The “So What” Issues
Every so often there appears a convergence of news media stories that can only be described as “so what issues”. The question of why they made the news in the first place is swamped by the irrelevance of the overall story… Here are three.
Chuck Hagel’s confirmation vote delayed a week. Senate Republicans asked Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, for a week’s delay on any vote. The Republicans wanted more information on Hagel’s finances. Hmmm.
After 8 hours of testimony in which Republicans asked nothing relevant to current world conditions (that is, conditions Hagel will have to deal with), the GOP now has questions about where Hagel earned his money over the past 5 years. While this is a legitimate question, if it were so important why wasn’t it front and center during the testimony?
But the “so what” label comes from someplace else. If for any reasons Hagel is not confirmed, does anyone think President Obama will nominate someone like Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz, or John McCain? Does anyone think that the President’s next pick would not conform to the President’s policies?
Boy Scouts Delay Decision on Gay/Lesbian Members. A few realists in the national Boy Scout movement had mustered enough common sense to propose (actually run a trial balloon) on changing “national” by-laws to allow for gay and lesbian members. The trial ballon did not require any local troops to follow but if local troops did, there would be no national blow back. Hmmm.
American opinion on gays and lesbians is changing so fast one can almost feel the winds. The longer any private group waits to find accommodations will only make the embarrassment greater when consequences of today’s delay are fully seen. For Boy Scouts, enrollment will certainly continue to decline and their cherished image of helping old ladies cross the street will turn dark.
Immigration Reform. There appears to be growing support (outside the Latino community) for immigration reform. The only question is whether the reform will include a path to citizenship. Opposition ranges from “ship them all back” to “give them documents but not documents that could lead to citizenship”. Hmmm.
Opponents of immigration reform seem ignorant of the national demographics as well as the inherently un-enforceable aspects of the boarder with Mexico. One can understand GOP opposition to citizenship thinking that it only means more votes for Democrats. The problem is without comprehensive immigration reform how will the GOP get any Latinos already citizens to vote for them? With Unions and the business community now behind immigration reform, opponents should be looking for a soft landing spot.
Hagel, gays in the Boy Scouts, and immigration reform may not succeed soon. That is the nature of political debates. What will not change is that the current basis for opposition will forever be seen as short sighted and wrong headed. Smart players know when to fold them.