Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The GOP and Immigration

As reported by the Texas Tribune today, Rick Perry has accepted the endorsment of Joe Arpaio, the (in)famous sheriff from Maricopa County, Arizona (  Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich came under fire for his comments in a Republican debate, calling for a "humane" immigration policy, and later trying to turn the issue to his favor against his primary opponents(
It is not surprising that candidates who may have been generally in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, including a guest worker program, may find it difficult to walk the minefield of immigration policy while pleasing the Republican base votes they are trying to attract. As I found at the Texas Tribune event in September (see earlier blog posts), even Republican legislators in Texas are willing to say in public that comprehensive immigration reform is needed (albeit while securing the borders).  These issue will become even more important during the general election, when certain swing states may be tipped in one direction or another by hispanic voters.  In the meantime, expect to hear more about increasing deportations, border walls/security and the failures of the federal government to control immigration.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Populism and the Euro Crisis

Very interesting article from the Economist. Populists like Geert Wilders in the Netherlands have tapped into popular discontent with multiculturalism and European integration:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Far Right Terror in Germany

From Der Spiegel:  " Germany has been shocked by a series of revelations relating to a trio of neo-Nazis who appear to have carried out a crime wave lasting for over a decade. They are suspected of murdering nine immigrants and a policewoman as well as a series of bank robberies. The evidence points to a new kind of right-wing terrorism unlike anything Germany has seen.",1518,797569,00.html

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another perspective on last week's chaos in Europe

Interesting overview from the UK Guardian newspaper:

Another crazy week in Europe

Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Italy...elections in Spain which the opposition looks likely to win...if anything has highlighted the political nature of the current Euro crisis, it has been the governments which have fallen in the process.  At the same time, Angela Merkel's party has had major losses at the state level in Germany, where even the Pirate Party has had some success.  This past week saw Italy on the brink, and Silvio Berlusconi finally taking a fall.  As one commentator on NPR noted, it was not his sexual scandals or the financial irregularities related to his many businesses that brought him the end it was his inability to lead Italy through it's most critical economic crisis in a generation that led to his resignation.  The factors leading to the current crisis in Europe are many, but one major factor in the crisis has been leadership, or the lack thereof.  Both Italy and Greece have turned to technocrats as prime ministers, who would theoretically not expect to run for reelection, in a bid to avoid the political wrangling which led them to the brink of insolvency.  Time will tell if these economists will be able to succeed where their predecessors failed.  The future for Europe and the Euro is still unclear -- and the crisis could still expand to the U.S.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In the middle of the Euro Crisis

The LBJ School of Public Affairs is hosting an important conference on the Euro Crisis, as Greece's political system is threatening to fall apart.  It is being webcast as well:

I was on the first panel and focused my comments on the politics of European integration, reminding the participants that all of the key players are first and foremost politicians.  The economic solutions are relatively simple, the political situation seems intractable.  More later...and I'm also tweeting...