It is truly a disgusting state of affairs when the leaders of one political party toss aside legitimate concerns about national security and public safety in order to engage in political pandering, mockery and name-calling.
Within days of the bloodbath on the streets of Paris by a band of Islamofascists, President Obama was in the Philippines telling the press that Republicans, who were calling for stringent background checks on the 10,000 Syrian refugees he wants to resettle in the U.S., are “scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion. First, they were worried about the press being too tough on them during debates. Now they’re worried about three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.”
He seems more concerned about the widows and orphans of foreign lands than those who might become such here due to his lack of due diligence.
Nevada’s Sen. Harry Reid picked up the blame-Republicans rant and spat it out on the floor of the Senate. “I have been disgusted in recent days to see some of my Republican colleagues shun the American tradition of displaying compassion to those in need; of sheltering those fleeing death, torture, rape, and oppression. And frankly, I have been disappointed by Republican fear-mongering and bigotry,” Reid said.
This past week the House passed a bill — dubbed American SAFE Act of 2015 — that would require the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to more closely screen those seeking to resettle here as refugees from Syria and Iraq to avoid admitting the Islamic State jihadists that ISIS has bragged it is embedding with refugees.
(This is the same DHS whose airport screeners failed to catch weapons and explosives 95 percent of the time during tests.)
Reid promised to filibuster the bill in the Senate and Obama promised to veto it if it gets by Reid.
The House vote was 289-137, with enough Democrats voting aye to overturn a veto. Nevada’s delegation voted along party lines. Republicans Joe Heck, Cresent Hardy and Mark Amodei voting aye and Democrat Dina Titus voting no.
Amodei in particular did not take the tongue lashing from Obama lying down. “While it is not my preference to engage in political wordsmithing, frankly, given his comments over the past few days, it seems the President reserves greater disdain for his political opponents than he does those responsible for the deaths of thousands at home and abroad, the atrocities in Paris, beheadings, burnings, and the enslavement of women and minors,” the northern Nevada Republican answered. “To suggest that Members of Congress and other American citizens who express concern over a legitimate threat are somehow a recruiting tool for ISIS is disgusting and about the least Presidential thing I’ve seen out of an already disappointing, JV Administration.”
Hardy, who represents rural southern Nevada and northern Clark County, got right to the point of the Safe Act. “ISIS has openly bragged about their plans to use the refugee relocation process to gain unprecedented access to Western nations,” he said. “Intelligence reports show at least one of the attackers in Paris used a stolen Syrian passport to travel freely throughout the region. Why should we think the United States would be treated differently by those who seek to harm us?”
Rep. Heck, who is running for Reid’s Senate seat, declared, “Our first responsibility must be to protect Americans. The Islamic State has declared war on the west and settling thousands of new refugees who cannot be properly vetted only increases the chances of a Paris-style attack in the United States. The President may be satisfied with his strategy against ISIL, but it clearly is not working.”
His Democratic opponent, former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, apparently realizing the futility of running on Reid’s foreigners-first stance, parted company with him, saying “we must ensure that our vetting process for accepting Syrian refugees is as thorough as possible.”
Titus toed the party line and called the Safe Act “politically motivated legislation that sends the wrong message to our allies, misdirects critical resources, and abandons our proud tradition of being a safe harbor for the most vulnerable in search of better lives.”
That is what your representatives in D.C. have to say, in their own words.
Public safety should not be a partisan issue, but the Democratic leadership shrugs off the lives of Americans as mere collateral damage as they carpet bomb the political landscape with their venomous rhetoric.
Thomas Mitchell is a longtime Nevada newspaper columnist. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at http://4thst8.wordpress.com/.