Sunday, January 16, 2005


No good deed goes unpunished. In 1994 the wimpy moderate Republican Governor Pete Wilson of California thoughtfully tried to help state taxpayers with an initiative, Proposition 187, to curb public services for illegal immigrants. It passed, and he won reelection, but ever since then the poor misunderstood man has been attacked as a bigot by Democrats. The One True Party is still suffering from this demagogic charge among Hispanic voters, with the notable exception of Cuban-Americans obsessed with Fidel.

(This raises a thought for The Rovinator to consider. The much larger group of Mexican-Americans might drop their support of Democrats if there was a conveniently timed Marxist coup on the other side of the Rio Grande, thus encouraging them to join the ranks of saber-rattling patriots. This would also cause widespread support for a Second Mexican War to liberate another oil-producing oppressed nation. But I digress....)

It's all a matter of cultural differences. Another instance of a good Republican condemned for trying to help his fellow man came in Our Noble Lame Duck's home state last year. State Representative Talmadge Heflin was NOT paying a Ugandan immigrant $100 a week to take care of his mother-in-law; that was just Baptist charity. He was also letting her stay in his un-air conditioned Houston storage room with her infant son. When she got a better "off-the-books job paying $250 for an 85-hour week caring for patients in a home for the mentally disabled", he let her go on staying there, and even helpfully took her tiny son with him on his weekly legislative trips to the state capitol in Austin. Finally Mrs. Heflin filed a petition in court to take custody of the child, saying his mother wasn't taking care of him. What provoked this drastic action?
In many regions of Africa, including Katamba's native Uganda, leaving one's child in the care of neighbors is normal. "It's the concept of 'It takes a village,' " says Katamba's attorney....
Hearing that frightened the good Republican. He knew that he needed to save this lad from being indoctrinated with that awful leftist philosophy of She Who Must Not Be Named, the junior Senator from New York, who even had a book ghost-written with that title. Besides, as he testified in the court hearing,
"We all know the terrible problem that black male children have growing up into manhood without being in prison."
Naturally the Democrats started rousing the rabble over this, claiming the considerate legislator was anti-immigrant. Unfortunately, they were perfectly positioned to take advantage of this because their candidate opposing Heflin was Hubert Vo, an immigrant from Vietnam (there's that anti-commie vote again, Karl). The maligned incumbent tried to appease his enemies by dropping the custody suit, but it was too late. In a year when Bush carried Texas by a landslide, the Asian-American Democrat still won, by a mere 33 votes. Heflin demanded recounts, but lost again, so he decided to take the whole matter to the Republican-majority legislature. His claim is that the election should be overturned because there were illegal votes cast for Vo.

The Republican "Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt, who also is the county's voter registrar", decided to help. No doubt he believed the counter-meme we've been pushing about massive illegal voting, which, with its implied threat of INS harassment, has kept down the brown balloting nationwide. Unfortunately he didn't get the full briefing from above. Poring over his records, he quickly found "35 foreign citizens either applied for or received voter cards last year by checking a box on the application saying they were U.S. citizens" and announced he was "investigating at least 70 others and will send a list of suspected offenders to the Harris County district attorney, who can charge them with a misdemeanor if they haven't voted or a felony if they have."

This shocking revelation, that 105 of the 1,937,072 registered voters there may have been aliens -- a terrifying one out of every 18,448 people on the rolls -- failed to help his fellow Republican. The only one he found in Heflin's district was Henning Eilert-Olsen. What he should have been looking for were Latin names who might have voted Democratic. Instead he picked on a Norwegian citizen, and one who was registered only because his office failed to do its job. "Eilert-Olsen filled out a vote application form noting that he was not a U.S. citizen, but was given a voter card anyway."

We can only assume that Bettencourt thought someone from Old Europe would have been anti-Bush, but the descendants of Vikings came through (sort of).
...Norway and Sweden ... advocated a war to unseat Saddam Hussein until it became clear the UN would not support such a war, at which point they espoused offical positions of opposition to the war. Nonetheless, Sweden continued to supply the Coalition with arms (in possible breach of the Constitution) and Norway contributed troops to the stabilisation of Iraq.
Perhaps he was mislead by this Scandinavian ambiguity, but that's just how they always act. Consider this hopelessly confused map of driving directions for the "shortest trip" from Haugesund, Norway to Trondheim, Norway -- by way of England, France, Belgium, Germany, and Sweden.

The pathetic result of Bettencourt's cluelessness was that he actually ended up costing Heflin, the misunderstood helper of immigrants, one of his votes, since Eilert-Olsen "said he voted a straight Republican ticket in the election." With bumbling local officials like these, no wonder the Democrats are starting a comeback in the biggest Texas counties. Next time, he needs to call Karl first for advice on ethnic voting trends.

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