Letters and Op-Eds

Welcome to the OFIR Letters and Op-Eds section.  Here you can read Letters to the Editor and Op-Eds that have been published in various newspapers and news sources.

Tom Tancredo
November 19, 2012

The cynicism promoted by our arrogant and shameless media establishment is creating an atmosphere of desperation among a growing number of citizens. When people feel totally disenfranchised, they may not stop at letter writing. Some will resort to violence. If there is blood in the streets as a result of the accelerating assault on our Constitution, the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of our media establishment.

The Romney defeat was not caused by some defect in “messaging.” Folks, it’s not the message, it’s the messenger – and the messenger is the mainstream media, not talk radio. Like it or not, the average American and the average voter – by which I mean the 90 percent who do not follow politics or issues closely –still follows politics and elections through the mass media.

We saw something new in the 2012 presidential campaign. Yes, media bias has been a problem for decades, but it has crossed a threshold. The mainstream media are not only increasingly partisan and increasingly shameless in their partisanship. They have consciously taken on the mission of blocking and distorting the conservative message to marginalize, obstruct and defeat any dissent from the leftist agenda.

The really bad news is that there is no easy solution.

We need to recognize that our alternative media are not an adequate counterweight on the political battlefield. The conservative radio talk shows, the blogs and social media networks, our newsletters and magazines – all play a crucial role for conservatives and for patriotic activists. Yet, when it comes to reaching and educating and motivating the typical soccer mom or blue-collar worker, they do not match the impact of the mass media.

Suppose that every time you typed the word liberty on your computer keyboard, the spellcheck program in your software automatically changed that word to something totally different. That’s similar to what is happening when the conservative message is broadcast through the mainstream media. It gets translated, transformed and distorted. What the public hears is “racism,” a “war on women” and “shredding the safety net.”

A photo-ID requirement for voting? That’s a “return to Jim Crow.” Border security? That’s “anti-immigrant.” Stop double taxation of wealth? You’re a greedy capitalist. By using and legitimizing such leftist terminology, the media set and enforce the acceptable parameters of political debate. When we grant the media that power, we surrender the essence of popular sovereignty, for the people cannot govern where the truth is silenced.

We’ve all seen this partisan bias in operation, and we criticize it, but we have not recognized the true cost of this deterioration in our public discourse. The cost is not one election or one tax increase or one more amnesty bill. What is being lost is our ability to function as a representative democracy. And I mean that literally.

Media subversion of the public discourse is one of the main causes of the growing cynicism and distrust of our political institutions and public officials. Distrust and cynicism lead to despair, and despair often leads to dropping out of civil society. If it’s no longer a level playing field because the referees have been bought off, why play the game at all?

Dropping out is an appealing escape route, and many good men and women have already taken that path. But true patriots will resist and overcome that temptation.

Our awareness of the full extent and full cost of media bias can be “empowering” if it leads to a more entrepreneurial and more strategic counteroffensive, with systemic media bias being understood as one part of a broader culture war. Dropping out is not an alternative: first because it is cowardly, and second because the new totalitarianism will not leave you alone. You can run, but you can’t hide.

Time to rethink, retool, and reload.

Tom Tancredo is the founder of the Rocky Mountain Foundation and founder and co-chairman of Team America PAC. He is also a former five-term congressman and presidential candidate. Tancredo is the author of "In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border and Security." When he served in Congress, he organized and chaired the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus.

Richard Rochon - Springfield
November 17, 2012

Let’s see if I’ve got this right. The way for Republicans to get elected is by supporting a woman’s right over her own body by killing her innocent, unborn child; giving homosexuals special rights that no one else has; allowing people who have entered our country illegally a path to citizenship instead of punishment or a free trip back home, and giving their children, brought here illegally, citizenship by going to college instead of serving in the military, as has been done successfully for years. In other words, Republicans can get elected if they become Democrats. Don’t hold your breath.

Mette McDermott, Medford
Mail Tribune
November 16, 2012

Americans must determine the values and principles they allow to guide their lives. Principles are based on truth, study of history and objective observation. Religious or ideological premises and personal experience determine values as we grow into adulthood.

I believe that compromise is not an option. We must examine our position regarding religious, social and political issues, because our nation is in danger of being transformed into a society none of us had intended.

I was a legal immigrant to America in 1949 after spending five years under Nazi occupation. I was 14 years old when I arrived with my parents and two younger brothers.

We mastered the English language, learned American history and the U.S. Constitution, and supported ourselves with no government assistance. After five years we became American citizens.

I do not want to live under socialist rule. I have 12 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren who should be free to grow and excel according to their abilities

The Washington Times
November 15, 2012

Republicans are on the verge of committing suicide. In the wake of President Obama's re-election, many conservatives are demanding the GOP embrace amnesty for illegal aliens. The official term is "comprehensive immigration reform."

Sean Hannity has now "evolved" on the issue. Others, such as Dick Morris and Charles Krauthammer, are ringing the alarm bells: Get in front on amnesty before the GOP is swamped by the surging Latino vote. House Speaker John A. Boehner said last week that comprehensive immigration reform is "long overdue." Translation: Beltway Republicans are ready to wave the white flag of surrender.

The pro-amnesty crowd argues that the GOP lost the election because it failed to court the Hispanic vote. The party's supposed harsh rhetoric against illegal aliens is said to have driven millions of Latinos into the Democratic camp. This supposedly explains why Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lost Nevada, Ohio, Iowa and Florida. A more flexible GOP, one embracing immigration reform -- so the argument goes -- is the key to a return to national power and electoral viability. Plus, they stress that ignoring the 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants in the country is no longer feasible -- this growing subpopulation must be taken out of the shadows.

The very opposite, however, is true: Granting amnesty is not an option, either practically or politically. Polls consistently show that a strong majority of Americans reject providing illegal aliens with a path to citizenship. The reason is simple: Such a policy would reward criminal behavior. It would eradicate America's national sovereignty, telling the world that our borders exist in name only. Come and stay here long enough, and in big enough numbers, and amnesty is inevitable.

Moreover, the rule of law would be undermined -- shattered. Illegal immigrants are not "undocumented workers." They broke our laws to enter America. This is why amnesty -- no matter how it's dressed up -- would inevitably trigger a furious public backlash. Granting amnesty threatens to further splinter our already-fractured nation.

Politically, it is disastrous for the GOP. Republicans have been down this failed road before. In 1986, then-President Reagan passed amnesty for roughly 3 million illegal immigrants. The results? A border fence was never built. The decision became a magnet, an incentive, for millions more to come. The electoral benefits redounded not to the GOP but the Democrats. California -- once Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan country -- became solid blue. The Southwest turned increasingly Democratic.

The Republicans are unwilling to confront the stark but sad reality that the overwhelming majority of Hispanics vote for Democrats because they are the party of big government. Many Latinos, especially lower-income, lower-skilled ones rely on public housing, free education, Medicare, the earned income tax credit and food stamps. Amnesty is not the primary reason most Latinos vote Democratic. Rather, it is support for the welfare state.

Otherwise, the GOP would be making massive inroads into the Hispanic community. Following Reagan's amnesty, George H.W. Bush received fewer Hispanic votes than the Gipper did. George W. Bush, who championed open borders and comprehensive immigration reform, barely received 40 percent of the Latino vote. Sen. John McCain, who spearheaded the push for amnesty in Congress, got just over 30 percent in 2008. Hence, the facts are clear -- and damning: Pro-amnesty Republicans have not and cannot attract massive chunks of the Hispanic electorate. There is no potential Latino GOP majority -- at least for the foreseeable future. To think otherwise is fantasy masquerading as strategy.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Mr. Romney did not lose because of his weakness with Hispanics, blacks, feminists, unions, homosexuals or any other primarily Democratic constituency. These blocs are part of the liberal coalition.

Mr. Romney lost because he was unable to galvanize the GOP base. He received nearly 3 million fewer votes than Mr. McCain did in 2008. That difference proved to be Mr. Obama's margin of victory. Had Mr. Romney garnered the same popular vote total as Mr. McCain, the former Massachusetts governor would be president-elect today. No one would be talking about the Republicans' supposed Hispanic problem. Hence, it wasn't Mr. Romney's stance on immigration that cost him the election. Instead, the party establishment put forth a GOP moderate, and millions of conservatives stayed home.

Amnesty is a poisoned chalice. Republicans drink it at their peril. The issue will split the GOP in half. Nationalists, such as myself, will leave and join a third party. Many on the right will follow. Republicans be warned: Comprehensive immigration reform is the path to oblivion.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and host of "The Kuhner Report" on AM-680 WRKO (www.wrko.com) in Boston.

Dave Gorak
Capitol Times, Madison WI
November 15, 2012

Dear Editor:

UW prof David Canon says a viable GOP must reach out to Latinos. Why? Are they special? Certain Latino leaders seem to think so, and so do the media. But if they are, why then aren’t we being told why they are special, i.e., how their “concerns” and “needs” are different from those of the rest of us?

Hispanics didn’t help to beat Mitt Romney; the Republican Party did. All the GOP had to do was adopt as a core issue the absurdity of allowing 7 million illegal immigrants to keep their jobs in nonfarming industries while 20 million Americans can’t find full-time work. Add to this that each year since 1990 we’ve been issuing 1 million work permits to new legal immigrants.

All citizens, regardless of their skin color, are affected by cheap foreign labor flooding a dismal job market. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, two-thirds of new jobs since 2009 have gone to immigrants.

Newspapers are full of stories these days about how amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants is the only viable solution to bringing Hispanics into the Republican camp, but history says differently. Immigrants traditionally vote Democratic, so if the GOP is successful in granting another general amnesty, all they will have done is create millions more Democrats.

If you think the GOP isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer right now, wait and see what happens if they join forces with the Democrats in approving amnesty and driving the last nail in the coffin of American workers.

Dave Gorak, La Valle WI


Dave Gorak is Executive Director, Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration


Carol Orr
The Bulletin News
November 14, 2012

Our constitutional Republic appears to have died on Nov. 6. Having reached the point of no return in a comatose state after years of progressive assaults coupled with a silent media has completely unraveled America. After 236 years of existence, a new country emerged, run by secular progressives who openly reject our constitution. Remember, in the future our Supreme Court will be forever altered after its last conservative will be replaced by the liberal academics. The rule of law will be implemented by executive orders, making Congress irrelevant.

The welfare-dependent Americans, unions, out of control immigration policies and the complicit mainstream media have chosen for the rest of us the dark path of serfdom. Who would have guessed that Americans were as ignorant and irresponsible as to choose fiscal destruction over fiscal sanity for their children and grandchildren, secularism over faith, dependence over personal responsibility and self-reliance?

I am writing this on Veterans Day and am saddened by the loss of all those American soldiers who have died to preserve freedom that we are quickly losing. Have we no honor for their blood and treasure?

Mediocrity, godlessness, dependence and cowardice will define the future country.

Only divine providence can save us now with mercy and grace.


Bob Dane
November 14, 2012

Republicans got clobbered by Latino voters in the 2012 elections. President Obama outpolled Gov. Romney by 71 percent to 27 percent among Latino voters.

Since Election Day some pundits have claimed that the GOP needs to “get right” with this block of voters if the GOP ever hopes to win a national election again. By getting right, they really mean turning their backs on the rule of law, supporting an amnesty for illegal aliens, and opening the floodgates to more legal immigration.

But what the Republicans need to “get right” is their diagnosis of their problem. Latino voters, per se, are not the reason Governor Romney lost this election.

The problem Republicans have is that America’s immigration system, which emphasizes chain migration over skills-based admission, admits millions of immigrants who generally have low incomes, less education, and are more dependent on the government social safety net. As such, they are predisposed to vote for candidates that lure them and reward them with public benefits. Thus, it’s the rapidly changing economic demographics, not ethnic demographics that are the culprit.

Republicans need to make the case that their immigration agenda is motivated by a desire to see Latinos move up and succeed.

Once the proper diagnosis is made, Republicans may come to the realization that they have no choice but to try to overhaul an antiquated immigration system that no longer serves the needs of the country, but serves reliably to help Democrats win elections. Republicans need to begin the work of ushering in skills-based immigration and reducing the overall numbers.

Reducing immigration will help Republicans because it lowers unemployment and allows those immigrants already here a better shot at moving up the socio-economic ladder, perhaps into a tax-bracket where voting patterns are often dictated by the assets one has to protect.

The GOP mission should be to make immigrants more prosperous, not pander to them by gutting our laws with an amnesty.

And as regards our current admissions process, Republicans need to push for an end to the practice of issuing 1 million green cards each year to people simply based on the fact they’re related to someone who is already here, and convert our entire admissions system to a skills-based one.

Repeat. Republicans need to try to convert our entire admissions system to a skills-based one, not just push for more skilled foreign workers – as they are -- while failing to address an obsolete and faulty immigration foundation that works to their disadvantage.

Latinos – but more importantly all immigrants -- need to know what’s in it for them and Republicans need to do a better job telling them that needed immigration adjustments will elevate their individual status, not hinder it. Enforcing laws against illegal immigration and limiting future immigration helps reduce competition for jobs, wages, educational opportunities, and health services – the things all voters say they really do care about.

It’s time for the Republicans to stop allowing Democrats to define their position on immigration as being motivated by a desire to keep Latinos out. Republicans need to make the case that their immigration agenda is motivated by a desire to see Latinos move up and succeed.

Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online
November 13, 2012

Postelection panic among conservatives about the Latino vote has reached the point of absurdity — and mostly reveals the naïveté of detached political grandees who know little about the ideology and motivations of those they are now supposed to adroitly woo.

Republican postmortems have focused heavily on the Latino vote. According to exit polls, it went 70 percent for Barack Obama, and this year it might have accounted for 10 percent or so of the electorate. Presumably, this margin was an important, and in some exegeses the decisive, factor that denied Mitt Romney the presidency. Given demographic reality, then, the Republican party must in response be more inclusive, curb its illiberal and gratuitous rhetoric, and seek a “grand bargain” on illegal immigration, which will welcome Latinos into the party, and thereby result in a new 21st-century inclusive majority that will win presidential elections.

Yet, aside from the always-sound advice to be civil, show empathy for the less well off, and avoid callous rhetoric, almost all such thinking is oversimplistic, if not flawed altogether.

In the first place, why do Republicans think their conservative message is a natural one for the majority of contemporary Latinos/Hispanics — rubrics that strangely now include everyone from Cubans and upscale Argentinians to Oaxacan indigenous peoples and Hondurans? In truth, the vast majority of Latinos who vote overwhelmingly Democratic is made up of poorer immigrants from Central America and Mexico rather than Marco Rubio–like second-generation Cuban-Americans. De facto amnesty, generous entitlements, vast increases in public expenditures and hiring, and more taxes on the wealthy are understandably widely supported by both the Latino leadership and rank-and-file. Public employment is increasingly more attractive and more subject to affirmative action than the private sector, and, quite logically, its expansion is seen by poorer Latinos as a natural pathway into the middle class.

Had Republicans come out in favor of open borders and blanket amnesty, I doubt that they would have won the Latino vote — much less done much better in a state like California, given that its latest round of steep tax increases (now over 13 percent on top incomes) was widely supported by the so-called Latino community. Pundits can rail about supposedly naïve, out-of-touch Republicans who talked of self-deportation and thereby lost the Latino vote; but one just as easily might have castigated them for decrying out-of-control entitlements and food stamps, predicating legal immigration on education and skills, or criticizing unworkable and discriminatory affirmative-action policies, since these positions are also politicized as anti-Latino dog whistles.

Second, the “grand bargain” on comprehensive immigration reform envisions ending illegal immigration but granting amnesty to, at least, those who were brought here as children and are still under 25, in school or in the military, and without a criminal record. But why do Republicans think Latinos are in any significant way opposed to continuing illegal immigration? For the last 40 years, the influx of millions of illegal aliens leaving the impoverishment of Mexico by simply crossing the border, without much worry about U.S. law, has been a win/win situation for those already here. An expectation of cyclical amnesty or a general unwillingness of Americans to enforce their own laws is a magnet for millions in Latin America. In the surreal world of American liberal orthodoxy, the nanosecond a young Mexican national crosses the border, he becomes immediately eligible for affirmative action — despite having little history of victimization by the United States or claim of contemporary bias. In some 21 years of teaching at CSU Fresno I weekly mentored young illegal immigrants who were on federal and state scholarships, were recipients of the in-state tuition discount, and were courted by professional schools by virtue of being minority members with supposed historical claims against the majority. Given the disparity between life in Mexico and life in the United States, why would a voting bloc give up such advantages — especially given that the larger the pool of unassimilated illegal immigrants, the greater the avenue for second- and third-generation Mexican-Americans to offer them collective representation and advance their own careers in government, media, and academia on the basis of collective ethnic grievances?

Imagine, for a minute, that the Republican leadership did attempt to negotiate the “grand bargain,” a platitude as constantly voiced as it is never defined. If Republicans were willing to grant DREAM Act–like amnesty, what exactly would they ask for in exchange? The completion of the border fence? Employer fines? E-Verify? Deportation of millions of “unDREAM” illegal immigrants who do not meet the above criteria?

For all practical purposes, “comprehensive reform” means granting amnesty but also leaving the border fence uncompleted, having a guest-worker program, and issuing green cards to millions of illegal residents. If we were to deport the tens of thousands of Mexican nationals in our prisons, or the hundreds of thousands on some form of public assistance, does anyone believe that would win over the Latino leadership? The Reagan-era (1986) Simpson-Mazzoli Act (which required employers to verify immigration status, and which also amnestied about 3 million illegals) led to greater influxes from Mexico, did not stop calls for more amnesties, and certainly did not swell Latino support for Republicans.

Cynthia Kendoll
November 7, 2012

The Oct. 27 article, “Walkers aim to get driver’s licenses back,” tells of “undocumented immigrants” walking from Portland to the Capitol in Salem to call attention to the fact that they can’t get Oregon driver’s licenses.

More accurately stated, illegal aliens living and working here illegally are unhappy they are unable to acquire an important form of legal identification. As witnessed in other states with similar programs, documents used to obtain “special privilege” driver’s licenses are often fraudulent. Any identification issued would be only as accurate as the documents used to acquire it.

The bigger story is that our governor and certain lawmakers are working behind closed doors to make life easier for illegal aliens by weakening the strong licensing law that passed with overwhelming support from legislators and the public in 2008.

Worse yet, there is no question that Mexican drug cartels are a dangerous and growing presence in our state. One of a drug trafficker’s most prized possessions is a valid state-issued driver’s license, which can allow him to slip undetected through a traffic stop and assist in the movement of illicit drugs throughout the state.

Gov. Kitzhaber wants to help these people. Whose side is he on?

Cynthia Kendoll



The Bend Bulletin
November 7, 2012

Oregon requires that a person who wants a driver’s license has to provide proof of legal presence in the United States.

Is that asking too much? We don’t think so.

Protesters came on foot from Portland recently and joined others at the state Capitol to pressure Gov. John Kitzhaber to allow undocumented immigrants to get an Oregon driver’s license.

The protesters pointed out a truth. Jayme Limon, who led the rally, said not having a driver’s license can make it hard for people to hold jobs, get their children education and get health care, according to Salem’s Statesman Journal.

Kitzhaber vowed earlier this year to look into a way to change the law. A handful of states have alternatives. Washington and New Mexico issue some licenses with no proof of legal presence. Utah has a card that allows driving, which must be renewed each year.

Most states changed to more stiff requirements for a driver’s license in reaction to a change in federal law after 9/11. Federal law does allow, though, for states to issue identifications that are clearly marked as invalid for federal identification. So, Utah’s driving privilege card could allow someone to drive legally but would not be valid identification for boarding a plane or entering federal facilities.

The question for Oregon is whether it should do the same.

The protesters are essentially arguing that undocumented immigrants are eager to comply with laws if they could be rewritten to help them, but not eager to comply with laws for being in the country legally.

Oregon should not be in the habit of doling out benefits to accommodate the choices of people breaking the law.

Yes, there is a failure by Congress to support comprehensive immigration reform. Congressional failure does not mean Oregon should knit loopholes.