will take advantage of taxpayers on her watch!

Not to rain on her party, but there is one small problem: What loophole is she talking about? Undocumented immigrants already are ineligible for housing vouchers. Under current law, all recipients of assistance are required to be citizens or to prove their lawful immigration status.

Capito can do all the chest-thumping she wants, but there is nothing to crack down on.

Here in West Virginia, the coverage is a mixed bag. Tom Searls article reads like a Capito press release. Yet, he did prominently mention his inability to get a quote from Rahall or Mollohan. Loopy Kercheval's opinion piece does include quotes from Rahall and Mollohan but it distorts the issue even worse than Capito did.

Capito should be called out for immigration race-baiting and class warfare. Her arguments are full of lies and distortion. Here's a just a few ways her actions are deceitful: 1. The HUD reform is benign at best and an assault on poor people at worst. It is already illegal for illegal residents to get section-8 benefits. As Rahall noted, her additional ID requirements create an additional burden on those who can least afford it.

If this legislative action has any effect it will be to make it harder for those who are entitled to the benefits to get them. This is an assault on poor people. Republicans like Bush and Capito believe that government cannot help people--this is an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy as they make it more difficult for the government to help those who most need help.

2. She provides no evidence whatsoever that there is a problem with Section-8 housing that needs "reform". The one statistic she quotes in support of this bill has nothing to do with Section-8 housing.

You can be sure if she had any examples of illegal residents receiving Section 8 housing she would have mentioned them. As Mollohan said, this is "nothing but political chicanery." It is a waste of time, money, and resources.

3. In her floor statement she repeatedly says the tax dollars paying for Section 8 housing come from hard-working Americans. That's a misleading statement. Tax dollars are paid by not only by hard-working Americans but also by legal immigrants and illegal immigrants who reside and pay taxes in this country.

She knows this. She's using misleading inflammatory rhetoric to score cheap political points. Rep. Joe Crowley is absolutely right, "It's all demagoguery."

This is yet another example of Bush-Capito style mis-leadership. There's a reason why 75% of West Virginians feel that the country is headed on the wrong-track. Passing do-nothing legislation doesn't help.

West Virginia need leaders who put their energy into solving the many difficult, significant problems that we face--ending the occupation of Iraq, providing universal health care, and providing social and economic justice for all of us, not just the wealthy few.

It's time for Bush and Capito to leave office. We can do better.

Cross-posted at West Virginia Blue

Tags: Alan Mollohan, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, immigration, John Edwards, Nick Rahall, shelley moore capito, West Virginia, WV-02 (all tags)


1 Comment

Re: Republican Rep. Capito (WV-02)

We're headed for a top-tier race in WV-02 this cycle. Capito's vulnerable and we've got a strong challenger in W.Va. State Sen. John Unger.

Alas, the biggest challenge for turning this district from Red to Blue is raising funds to get the message out. Your contribution of any size will help.

by WVaBlue 2007-07-21 12:10PM | 0 recs


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