Friday, April 30, 2010

GOP Gov. Candidate Allen Weh on AZ Immigration Law: 'I Haven't Read the Bill'

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Allen Weh -- the frontrunner in the GOP primary by his own assessment and that of many others -- seems to be having a little trouble with consistency.

In response to a question about the new Arizona immigration law at a UNM meet and greet yesterday, he said he couldn't comment on it because he hadn't read the 17-page bill that requires police officers to ask for proof of citizenship from anyone they deem to be reasonably suspicious. That same evening, at a Republican debate, he side-stepped the question of whether he had read the bill (see video above for clip of both answers).

This past Tuesday, in an Albuquerque Journal article, Weh weighed in on the law this way:

Arizona's new law compels us more than ever to enforce existing law, or risk becoming an even bigger magnet for illegal immigrants and criminals. I'll start by rescinding the executive order barring State Police from reporting illegal immigrants that they stop or apprehend, and ending driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.

Read_the_bill_sign I guess earlier this week he felt he knew enough about the bill to comment on it, but by Thursday it suddenly struck him that he hadn't "read the bill," a phrase so often used in Tea Party parlance. As in, "Hey Democratic Congressman, have you READ THE BILL?" (As we've learned, every Tea Party person claims to have read the bill, no matter what bill they're complaining about.)

Why, Weh, Why?
Your guess is as good as mine as to why Weh changed his answer as the week went on. Was it because he read the bill early in the week, but had forgotten what's in it a few days later? Was it because he only pretended to know what the bill said when he commented to the Journal about it on Tueday, and he decided to be honest on Thursday and admit he hadn't really read it?

Or did Weh take notice of the passionate and widespread backlash caused by the bill's enactment and decide to pretend he hadn't read it so he didn't have to give a clear response?

Winging It
Images Regardless of the reason for his inconsistency, his sloppiness is proof positive that he isn't really ready for prime time. Accomplished and competent candidates make sure they have their facts straight before engaging the public. It appears that Weh just wings it -- and expects nobody to notice.

Weh apparently winged it when he helped put together his latest TV ad, too. He makes a big deal about Democratic candidate Diane Denish's alleged use of stimulus funds to fly in a state plane to a parade in Gallup. The only trouble is that's not true.

Like a CEO?
Remember that Weh repeatedly says he wants to run the state like a CEO runs a business. Owners or managers this discombobulated and/or dishonest usually don't get very far in the competitive world of business -- unless they've got the inside track on federal contracts, as Weh's air service company apparently did during the Iraq War. Or maybe he's patterning himself on the dishonest Wall Street CEOs who were allowed to run amok and lie to investors, thanks to the Republican addiction to deregulation. Either way, candidates this fickle with the facts are unlikely to win many elections -- or to govern in a competent, transparent manner if they do manage to get into office. Details matter, and Allen Weh can't seem to get them right.

"Mr. Weh says he wants to run New Mexico like a CEO, but with Wall Street CEOs giving themselves outrageous bonuses and Weh's disregard for simple details, the people of New Mexico have to ask themselves if that's the type of executive leadership our state needs," said James Hallinan, DPNM spokesman. "Mr. Weh is running for governor, but so far he has outlined no ideas, just poorly sourced attacks and a penchant for being unprepared."

April 30, 2010 at 05:52 PM in 2010 NM Governor's Race, Allen Weh, Border Issues, Civil Liberties, Hispanic Issues, Immigration, Minority Issues, Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (15)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Top GOP Governor Candidates Support Arizona SB 1070, Show Me Your Papers

Reasonably

The leading Republican candidates for New Mexico Governor today came out in support of Arizona's controversial immigration law, siding with the extreme right over New Mexico families. In an Albuquerque Journal article published today, the three GOP frontrunners -- Allen Weh, Susana Martinez and Pete Domenici JUNIOR -- praised the Arizona law. Amazingly, not one of the GOP candidates took the opportunity to condemn the racial profiling that will no doubt result from the bill.

The law has been strongly criticized, worldwide, for going too far and creating an environment conducive to racial profiling and infringement on the individual rights of law-abiding citizens. Just today, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal government may challenge Arizona's new law, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who served as Arizona governor prior to her federal appointment, said Arizona's new immigration law could siphon federal money and staff needed to go after truly dangerous immigrants. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Napolitano said the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement fears it will have to use its stretched resources to deal with those arrested under Arizona's new law. Napolitano twice vetoed similar legislation when she was governor of Arizona.

Many experienced law enforcement professionals are also against the new law. The AP reported that, "Current law in most states doesn't require police to ask about the immigration status of those they encounter, and many police departments prohibit officers from inquiring out of fear immigrants won't cooperate in other investigations."

The Arizona Republic reported that police chiefs said officers "will have to make immigration enforcement their priority over every other type of crime." The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police stated that SB 1070 "will negatively affect the ability of law enforcement agencies across the state to fulfill their many responsibilities in a timely manner."

"It's shocking that in a state as diverse as New Mexico, the three GOP frontrunners would not immediately come out against this dangerous law," said Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Javier Gonzales in a statement released today. "New Mexicans know racial profiling and fear is not the way to address immigration reform but, unfortunately, the Republican candidates disagree. Weh, Martinez and Domenici Jr. are showing their true colors, siding with the extreme right-wing instead of New Mexicans. Their extreme positions will not be forgotten on Election Day."

The Republicans, however, have a tendency to see everything in black and white or, in this case, brown and white. They don't see any constitutional dangers in giving the police free rein to demand papers from anyone they deem "reasonably suspicious" -- thus opening the door to racial and ethnic profiling and potential harassment of virtually anyone whose look isn't appealing to a given law enforcement officer. Talk about creating a police-state atmosphere! 

Here's what the leading GOP gubernatorial candidates had to say:

Frontrunner Allen Weh, who has angered and insulted many New Mexicans over the years because of a perceived anti-immigrant, even anti-Hispanic bent, said, "Arizona's new law compels us more than ever to enforce existing law, or risk becoming an even bigger magnet for illegal immigrants and criminals. I'll start by rescinding the executive order barring State Police from reporting illegal immigrants that they stop or apprehend, and ending driver's licenses for illegal immigrants."

Note Weh's rhetorical connection of "immigrants" to "criminals." Because, you know, in Weh's world the line is blurred. He doesn't explain how Arizona authorities will be able to know, just by looking, whether someone is an "illegal immigrant," an Hispanic who has lived in what is now the United States for centuries or someone who has a visa or has attained citizenship.

Susana Martinez raised the specter of out of control crime, insinuating that most undocumented immigrants are, by nature, violent criminals: "Just last week, an illegal immigrant was arrested in Las Cruces for sexually assaulting an 8-year old girl. I prosecute these cases and understand the concerns in Arizona. We must end policies that attract illegal immigrants, such as providing them with driver's licenses and sanctuary policies that provide criminals refuge."

I have to wonder if she'd enjoy being stopped and harassed in Arizona because her Hispanic features make her look "reasonably suspicious" in terms of how the law is written. Maybe she never sets foot in Arizona or she doesn't get that if a law requires the police to judge whether people are citizens or not by how they look, she might just might find herself suspected of being a criminal and locked in a holding cell if she isn't carrying her birth certificate.

Pete Domenici JUNIOR apparently thinks it's a good idea for states to usurp federal administration of immigration laws and go it on their own. He also seems completely unaware that prominent law enforcement experts believe Arizona's law will hurt their efforts to fight crime, not enhance it. And he's even contemplating the enactment of a similar law in New Mexico: "As governor, I will oppose sanctuary status in New Mexico, will secure our borders and will enhance law enforcement tools while recognizing New Mexico's heritage and protecting individual rights. It may be possible to tailor appropriate provisions of Arizona's recent law for New Mexico. Waiting for Congress is not sufficient."

Funny, it's the right-wing Republicans in Congress who are most vehemently opposed to comprehensive immigration reform!

April 27, 2010 at 03:13 PM in 2010 NM Governor's Race, Allen Weh, Civil Liberties, Crime, Hispanic Issues, Immigration, Law Enforcement, Minority Issues, Pete Domenici Jr., Republican Party, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (22)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wow. Allen Weh Admits 20 New Mexicans Would Be a Better Governor Than He Could

After watching the video above of Allen Weh, GOP primary candidate for governor, I think you, too, will finally see eye-to-eye with him on at least one important point -- his fitness (or lack thereof) to be governor. I never thought I'd see the day.

In a rare moment of agreement with the Republican right winger, the Democratic Party of New Mexico today voiced its support for Allen Weh’s assertion that he doesn’t make the Top-20 list of New Mexicans qualified to be Governor. I know you'll want to join the Democratic Party of New Mexico in calling on Weh to identify the 20 New Mexicans he believes would make a better Governor, so Republican primary voters can consider writing in their names on the ballot.

The video clip is from a campaign event in Los Lunas yesterday, where Weh said, “I like telling people, that there’s probably 20 people in the state that could be a better Governor than I could. But they’re not running.”

“Needless to say, Allen Weh makes a good point -- many, many New Mexicans would make a better Governor. It’s the first honest thing we’ve heard him say in this campaign,” said DPNM spokesman James Hallinan.

Weh’s comments may remind New Mexicans of fellow Republican candidate Pete Domenici JUNIOR’s statement that he didn’t believe he could win. In case you forgot, here is that exchange:

Jim Villanucci: You obviously have a feeling on that. You said that ... not all of you can win, so somebody can’t, and you think you can. So, who can’t?

Pete Domenici Jr.: Actually, I would even include myself in the group that can’t. Uh, I don’t think this is a sure thing by any stretch ... it is gonna to be extremely tough. [Interview with Villanucci 770 KKOB, 2/17/10]

Maybe they're both revealing something they subconsciously believe to be true -- that Democrat Diane Denish is the best candidate and has the best chance to win. The truth will out!

April 21, 2010 at 05:21 PM in 2010 NM Governor's Race, Allen Weh, Democratic Party, Pete Domenici Jr., Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (20)