The Week in Review looks at news stories from the past week with added commentary and perspective. (more)

A new poll from AP was released showing that President Barack Obama’s approval rating has risen to 60% and that his re-elect number is 52%. Whether this is a Bin Laden Bump or people finally realizing that the GOP 2012 stable is more manure than horse is yet to be determined. Especially considering that the 2012 presidential election is still 18 months away.

But there was real news this week

Immigration politics
On May 10th, President Obama travelled to El Paso to lay out his immigration plan and to ask people for help in convincing Congress to act. Not to act like big babies, but to act to work together to reform immigration laws in our country. The president spoke to the group in a roll out of his much anticipated plan. He emphasized the help he needs from Congress and the difficulty we face:

That’s one reason it’s been so difficult to reform our broken immigration system. When an issue is this complex, when it raises such strong feelings, it’s easier for politicians to defer until the problem the next election. And there’s always a next election.

The morality of a sane and sensible immigration plan is pretty clear. And the political consequences of failing to address concerns of Latino voters can best be shown by a reminder of what happened in 2010 when only 6.6 million of 21.3 million eligible voters came to the polls. Could a larger Latino presence at the polls have helped us retain our majorities?

There have been other immigration proposals put forward but the president’s plan, which he dubbed “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of Many, One), has this as it’s main theme:

So one way to strengthen the middle class in America is to reform the immigration system so that there is no longer a massive underground economy that exploits a cheap source of labor while depressing wages for everybody else. I want incomes for middle-class families to rise again. I want prosperity in this country to be widely shared. I want everybody to be able to reach that American dream. And that’s why immigration reform is an economic imperative. It’s an economic imperative.

It is up to the Republican Congress to decide if they can afford to ignore a group of Americans which is only getting larger (50.5 million in 2010 and 100 million by 2050). They can’t disenfranchise everyone forever, can they?

Good news for labor from the Granite State
In 2011 with the dispiriting actions of tea party movement Republican governors stealing the headlines, it is hard to find good news for unions and Democrats. Progressive Democrats need more than just examples of bad governance to help us win in 2012 … a few examples of good governance would be nice.

Enter Gov. John Lynch, Democrat of New Hampshire.

On Tuesday, he vetoed a so called right-to-work bill that would have transformed New Hampshire. And he did not just veto it, he provided an excellent explanation of why he vetoed it:

Lynch said Wednesday the bill wrongly intrudes on the ability of labor and management to negotiate contracts.

”There is no evidence that this legislation will offer any benefits to New Hampshire’s economy or workers,” Lynch wrote in his veto message. He said out-of-state interests, not New Hampshire businesses, are driving the issue.

Calling out unnecessary legislation. Check. Calling it out as being promoted by out-of-state interests. Check.

And he adds some great talking points:

Lynch said: “States should not interfere with the rights of businesses and their employees to freely negotiate contracts,” adding that the bill serves “no compelling public interest.”

During his seven-year term, businesses have never said right-to-work is a concern, he said. “And no New Hampshire workers have ever told me they couldn’t get a job because New Hampshire doesn’t have a so-called right-to-work law,” Lynch said.

As punctuation, the New Hampshire Democratic party laid down a marker:

Democratic Party State Chairman Raymond Buckley said Lynch “stood up for the middle class.” He noted that the state on Thursday was again named the nation’s most livable state.

““Why do Republicans want to turn New Hampshire into Mississippi?New Hampshire is routinely recognized as having one of the most business-friendly business climates in the nation and ranks highest in public safety and our schools outperform most other states,” he said.

According to news reports, the Republican legislature is unlikely to be able to override his veto.

Oily or just slimey?
The price of a gallon of gas and oil company subsidies are making the news again. Certainly gas prices are having an impact on the economy and on individual household budgets). Big Oil demanding government handouts when they are making record profits is putting the white hot glare of publicity on them.

Capitol Hill was awash with Big Oil interests defending their subsidies. While the subsidies are not really related to the cost of oil in the short term , they create extremely bad optics especially when one oil executive declared that the proposal to end oil subsidies was “un-American.”

ConocoPhillips executive Red Cavaney insisted that they have “risks” and “massive investments” and that if they cannot be guaranteed certainty, why even bother to stay in business? Okay, I made up that last part … but not the first part. Apparently in Big Oil, “risks” and “massive investments” cannot possiblly be borne alone although they have no problem spending record profits.

Of course, the big story should be not how to make gas prices cheaper but how to move away from fossil fuel for our vehicles. Because $4 a gallon gas is here to stay. Per James Hamilton, an economist and oil expert:

“Even if we get through a few years here, we’re going to be right back in the same boat soon.”

Hopefully it is a solar powered boat or we will be sunk.


Reader’s Comments are Welcome