Thursday, September 29

CONGRESSMAN DAVID DREIER UNACCEPTABLE TO REPUBLICAN CONSERVATIVES

The story, of course, is all about former and formidable House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX) of Surgar Land, Texas, indicted yesterday by a Travis County grand jury on one count of felony criminal conspiracy for allegedly being involved in an exchange of corporate cash funneled to Texas House candidates back in 2002. The mainstream media and the blogosphere are awash in Tom Delay stories and commentary. Just turn on any 24/7 cable news channel, or read any of today's front page headlines of major metropolitan newspapers, or look at "Tom Delay" in Technorati's search engine pecking order to know this to be true.

But a story within the story may well be the rebuff given southern California Congressman (and House Rules Committee Chairman) David Dreier (R-CA), as reported in the "Houston Chronicle":

Several officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said an aide to Hastert contacted California Rep. David Dreier on Monday about assuming the majority leader's duties in the event DeLay was indicted. Several lawmakers said such a change would have made it easier for the Texan to eventually regain his post.

But by Tuesday, as the grand jury completed its work in Austin, Texas, Blunt forcefully asserted his claim to the job in conversations with the speaker, according to several GOP officials.

At the same time, conservative lawmakers quickly made known their unhappiness with Dreier as a potential stand-in for DeLay.

At a private midday meeting, several conservative lawmakers argued that Dreier's voting record was too moderate. According to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, some participants in the meeting said the Californian had voted in favor of expanded federal funding for stem cell research and against a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. There also was grumbling that the Californian favored a less restrictive policy on immigration than many conservatives.

"There was a lot of discussion in that room about will ... he advance the conservative agenda?" said Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who attended the meeting and said he personally would have been comfortable with Dreier in the post.

Other officials said a show of hands near the end of the session showed support for a postponement in selecting a temporary majority leader if it were to be Dreier. A delegation was dispatched to inform Hastert, who in the meantime had decided to recommend Blunt instead.


Blunt, of course, is Representative Roy Blunt (R-MO), who will succeed Tom Delay as House Majority Leader, at least for the interim, as a result of the indictment against Delay and the political scandal in its wake, and owing to his backing by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), who read the tea leaves astutely in terms of his party's conservative base's displeasure with the prosepect of Dreier.

As a center-right, conservative blogger and one who focuses, in large part, on the porous borders/illegal immigration issue, I have long followed David Dreier's rise in the halls of Congress, aware that up until his difficult re-election in 2004, in which he did a rather disingenuous about face, he's long been soft on the burgeoning illegal immigration problem, both in California and nationally. Indeed, widely popular southern California area radio personalities John Kobylt and Ken Chiampo of the "John and Ken Show" on radio station KFI waged a highly successful campaign to expose Congressman Dreier during his re-election bid in 2004.

This from their webpage in August 2004:

Two popular radio talk-show hosts are planning the “political human sacrifice’ of a Republican they deem weak on illegal immigration, and they’ve got a longtime area representative in their sights. Rep. David Dreier, R-Glendora, is on the short list of potential targets for John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou – hosts of “The John & Ken Show’ on top-rated Los Angeles talk station KFI- AM – who say Republicans in Congress are standing idly by as undocumented immigrants wreak havoc on the state’s economy and clutter up freeways, prisons, hospitals and schools. Read the story here.

Here's evidence of just how intense the "defeat Dreier" campaign waged by that radio show became.

And this from the "Washington Post":

Rancor over illegal immigration has become a staple on conservative blogs and talk radio, with much of the wrath directed at Bush. Stein, of the immigration reform group, said the president has dragged his heels on security improvements and "is not leading the American people on this issue."

The outcry may be resonating. House Rules Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) got a jolt during his 2004 reelection campaign, when radio hosts in his outer Los Angeles district decided to make him a "political human sacrifice" for his immigration views, Dreier said, accusing him, among other things, of advocating Social Security benefits for illegal immigrants.

"I said to myself, nobody's going to believe I want to give Social Security checks to people who are here illegally," Dreier recalls. Then he polled voters and found that people not only believed the allegation but had resolved "to never vote for David Dreier again." He won with 54 percent of the vote, a lower proportion than previous years, and has since taken a prominent role in advocating the Sensenbrenner measures, although he also supports guest-worker programs.


And here's how "Americans For Better Immigration" rates David Dreier's voting record on immigration.

I would suggest to readers of ACSOL rightly fed up with the national security threat our nation's porous borders pose and the deleterious impact of 11+ million illegal aliens afoot in America, that David Dreier's belated epiphany vis-a-vis immigration reform and border security was likely more about getting re-elected in a campaign made infinitely more difficult by the pounding he took on these issues from the "John and Ken Show" and that we're better off that he will not be stepping into the powerful position held by Tom Delay.

After all, isn't it bad enough that George Bush -- an apologist for open borders, amnesty, and liberal Guest Worker programs -- is in the White House and permitting a wholesale invasion of our country! Let's not flank him in the House chamber with yet another high-ranking, pro-illegal immigration seed pod carrier.

OTHER BLOGGERS WEIGH IN: The American Mind; Ace of Spades HQ; and, Michelle Malkin. Oh, and What Attitude Problem? should be read, as well.