President Obama

Border Security First, The Best Way Forward on Immigration Reform

Illegal Immigration

(Photo Credit: The Blaze)

One of the best ways to reach bipartisan agreement on comprehensive immigration reform is to begin with a significant border security bill. Before we decide on what to do with the millions of illegal immigrants in America, a bill substantively addressing the problems and threats along our Southern border needs to be crafted and enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. Comprehensive immigration reform does not have to take place in the form a single massive piece of legislation; a series of immigration reform bills can constitute comprehensive immigration reform. We must make it incredibly difficult for people to illegally enter into our nation. By starting comprehensive immigration reform with discourses about amnesty or a pathway to citizenship for extant illegal immigrants in America evinces a failure to commit to first principles: enforce the existing rule of law and keep the homeland safe from potential terrorists who could use our porous Southern border as a vehicle for entrance into our great country.

President Obama taking unilateral action on immigration is severely damaging to efforts to reach bipartisan reforms on immigration. If President Obama is truly interested in working with Republicans to achieve comprehensive immigration reform, then he must rescind his unilateral action on immigration and refrain from future unilateral action on immigration. President Obama cannot honestly expect to build relationship across political aisles while sending messages that he’ll do what he wants to do with or without the approval of Congress—that’s simply no way to engage in mature negotiations.

Although Republicans need to continue to insist on border security first as their approach to comprehensive immigration reform, they must also speak openly about their plans for comprehensive immigration beyond border security. Too often Republicans allow themselves to appear myopic on comprehensive immigration reform: they’ve permitted Democrats to paint an effective picture of them as having no real plans for comprehensive immigration reform. Republicans must publicly discuss their complete ideas for comprehensive immigration reform and not limited their public discussions of comprehensive immigration reform to border security.

After passing meaningful border security legislation and providing the necessary funding for this legislation, Democrats and Republicans can come together to reform the traditional immigration system. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the traditional immigration system needs modernizing to make the process of becoming an American citizen more humane. The length of time it takes to become an America citizen should be greatly reduced. Many illegal immigrants chose to enter our country illegally because it takes too long to gain citizenship through our current immigration process. We can make illegal immigration less attractive by making legal immigration more appealing.

Our elected national officials in Washington, D.C. too often take a failed approach to solving complex problems: by beginning with where they disagree instead of where they agree. The American people—Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike—must demand their elected national officials to approach comprehensive immigration reform by beginning with what they agree on and move on to the more contentious issues of comprehensive immigration reform.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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David Perdue is Making a Huge Romney Mistake

David Perdue

(Photo Credit: Disclose TV)

Michelle Nunn, daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, has a more than legitimate chance to win the Georgia U.S. Senate seat.  As Republicans are passionately committed to taking back the U.S. Senate, and maintaining control of the U.S. House in the November 2014 elections, this would be a disappointing loss. Why disappointing?  Georgia is a slightly Republican-leaning state and a state that Republicans have already determined they will win.  If David Perdue, the Republican candidate for Senate and cousin of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, does not do a better job of defending his business record, he will lose to Nunn.  In the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, Mitt Romney did a poor job of defending his business record against the attacks of President Obama, contributing significantly to his defeat.  Romney highly touted his business experience as the primary evidence he knew how to ameliorate the U.S. economy and do a far better job of handling the economy than President Obama.  Romney never, however, seemed to respond adequately to President Obama’s attacks on his management of Bain Capital, and never appeared to provide a sufficient response to Obama’s general attacks on his business experience.

David Perdue is in danger of making the same huge mistake Romney made; he’s failing to defend his business experience adequately.  Perdue’s business experience is even more important to his candidacy than Romney’s was to his candidacy in 2012.  Business experience is the only substantive leadership Perdue has.

Former Senator Nunn is highly respected across the state among Democrats and Republicans.  It’s possible that his daughter will be able to benefit from his name recognition and earn enough votes to defeat Perdue. Michelle Nunn is running a highly effective television advertisement about a company, Pillowtex, Perdue once led.  It shares the anger of some former employees of the company who were negatively impacted by Perdue’s management of the company.  If Perdue wants to stop the adverse impact this advertisement is having on his campaign, then he must run a television advertisement that directly counters Nunn’s Pillowtex advertisement.

Although Republicans are targeting open Senate seats where incumbent Democrats are vulnerable, it’s time for them to send David Perdue some much needed support in Georgia.  Some polls show Perdue leading Nunn and some show Nunn leading Perdue, with an average of the polls giving Perdue a slight edge.  This race will go right down to the finish.

Perdue is doing an excellent job of casting Nunn as being a rubberstamp vote for President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  He says that she will be a “proxy for both Obama and Reid,” and she will be “Obama’s Senator” and “not Georgia’s Senator.”  Nunn leadership experience is fairly limited but Perdue has not really done an effective job of exposing it.  To win, Perdue must become more aggressive in defending his business record and in exposing Nunn’s limited leadership experience.  His current campaign strategy will not be enough to win him the Senate seat.  Perdue cannot simply rely on the fact that Georgia is a Republican-leaning state, considering demographics have constantly been moving in favor of Georgia Democrats.  He needs to take an honest look at how much of a fight incumbent Governor Nathan Deal is in with Jason Carter, son of former President Jimmy Carter, as evidence of how tough it’s going to be to defeat Nunn.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Cornel West’s Courage Should Make You Proud

Dr. Cornel West

(Photo Credit: MTV)

Too many milquetoast Americans, especially Blacks, lack the courage to offer a substantive critique of President Obama.  With the national unemployment rate for Black people being 13.5%, one would think that more Blacks would be propounding their criticisms of President Obama’s poor record of creating jobs.  In many predominantly Black cities across the country, Black unemployment is twice as high as it is nationally.  Although one may not always agree with Dr. Cornel West, former distinguished professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and now Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary, one has to be proud of the courage he shows in his passionate criticisms of President Obama and his policies.

Dr. West’s accomplishments, brilliance, and academic work will forever make him one of the most important persons in American history.  He’s one of the greatest minds in world history.  Dr. West is one of the leading public intellectuals of our time.  As a responsible and effective public intellectual, Dr. Cornel West understands that he has a duty to speak truth to power.  He’s never been afraid to say and do things that might unsettle, unnerve, and unhouse people.

While many question the motivations of his vehement criticisms of Obama, the focus should be more on engaging in a discourse about the criticisms he proffers.  People who don’t want to enter into a conversation about his potent critiques of Obama simply desire to dismiss him as being bitter because Obama didn’t invite him to his first inauguration or first inaugural ball.  Well, after sponsoring and attending over 75 campaign events—many were located in brutally cold places—for President Obama, one would like to think that Dr. West would’ve received an invitation.  Dr. West has repeatedly stated that he’s not bothered by such an inane matter as not receiving an invitation.

One has to be proud of him for mustering the courage to take on some of the prominent liberals that have been given platforms by MSNBC to advocate for President Obama.  Dr. West asserts that MSNBC is a “rent-a-negro” network; that is, a liberal network that gives Black faces (e.g. Al Sharpton and Dr. Melissa Harris Perry) their own shows and/or allows them to make frequent appearances on other people’s shows in exchange for their puppy-dog loyalty to President Obama.  One person who is a stanch liberal and who has been friends with Dr. Cornel West is Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.  Dr. Dyson appears regularly on MSNBC and is a strong supporter and defender of Obama.  Dr. West contends that Dr. Dyson has “sold his soul for a mess of Obama pottage.”  Before Dr. Dyson became a frequent contributor on MSNBC, he was willing to critique Obama.  Now, he cannot find enough ways to praise Obama.

Dr. Cornel West’s record reflects a serious commitment to racial minorities, working people, and the poor.  He will not allow himself to be placed on the market for sale, as others have done for Obama.  West hasn’t let his black skin prevent him from criticizing President Obama appropriately.  Dr. West gives President Obama credit when he deserves it, but he’s never afraid to hold him accountable for horrible policy choices and his inattentiveness to the needs of poor and working people.

Dr. West has been on a “Poverty Tour” across the nation raising attention and support for the needs of the poor.  The poor is the only group in America without lobbyists in Washington, D.C.  West hopes to make the poor visible to President Obama and America.  His work to ameliorate the lives of poor people in America should be applauded and supported.

It’s not popular to be Black and say things in opposition to President Obama, but Dr. Cornel West isn’t willing to submit to the pressure of staying popular.  He’s working to hold President Obama, a man who has tremendous power, accountable to all Americans, especially the most vulnerable people in America: the poor.  For this, he should make us all proud.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Open Letter to Colin Powell

Colin Powell

Dear Colin Powell:

I would like to thank you for your many distinguished years of military and public service.  The work you’ve done is extraordinary.  Your true American story is inspiring and speaks to what is possible in this great nation.  Mr. Powell, I have deep respect for you.

It’s becoming increasingly ostensible that you’re no longer a republican.  You’ve voted for President Obama in the last two presidential elections and have been fiercely critical of the Republican Party for the last 8 years.  While there’s certainly nothing wrong with being critical of one’s political party, you seem to find nothing you like about the party any longer.  You, however, have no problem with finding things you like about the Democratic Party and President Obama.

If you really believe that the Republican Party does not value minorities, then why are you still claiming to be a republican?  Why not change your political affiliation?  Are you masquerading as a republican when you’re really a democrat for the potential political benefits this can offer the Democratic Party?  Are you really that thrilled with the Democratic Party in the last 8 years, or do you just have a fondness for President Obama?  If you’re using the label of republican against republicans, then it’s having little to no impact on voters.

You’ve never really been too comfortable in the Republican Party in the first place.  Why continue to experience this discomfort?  Would the Democratic Party make you feel more comfortable, or would you feel more relaxed as an independent?  Are you enjoying the spotlight that your opposition to republican presidential candidates gains you?  Do you feel the need to have substantial national political power and see this as your way to command this desired power?

The policies, values, and worldview of President Obama are diametrically opposed to the Republican Party.  You’ve given the policies, values, and worldview of President Obama ringing endorsements.  You cannot honestly admit that you’re committed to the Republican Party.  What would it hurt if you changed parties?  Someone with an illustrious record as you have is more than entitled to do what you please.  If you’re truly a republican, then publish a piece about why you’re a republican and how you reconcile this with being a zealous supporter of President Obama.

Mr. Powell, you’ve given many people the right to question the authenticity of your claim to be a republican.  Don’t get angry when people question your genuineness about being a republican—simply explain to them why you are.  Many democrats, republicans and independents are curious about why have elected to remain a republican.

Would it be best for you to sever all ties with the Republican Party?

Sincerely,

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Happy 49th Birthday President Barack H. Obama

Revolutionary Paideia would like to take a brief moment and wish President Barack H. Obama a happy 49th birthday! We hope that you will have a great day today and we appreciate your public service to our country. This is a day that conservatives, moderates, liberals, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents can come together to wish our American President a happy birthday! Regardless of how you feel about President Obama, you should have the decency to wish him a happy birthday. If you find that you cannot wish this man a happy birthday, then you might want to examine yourself really carefully because clear thinking individuals are willing to do this. Although Revolutionary Paideia does not endorse President Obama, we do honor the office of the President of the United States of America and we do appreciate President Obama’s public service. Again, happy birthday President Obama!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Tea Party and Questions about Racism

I want people to understand that the Tea Party is not a “party” in the sense of the Democratic or Republican parties. The Tea Party is still a large and growing movement of conservatives, moderates, and even some liberals of all races, ethnicities, and nationalities who are dissatisfied with politics as usual. The Tea Party’s dominant “membership” supports smaller government, embraces individual responsibility, loves low taxes, advocates for a strong defense, and longs for a return to the days when we truly cherished the Constitution. Of course, there are racist people in the Tea Party—we have witnessed a number of signs to indicate this. It is, however, unfair to characterize the Tea Party as racist. Just because a small percentage of people associated with the Tea Party resort to using racist signs, it is silly to call the Tea Party racist for the actions of these people.

I know people associated with the NAACP who admit that they hate White people, but should I call the NAACP a racist organization? Would it be useful to examine the racism of the membership of the NAACP? No. I would like to see the same courtesy extended to both organizations. Revolutionary Paideia does not endorse either organization. Revolutionary Paideia appreciates the important role that the NAACP played and continues to play in the fight for equality, justice, and freedom. Revolutionary Paideia also appreciates the Tea Party for its active participation in the political process. For me, it is great to see such zealous political participation in America.

Although I love the passion that I see from Tea Party members, I do not support the racism of some of the members of this organization. I would like for the leaders of the Tea Party to be much more public and vocal about their opposition to racism, and to explaining efforts that they are making to keep people away from Tea Party rallies, meetings, and conventions who create signs that are racist. I know many Tea Party members—all of which are White and I’m African-American—and they do not have a racist bone in their bodies.

Much of the racist charges directed at the Tea Party emerge from a grand strategy to attempt to weaken the success of the Tea Party movement. I contend that many Democratic leaders are trying to charge this organization with racism to attempt to divert attention away from the message of change that the Tea Party offers. When one listens to much of what Tea Party members have to say across the country, the individual can find that they have some serious ideas about how to improve America, and one will find that this is not simply a group that hates President Obama.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Revolutionary Paideia’s July 2010 Person of the Month: Sarah Palin

You probably cannot turn your television on without seeing some type of coverage about former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is a figure in American politics who cannot be overlooked—whether you love or hate her. Revolutionary Paideia does not endorse Sarah Palin but has selected her as the July 2010 Person of the Month because she truly represents the “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” spirit that founded Revolutionary Paideia. What I most appreciate about Sarah Palin is her willingness to do things her own way. She is not willing to change anything up for political purposes or to fit a certain image—she is just Sarah Palin.

Governor Palin is ushering in a new kind of feminism—a conservative feminism. The type of conservative feminism she is offering provides a significant contribution to the extant feminist discourse, criticism, and theory. Extant feminism is fundamentally leftist. With Palin, we have an opportunity to see a new feminism that is rooted in the values and principles of limited government, individual responsibility, low taxes, pro-life, pro-business, a strong defense, and strong families. Unquestionably, those aforementioned values and principles are conspicuously absent from existing feminist discourse, criticism, and theory. The conservative feminist ideas and ideals being championed by Governor Palin will not be able to be ignored by feminists. Even though many (if not most) feminists will make a serious attempt to dismiss Palin’s feminist ideas and ideals, the ideas and ideals she offers deserve to be thoroughly considered in all spaces where feminism is contemplated.

Revolutionary Paideia really appreciates how willing Sarah Palin has been to attract more women to the Republican Party. Although pro-life positions are unpopular with the majority of women, Palin has not allowed that to stop her from pursuing a pro-life agenda aimed at gaining larger support of women for conservative causes. You got to give her credit—she is the only American politician who would believe that a significant number of American mothers would buy into the thought of themselves as “Grizzly Moms”—only Governor Palin has the level of nerve to do that.

Even though she was not successful in her bid to become the Vice-President of the United States of America, she has not allowed this to stop her criticism of President Obama when she has felt that his policies are wrong for America. She has communicated her criticisms of President Obama and his administration through Facebook and as a Fox News Contributor. Although Governor Palin is not the most sophisticated person when it comes to policy, she does offer a common sense conservative approach to policy that should not simply be overlooked. When the Left simply says that she does not have any answers to the vexing quandaries facing our country, I have to say that this is simply a lie. She has offered numerous times through various mediums answers to some of America’s most challenging problems, but some have simply disagreed with her answers and found her answers to mean no answers—this is unfair to her.

I am deeply troubled by how people are not willing to engage in substantive discourse about Sarah Palin. People just reduce her to a laugh, joke, smirk, and/or rude comment. I will simply say that this woman had more experience in actually running something than President Obama—this is just a fact and not an attack. At Revolutionary Paideia, we simply want to give credit where credit is due—Sarah Palin, like her or hate her, is certainly a figure that reflects the notion of “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” people that represents the founding ideas and ideals established by Revolutionary Paideia.

Congratulations to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for being selected as Revolutionary Paideia’s July 2010 Person of the Month! While Revolutionary Paideia does not endorse Sarah Palin, we do honor her willingness to challenge the status quo.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison