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May 08, 2008 08:34 PM UTC

Bush Signs Schaffer-Thwarting Marianas Bill

  • 87 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Catholics United just sent a press release thanking President Bush for signing Marianas immigration reforms into law, and expressing relief that “the efforts of Bob Schaffer and Jack Abramoff to deny workers in the Northern Mariana Islands basic human dignity in the workplace did not prevail” (ouch). Release after the jump.

You’ll recall that the Schaffer/Abramoff scandal began with Senate candidate Bob Schaffer’s praise for the relatively unregulated labor and immigration standards in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a territory of the United States.

Today, the practices Schaffer recommended as a “model” for the rest of the country have been outlawed, as CNMI human rights activist Wendy Doromal reports first:

Moments Ago President Bush

Signed S. 2739 into law!

This is a significant victory for every advocate, every federal official, and every person who has fought to end labor and human rights abuses in the CNMI. It is a momentous victory for the guest workers in the CNMI. It is a personal victory for me, and for my family.

As an advocate who has worked on passing this legislation for almost 2 decades, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the members of the U.S Congress, especially to the members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the House Committee on Natural Resources, and their dedicated staff members. They devoted hundreds of hours of hard work, untiring perseverance, and self-less determination to see this issue resolved.

Some members of Congress and staff members including Congressman George Miller (D-CA), Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), and Allen Stayman have pushed for effective reform for over a decade in a fight that has been difficult and fraught with obstacles. Some of the strongest proponents of this legislation have been personally vilified, attacked, libeled, and have even have lost jobs because of their conviction and determination to extend just and democratic laws to the CNMI. Yet, they stood their ground and continued the battle. The late Congresswoman Patsy Mink (D-HI) fought vehemently for immigration and labor reform in the CNMI…

Note also that this same set of reforms was repeatedly introduced in Congress before 2006, including years when Schaffer was a member. Schaffer’s donors from Saipan are all on record fiercely opposing this bill–after all, the threat of it is why the CNMI government hired Jack Abramoff back in the ’90s.

All of which continues to make Schaffer look horrible, and underscores the serious damage already done to his campaign over this scandal. We can only say again how baffling it was for Schaffer to bring this PR disaster on himself by praising the situation in the CNMI territory, at the exact time laws were passing to outlaw what he was praising.

For Immediate Release

May 8, 2008

Contact: James Salt

305-978-1056 or jsalt@catholics-united.org

Catholics Raise Questions on Bob Schaffer’s Judgment

Applaud Enactment of Protections for Mariana Workers

Washington, D.C. – Catholics United today welcomed President Bush’s signing into law of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008.  This legislation includes a provision that will bring the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) under the protection of federal immigration laws, effectively putting an end to years of rampant human rights abuses within the territory.  The Department of the Interior and Catholic advocates in the CMNI have documented extensive worker exploitation associated with an infusion of low-paid immigrant workers, including allegations of forced abortions.

Today’s victory comes despite the work of former U.S. Congressman Bob Schaffer of Colorado, who has recently come under scrutiny for participating in a 1999 junket paid for by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.  Following this trip, Schaffer – who served on the House Resources Committee – led an effort to discredit the testimony of abused workers in the Northern Mariana Islands.  His roadblocking ultimately delayed the passage of today’s legislation for almost a decade.

In 2007, representatives from Guma Esperanza-House of Hope shelter of battered women in the Mariana Islands, including representatives of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd testified before a Senate committee on the rampant abuse of women on the island.  One Catholic nun told explained that the then-existing labor and immigration regulation “effectively created a permanent underclass of disenfranchised persons.”

“As Catholics, we believe that all workers have inherent human dignity, including a right to fair wages, humane working conditions, and respect on the job,” said Sister Peg Maloney, RSM, a Catholics United member from Denver.  “We are thankful today that the efforts of Bob Schaffer and Jack Abramoff to deny workers in the Northern Mariana Islands basic human dignity in the workplace did not prevail.”

###

Catholics United is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition. This is accomplished through online advocacy and educational activities. For more information, visit www.catholics-united.org.

To unsubscribe from this list, please send an email to jsalt@catholics-united.org.

Comments

87 thoughts on “Bush Signs Schaffer-Thwarting Marianas Bill

  1. Rightly or wrongly, will this issue even matter to Colorado voters in November?  I do not make light of the circumstances there, but I doubt most Coloradoans could even find the Northern Marianas Islands on a map.

    His roadblocking ultimately delayed the passage of today’s legislation for almost a decade.

    This statement is quite a stretch for Catholics United to make.  Do they really expect the public to believe that Bob Schaffer’s influence, on the legislation, extended some 53 months after he left Congress?  Pleeeze!

    1. Uh, yes. This will show up again and again in TV ads against Schaffer. So yes, it will matter. Most Coloradans probably can’t find Iraq on a map, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about it.

        1. then they are going to lose in November.  

          You want to know what voters are going to be looking at come this fall?  Go back to the March 29th edition of the Rocky Mountain News.  On page 20, the newspaper prominently displayed 27 opposing votes by Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer on 13 major issues of concern to Colorado voters.  The Northern Marianas Islands wasn’t one of them.  

          Besides, the public isn’t going to buy the idea that one second term congressman — who promised only to serve three terms — had the power to be held solely responsible for the problems there.  Sooner or later, they are going to start asking where was Mark Udall during all this?  

           

          1. Who ever said anything about solely responsible? That’s a cute little evasion there. In fact, lots of Republicans have lost elections over this.

            Where was Mark Udall? He consponsored the legislation that Bush finally signed each time it was reintroduced.

            Schaffer fought against it, going so far as to intimidate a witness. Schaffer’s 2004 senate primary took in almost 1/10 of all the contributions made by Marianas sweatshop moguls to all Federal candidates, PACS, and party committees that year.

            Coloradans may not find the Marianas to be their #1 issue, but integrity is certainly way up there. Integrity that Schaffer lacks, and his Abramoff-funded parasailing junket and subsequent party line toeing are just cases in point.

          2. that pro-life groups that are pretty reliably Republican are on the record speaking out against Bob by name.  At a minimum, that’s gonna make it pretty damned hard to use that particular wedge issue to turn up votes in November.  If 10% of the normal evangelical Christian vote from Colorado Springs doesn’t show up to vote in November, that’s gonna make this a pretty tough election to win.

            This is plain unadulterated moral failing in the name of a corrupt political alliance.  If you think that’s not going to matter, you’re in denial.

            1.    And remember, John McCain doesn’t do much to motivate that 10% of the Evangelical Christians in Colo. Spgs. to turn out either.

                And if a RINO like Jeff Crank (he’s a RINO at least in the eyes of the hard-boiled wing nuts) ends up as the C.D. 5 candidate, a lot of right wingers are going to sit this election out!

    2. Geography is not one of the ‘first order’ standards on the CSAP, so it isn’t getting attention in our schools. Consequently, most Coloradoans these days might have a problem finding Colorado on a map.

      But, finding the NMIs on a map is not really the issue. The question is the quality of the average person’s moral compass.

      Shaffer, it seems, can’t find his at all.

      1. I find it hard to believe that one second term congressman had such power to be held solely responsible for what is, or was, going on in the Northern Marianas Islands in 1999.  Did no other member of Congress go there besides Bob Schaffer?  

        If this was such a moral outrage, why didn’t any Democratic lawmaker, particularly one with seniority and a higher profile in Congress than Schaffer had, go visit there… or at least raise the issue on Capitol Hill?  What did Mark Udall do about this grave injustice in 1999?  

        It just strains credibility that this is somehow all Bob Schaffer’s fault. If nothing else, Democrats were complicit by their silence and inaction on the matter.  

        1. has any one else advocated slavery and forced abortions as a model immigration system?

          Don’t play the equivelance defense and certainly don’t use the false outrage defense.

          I am outraged that Schaffer took money to attack the catholic church, I am outraged he helped promote chinese soveriegnty on US soil, I am outraged that he talks God and means Mammon.

          1. I doubt the general “non-political junkie” public is going to see it that way.  If the Democrats are really set on pushing this issue, then they better be ready for the “what did Mark Udall know about this and when did he know it” questions.  Did he ever even look into it, or raise a concern about it in Congress?

            Right or wrong, I don’t believe this issue is going to relevant to Coloradoans come November.  They will be much more focused on the economy, health care, the war in Iraq, taxes, education, etc.  Schaffer’s positions — and Udall’s — are what the average voter is going to be looking at… not the Northern Marianas Islands.    

            1. who knew.  

              Schaffer attacks the catholic church, promotes chinese soveriegnty on US Soil and protects rights of sweatshops using slave labor on US Soil.

              Udall tries to stop it for years-finally successful when we have a democratic majority in both house and senate.

            2. The reform that Sweatshop Schaffer used his position to try and block.

              Do your research before you try and play outside of your own sandbox.  

              1. To be fair, I was not aware that Mark Udall had co-sponsored such legislation.  I applaud him for doing so and, if he wants his effort with the bill to be part of his campaign, then that is certainly appropriate. The question is does the average Colorado voter know this.  And if they do, will they consider it relevant in their choice come November.

                I am not defending what went on in the Northern Marianas Islands, but I think Democrats are fooling themselves if that think this issue is still going to matter in November.  There are too many other things going on — that have a direct impact on Colorado families — that will have their attention this fall.      

                1. What does it say about Sweatshop Schaffer that his campaign has been reduced to wishfully thinking that slave labor, forced abortions, child exploitation, sweatshop conditions, tourist prostitution, public corruption, influence peddling, etc. won’t be important to Colorado voters?

                  What does that say about values?

                  1. but please use as many resources as possible to convince Colorado voters that Bob Schaffer is responsible for everything you listed above.  They are not going to buy it.

                    The first thing they are going to wonder is why hasn’t this come out before… say in 1999, or 2004, when Schaffer first ran for the U.S. Senate.  It smacks of Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas.

                    Ms. Hill, a well educated law professor, says nothing when Thomas is nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals.  But when he is nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court, she can’t stop talking about sexual harrassment.

                    Wasn’t the issue relevant when Thomas was elevated to the U.S. Court of Appeals?  Why was it only coming out when he was a Supreme Court nominee?

                    This is the uphill battle you face, if you are going to make this the center piece for the Udall campaign.  Personally, I think Mark Udall is smart enough to focus his efforts on the economy, health insurance, education, taxes, etc… the stuff people are going to be really concerned with in November.  

                    1. The first thing they are going to wonder is why hasn’t this come out before… say in 1999, or 2004, when Schaffer first ran for the U.S. Senate.  It smacks of Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas.

                      Sure, to the extent anyone wonders why Rev. Wright didn’t emerge as an issue for Barack Obama when he ran for the Senate in 2004. Doesn’t seem to matter much, and neither will Schaffer’s “fact-finding” mission, political backslapping with CNMI bosses and the hatchet-job Schaffer carried out on CNMI human-rights activists at the behest of Jack Abramoff.

                      It speaks to Schaffer’s judgment, his integrity, his credulity and whether he’s for sale and at what price. Things voters tend to care about when electing a senator.

                      Besides, Schaffer put it on the table in an interview with the Denver Post a month and a half ago when he pointed to Marianas immigration policy as a model for U.S. policy. That’s why we’re talking about it now and that’s why Wadhams has been keeping Schaffer under wraps ever since.

                    2. It speaks to Schaffer’s judgment, his integrity, his credulity and whether he’s for sale and at what price. Things voters tend to care about when electing a senator.

                      If Democrats were smart, they would limit their criticism to just the concerns about Schaffer’s judgment and credulity on the NMI issue. I actually think that is a fair question.  But the integrity and whether he is for sale and at what price is not going to fly.  The people in the 4th CD won’t buy it, nor will people associated with the charter school movement or those who are pro-life.

                      It’s the piling on of as many evils as possible surrounding the NMI issue that is going to cause the average voter to dismiss it altogether.  What went on in the NMI nine years ago will not be foremost in most voters’ minds come November.

                           

                    3.  “But the integrity and whether he is for sale and at what price is not going to fly.”

                      That sounds a lot more like a wishful mantra to most than a sound prediction Drew.  You are confusing what you want to be with what is.

                    4. If you honestly think you can sell the lack of integrity and he’s for sale issue to the average “non-political junkie” voter, go for it! That’s where you will lose the traction on the judgment and credulity points.  People will then just tune it all out as another negative political attack ad.

                    5. The whole Abramoff scandal is about integrity and buying and selling members of Congress.

                      Voters in Georgia got it when Republicans trounced Ralph Reed in the lieutenant governor primary by running ads charging Reed’s ties to the Abramoff scandal.

                      Voters in Montana threw out Sen. Conrad Burns after an ad campaign linking Burns to Abramoff, ties which brought an unsuccessful primary challenge to the state’s longest serving senator in history.

                      Voters in California unseated Rep. Richard Pombo after a blistering ad campaign that charged — wait for it! — that Pombo used his seat on the House Resources Committee to cover for Jack Abramoff and his Marianas Islands clients, who rewarded Pombo for his acquiescence.

                      Yeah, maybe you’re right, Colorado voters don’t care about those kinds of things.

                    6. But you’re making the error of thinking that what people are chattering about on a liberal-leaning insider blog has anything to do with the actual strategy of any campaign.

                      If Udall spends his millions only on attack ads on this issue, he deserves to lose. But I seriously doubt he would do that.

                    7. won’t spend a dime on these attacks. He won’t have to and can stay somewhat above the fray. It’s a fact, 527s will flood the airwaves this summer in hopes of defining Schaffer before he gets a chance to define himself.

                    8. Negative 527 attack ads are losing their effectiveness on both sides.  That’s why U.S. Term Limits most likely chose to come out with the positive “Thanks Bob” ad, using school kids, for Bob Schaffer.

                      The presumed fact that Mark Udall will not spend a dime on the issue may cause some to question if it really is much of an issue at all.  To quote Bill Clinton’s unofficial campaign motto, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

                      Claiming Schaffer is in cahoots with Abramoff   — without a criminal indictment accompanying the allegation — won’t fly very far, especially with most voters in the 4th CD.

                      I understood that you meant TV and radio when you wrote airwaves, but there will be a lot of competing interests, in that medium, besides the senate race.  Also, I think many here forget that the most consistent group of voters — seniors — do not utilize “You Tube” or even blogs, including this one, to make their political choices.    

                    9. Your crappy analogy aside, I suppose it’s a Democratic conspiracy that Sweatshop Schaffer opened his mouth and held up the abusive working conditions at the Marianas Islands as a national model for the United States. It’s always somebody else’s fault, right?

                      That is entirely beside the point of Schaffer being part of the protection racket that Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff erected to maintain said sweatshop conditions. They aren’t even bothering to deny it anymore.

                      Party loyalty doesn’t dictate that you are not supposed to find it embarrassing that your Senate nominee participated in this scandal. That you aren’t embarrassed by it is troubling.

                2. We’re always amazed when we read these sort of comments at Colorado Pols. Comments like, “nobody is going to remember this in November.”

                  Well, guess what? Millions of dollars will be spent on campaign ads and direct mail and earned media outreach to make ABSOLUTELY SURE that voters will know about it this fall. That they don’t know about it now is of absolutely NO consequence. They WILL know when it matters.

        2. No one but you has suggested it was all Bob Schaffer’s fault.

          Pick a more credible paper tiger.

          Schaffer wasn’t even important enough to rate a meeting with Jack Abramoff. But he still took the trip, took the money and did Abramoff’s bidding, along with Tom DeLay, Don Young, John Doolittle and others.

          As for your other questions — if this is the best Schaffer apologists can come up with, it’s not even gonna be close.

        3. during that time would know that the Republican majority ran the tables there.  Any issue like this that was brought to light by a minority-Dem was neatly brushed under the rug and ignored.  

        1. I hope the Left make this the most prominent issue of the senate race.  It will certainly make voters question where the Democrats’ priorities are with everything else that is going on.

          1. Bob Schaffer supported something that is very ugly, very sick and very wrong and knew it but kept it going, all for a few bucks to his campaign.  

            He is for sale, and not even to the highest bidder.  What could be worse !

          2. I think the voters of Colorado would be disturbed to know about the moral “compromises” Bob Schaffer made as a Congressman. Somebody’s core values is never “tired old news,” as some Republicans would like/hope/wish to think.  

  2. “As Catholics, we believe that all workers have inherent human dignity, including a right to fair wages, humane working conditions, and respect on the job,” said Sister Peg Maloney, RSM, a Catholics United member from Denver.  “We are thankful today that the efforts of Bob Schaffer and Jack Abramoff to deny workers in the Northern Mariana Islands basic human dignity in the workplace did not prevail.”

    If only there were a way to keep these nuns from voting …

  3. With all this sniping towards Bob Schaffer on this issue, I don’t believe I saw anyone (other than the nuns) praising, or thanking, President Bush for signing S.2739 into law.  Imagine that!

    1. He has now done 2 good things in his term.

      This is like saying Hitler was nice to his dogs. He was. So what. Bush remains the worst president in our history (including worse than Buchanan).

      1. Come on, David.  You’re better than this.

        I saw this trend — where nothing the president does is correct — start with the Right during the Carter administration.  Then it went into full bloom with the Clinton administration.  Frankly, I didn’t like it when Republicans were responsible for it.  I believed, and still do, that it damages the presidency itself after a while.

        Now it is being waged against Bush.  While he is not my favorite president, it is ridiculous to assume he has done nothing right.  

        Will Bush go down as one of our worst presidents?  It is hard to say when you are living in the moment.  It appears that might be the case, but look how Harry S. Truman’s stock has risen since he was president.  No one back in the early 1950’s would have predicted that.  Bush’s legacy will probably be linked to Iraq.  As it goes (and no one here knows how that will be), so goes Bush in history.

        I’ve often wondered how world affairs would have gone had George W. Bush been president in the 1930’s and had confronted Adolph Hitler in the early going.  We already know how it did turn out without anyone stepping up to Hitler early on.  I guess that’s a lesson Jay Benish won’t be teaching at Cheery Creek any time soon.

        But to already rank Bush below James Buchanan does defy logic. Buchanan’s deliberate inaction set the stage for the Civil War and nearly altered the very face — and possibly the existence — of the United States.  I don’t imagine Bush will rate very high, but I don’t believe he is going to be dead last either.

        I just hope we all live long enough to see how history does judge his presidency.        

        1. I’ve often wondered how world affairs would have gone had George W. Bush been president in the 1930’s

          “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the empire of Japan,” President George W. Bush said to a join session of Congress. “Therefore, I am asking your authority to invade and remove from power the government of Australia.”

        2. No CCA, No TVA, No social security.

          This country would have fallen into revolution.

          Pro torture, suspension of Habeus corpus, secret prisons and spying on citizens

          He might have pulled an el Duce.

          FDR tried to confront the facists in Europe, he rebuilt the navy to confront the Japanese, Universal public High School was a national defense priotity–he did as much as an isolationist nation would allow.

          Bush only hope is that he will be forgotten.  I think he will the 3rd worst.

          1. … mainly that there would have been a Republican Congress then.  I doubt there would have been.  My point was how different would the world have been if any Western leader (Bush was my chosen example) would have taken on Hitler before the Nazi dictator launched WWII in 1939.  

            Don’t forget that FDR was more than happy to have U.S. citizens of Japanese descent rounded up and placed in interment camps, while their lands were appropriated by others.  This also happened with some German-Americans on the East Coast, but that doesn’t get as much play in the history books.  It should be noted that Colorado governor Ralph Carr, a Republican, put his political career on the line in denouncing this practice.  One of the very few politicians of his day to do so.

            Also, was it not FDR who attempted to pack the Supreme Court with additional justices to get the majority he wanted after the Court struck down some of his proposals?  At least, GOP presidents — including Bush — have the decency to wait until there is a legitimate vacancy.  

            I’m sure people in Truman’s day figured he would rank near the bottom.  That is not the view held today.  Even 19th century president James K. Polk is beginning to undergo a transformation for his policies that led to the U.S. stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

              1. Wasn’t this the knock against against JFK’s father, Joseph Kennedy, back then as well?

                This all has gone well beyond the point I was trying to make about a 1930’s Bush taking on Hitler early as the current Bush did with Saddam in 2003.

                I’ll leave the last word with someone else and move on from this topic.

                1. It was Bush’s father who in 1990 compared Saddam to Hitler. Funny, though, after driving him out of Holland, er, Kuwait, he left him in power. That’s really what we needed in the ’30s?

                  Your analogy is flawed.

                  The War in Iraq didn’t prevent Saddam from over-running the Middle East. It just prevented us from catching Osama bin Laden.

            1. If you want to talk about the sins of FDR fine.

              Internment was a great sin.  We have paid reperations for it and apogized for to our fellow americans for it.  We can never fully make up for it.

              Will this nation eventually have to apologize for the crimes Bush has commited?

              Packing the courts was also a great over reach. One that was not successful, because we had divided government and the Congress and press did their job.  I wish the same happened as Bush developed the imperil exeutive.

              But back to the original point.

              My point was how different would the world have been if any Western leader (Bush was my chosen example) would have taken on Hitler before the Nazi dictator launched WWII in 1939.

              I’m not sure if you were intent on comparing the NAZI’s to Saddam or to Al Qaeda.  I will take each in turn.

              In the 1990’s everytime Clinton tried to attack al Qaeda the GOP said it was “no threat” and that it was “wagging the dog”  they decried his intervetionist policies. While campaigning in 2000 Bush promoted China as America’s enemy. The attack on the Cole by al Qaeda in the last months of Clinton’s term was virtually ignored by the Bush administration because it did not comport with view of the strategic priorities.  Despite the pleading of career defense and state professionals, like richard Clarke, the Bush administration remained fixated on China.  People forget that in May 2001 a US spy plane was forced down in China while testing Chineese air defenses in a provacative manner.  To Bush China=threat: al Qaeda=pest.  Yup that’s vision.

              If you were referring to Saddam.  That’s a reach. he was never a threat, and viewed his strategic competitor as Iran and his policies were based on that view.  You may have had a point if there had been WMD’s, but oh yeah there were’t any and Iraq hadn’t had a weapons program since the 80’s

              Yup that’s vision.

        3. But I think what has transpired easily makes him the worst. First to speak to the Truman analogy – the core problem for Truman was that he was blamed for the success of communist regimes. In hindsight we see that Russia and PRC had the guns and boots on the ground to take what they did, and a whole lot more. And Truman did a masterful job of limiting their gains.

          You could say that Truman was the first president to face America having limits on it’s power and handled it very well. And the country punished him for not acting as though America could do anything.

          Bush is the reverse. He has had the absolute worst response to our problems. And he has acted as though America has no limits on it’s pwer when it clearly does. In this respect, he is the un-Truman.

          But it’s more than that. His administration has been totally incompetent in it’s pursuit of it’s goals. Should we have invaded Iraq? That’s a strategic question and on that question you are right that time will tell.

          But once we did invade, should we have handled it competently? Yes. And on that measure Bush is already clearly a total failure. Same for the response to Katrina. Same for our energy policy. Same for our economic policy.

          It’s the raw incompetence of implementation that I think makes it easy to say already that Bush is worse than Buchanan.

          1. Bush 43 may not be quite as bad in any single category of “bad” as a previous President, but he gives each of the worst Presidents a run for the money in their area of “expertise”.  It is possible – IMHO probable – that as historians look back, Bush will exceed our current understanding of his incompetence/corruption/mal-administration.  But even without this “boost” to his reputation, the breadth of his poor leadership catapults him below Buchanan, Harding, and others in the bottom tier.

      1. Drew, if you read this, you’re judgment on this matter is impaired by party fealty. Think about how you would feel if this was all about Udall instead of Schaffer. Would you still say that it will not matter in November?

        1. Americans generally vote on one of two issues — their pocketbooks and their kids.  Make them choose between the two and they’ll usually pick their pocketbooks.  (This is why a good number of school bond issues fail.)

          Most voters are not going to make the Northern Marianas Islands their reason for picking a Senate candidate.  Is what went on there morally reprehensible?  Absolutely!  But does it impact the average (non-political junkie) voter here in Colorado?  No.  

          I think it is safe to say that more people in this state that would find abortions in Boulder to be more morally reprehensible than what was going on in the Northern Marianas Islands.  

          Fact finding trips are set up to show the public official whatever the host wants him to see.  That includes trips to Iraq by members of Congress and President Carter’s talks with Hamas.  (In countless numbers of city councils and local school boards, elected members are pretty much shown just what the city administrator or superintendent want them to see.)  The elected official rarely gets to talk to the “rank and file” when taking such trips.

          Was Bob Schaffer gullible about what he saw on his trip to the Northern Marianas Islands?  Yes.  Was he the only member of Congress to visit there?  Good question… and a relevant one as well.  Colorado voters are going to have a hard time accepting this was all Schaffer’s fault.  The guy certainly didn’t have that much power.  Sooner or later, the question will come up as to where were the Democrats, particularly Mark Udall, on this issue?

          Believe it or not, I actually listen to Air America fairly regularly during the day.  I can’t help but notice that a lot of the “outrages” of the day that they carry on about never make it into mainstream media that most voters are exposed to every day.

          To answer your question, Aristotle, I do not believe the NMI issue will be significant to most Colorado voters come November, regardless of whether it was Schaffer or Udall involved.      

          1. with all due respect, voters don’t vote about the issues that directly impact them. If they did, the GOP would not have made hay out of issues like flag burning and gay marriage over the last 15 – 20 years if voters did care (or maybe understand) the issues that really do affect them.

            Besides, this matters not because it affects Colorado voters but because it shows where Bob Schaffer’s values lay, and values and how voters perceive them matter quite a bit.

            I see that Dave makes much the same point below. Sorry if this is redundant.

          2. Was he the only member of Congress to visit there?  Good question… and a relevant one as well.

            No, Bob Schaffer wasn’t the only member of Congress to visit on Jack Abramoff’s dime.

            Others included Reps. John Doolittle, Don Young, Tom DeLay, and a chief staffer for Rep. Bob Ney.

            Doolittle and his wife are targets of Abramoff-related federal investigations. Young is embroiled in an influence-peddling ethics scandal and federal criminal investigation. DeLay resigned his leadership post and then declined to seek reelection after a criminal indictment. Ney resigned his seat and pled guilty to conspiracy and false statement charges connected to the Abramoff scandal, receiving a 30-month prison sentence.

            You really think this helps Bob Schaffer?

    2. I’d be more impressed if Bush hadn’t counted the vote totals and realized that a veto would be overridden.

      And I’d be more impressed if the bill was a standalone for the Marianas and not a consolidated bill on Natural Resources.

      For what it’s worth, I’m happy the President signed the bill.

    3. does that mean you agree that the situation on the island was disgraceful and needed reform?

      If so, shouldn’t you be criticizing Sweatshop Schaffer, instead of your lame attempts to act as apologist?

      1. and I am not apologizing for any role Bob Schaffer may have played in it.  But I have found the degree of blame affixed to him here about it to be absurd.  I don’t think the average Colorado voter will buy into either, nor will he, or she, find it relevant to what is going on here in Colorado come November.

  4. Judging by some GOP commentors’ pathetic pushback on Sweatshop Schaffer’s collusion with Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff in the CNMI slave labor protection racket, it seems like the best talking points coming out of Dick Wadhams shop is:

    1. Downplay the significance of this issue to the voters

    2. Flail around with as many fallacies as you can — you know, those fallacies your freshman year logic teacher told you made you sound like an idiot.

    This raises the question for Drew, Another Skeptic, etc.: How do you feel about yourself after carrying water for a candidate who was at the center of one of the most disgraceful Republican scandals in history, one that has damaged your “brand” to such an extent?

    Just curious.  

    1. one of the most disgraceful Republican scandals in history

      You’ve got to be kidding!  Neither party has any claim to being totally free of scandal, but to label this as you have, Twas, strains all credibility.

      1. Drew, your annoying propensity to erect straw men arguments goes to prove my point:

        Neither party has any claim to being totally free of scandal

        Who said that? Nobody. What point are you trying to prove? Who knows.  

        1. that you are quick to list it as one of the most disgraceful Republican scandals in history.  It would have been more appropriate to assert it as — although it’s certainly not — one of the most disgraceful political scandals in history. The difference is significant!  Or were you just trying to be annoying?

          Your intent was pretty obvious that Republicans are the only ones involved in “disgraceful scandals.”  I can see no other reason for you to have posed it the way you did.

          I don’t claim to be correct on every point or issue, but I do seek to provide some much needed balance from time to time.  So much of what is written here comes from the Left’s “holier than thou” mantra and “Democrats can do no wrong.”  

          1. it’s part of the Abramoff-DeLay influence-peddling scandal, which has sent more than a few to prison and cut short the political careers of some very bright lights in the Republican party.

            The scandal isn’t remotely bipartisan.

            And it’s still unfolding: A couple weeks ago, a former high-ranking Department of Justice official was charged in the Abramoff lobbying probe. Robert Coughlin stands accused of criminal conflict of interest reaching back to 2001.

            The Justice Department probe of Abramoff and his team of lobbyists has led to convictions of a dozen people, including former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and former Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles. At least one current member of Congress, Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., remains under investigation.

            There are still plenty of chickens on their way home to roost. It’s also one of the most easily identifiable Republican scandals of the last decade. Why else would Dick Wadhams continue spewing the bald-faced lie that Mark Udall “took money from Jack Abramoff”? Because it’s a disgraceful scandal with the potential to taint any who come into contact with it.

            Abramoff is serving prison time for a criminal case out of Florida and has not yet been sentenced on charges of mail fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion stemming from the influence-peddling scandal in Washington.

            Abramoff is cooperating with prosecutors because the length of his pending prison sentences depend on it. This scandal isn’t old, it isn’t dead, and it isn’t over.

  5. Most people do not vote on specific issues. They do not vote their pocketbook. They do not vote their interests.

    What most people do is look for the candidate that they are most comfortable with, who they think will tend to approach things in a reasonable manner.

    This why matching “values” and the standard “would have a beer with them” are such important measures. This is very important for candidates.

    And by those measures, Schaffer’s actions with respect to the Marianas Islands is toxic. So yes, this will matter – a lot.

    1. I think this election year… more than any other one in recent history… will see people voting their pocketbooks.  Will that favor Democrats or Republicans?  I honestly don’t know.

        1. The Democrats will have to shake the long held view that they are the “tax and spend” party.  If they can do it, you are right, Danny.

          Another factor is a growing number of voters seem to like the idea of divided government.  They will vote for one party’s presidential candidate, then vote for the other party’s congressional candidate. How prevalent that feeling is in 2008 remains to be seen.

          1. By using that old canard against Clinton in the 90’s, you lessened its power.

            Bush going on an orgy of spending on a credit card to the chineese, you lessened its power.

            Thanks GOP.

            1. Bush going on an orgy of spending on a credit card to the chinese, you lessened its power.

              But at some point in the near future, Democrats are going to have to explain why they voted for all this continued spending these last sixteen months. Appropriations start in the U.S. House of Representatives , then move on to the U.S. Senate. The spending bills would never reach the president’s desk had they not been sent there by Congress.

              It is a little hard for Democrats to take control of both the House and Senate, then blame the GOP president for the legislation they passed.  Have the Democrats shown a political backbone in Washington?  Not very often!  If there is one thing that has really surprised me by listening to “Air America,” it is how vicious liberal callers can be towards the Democratic members of Congress.

              On the state level, Governor Bill Ritter blaming the Republicans for certain legislation not getting passed this past session was downright pathetic!  Democrats control the governor’s office, along with both chambers of the General Assembly, and they blame the minority? That’s not exactly the message you want to take to your constituents this fall.  

              Maybe we should just vote out every incumbent at every level of government.

                 

              1. In reality, the president writes the budget, sends it to the House, says pass this budget and only this budget or else he’ll veto it, and then the Congress calculates what tweaks they do and don’t have the votes to override vetos on.

                1. I cannot even recall the last time a president, from either party, sent a budget to Congress that wasn’t declared to be “dead on arrival” by Congress in the media.  

                  It has become that way — not because of partisanship — but because of “turf wars.”  The legislative branch simply does not want to give up that authority to the executive branch.  

                  1. Bush’s budgets passed Congress every year more or less intact while Republicans had control.  A few billion in pork here and there doesn’t make it an entirely new bill.

                    And in case you’ve been missing it, the Legislative Branch has given up practically everything to the Executive since Bush has come to power.  Subpoena?  Not enforceable.  Lawmaking?  Executive orders and signing statements left unchallenged.  Advise and consent?  It’s Bush’s way or the highway.  War?  Congress hasn’t touched a formal declaration of war in ages; closest they’ve come is Afghanistan.  The Republicans in Congress still have just enough control to march lock-step with Bush’s orders whenever he gives them; Congress is just a formality until they all (Republicans included) get a spine and realize they’ve given up all power.

          2. I hope they do go on a taxing spree…to pay for this spending binge my party has been on for the last eight years.  If we were subjected to “PayGo” rules for war, we wouldn’t have one. Our chickens are coming home to roost — and someone needs to put their big boy pants on and right the ship.  

            1. The military budget needs a serious housecleaning, as does homeland security, FEMA, CIA, and probably a number of other agencies.  Contractors and frivolous contracts are sucking our treasury dry.

              The DOJ needs to be de-loused, EPA needs to be rebuilt, FDA needs to kick out some folks who are too chummy with the industries they regulate.  Just about every department has been subverted from its purpose into a cash-generating, half-paralyzed crony machine based on Rove’s political wet dreams.

              Time for the big boy pants, indeed.  The next few years are not going to be pleasant for the next leader of this country, but if a major overhaul isn’t done, then this country is headed the same direction as the Soviet Union.

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