Tag Archives: George W. Bush

Protect DACA recipients

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The young men and women who reside in the United States need not be kicked around in a political skirmish that involves a decision made by their elders.

I refer to those who live here under the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals provision that was enacted through executive order by President Obama, but has been ruled unlawful by a federal judge in Texas.

DACA recipients comprise several hundred thousand U.S. residents who were brought here illegally by their parents. They grew up as Americans; they came of age as Americans; the U.S. is the only country they know; many of them have flourished.

President Obama sought to give them some sanctuary from deportation by enacting the DACA program. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen — nominated for the federal bench by President George W. Bush — declared the DACA program to be illegal.

President Biden vows to appeal the ruling. I will take the president at his word. He should appeal it.

DACA is a humane and effective policy that should be codified  under law. Congress has the power to do that. My hope would be that enough fair-minded Republicans could join their Democratic colleagues in ensuring that these men and women — who came here as children and who have grown into responsible U.S. residents — can receive a clearer path to citizenship or permanent residency status.

Oh, but wait! That might require comprehensive immigration reform, which Republicans in Congress are unable or unwilling to enact. Why? Well, beats the hell out of me!

DACA recipients have been kicked around for too long already. Two former Texas governors — George W. Bush and Rick Perry, both Republicans — have spoken in favor of allowing so-called “Dreamers” to attend Texas colleges and universities; moreover, they have supported allowing them to attend under in-state tuition rules, given that they have been Texas residents of long standing. I consider that to be a fair and decent public policy.

The federal judiciary has intervened, though, in the effort to help these folks assimilate more completely into the society they adopted as their own when they came of age.

For the life of me I cannot understand why some politicians prefer to punish these individuals because of something their parents did when they were too young to fend for themselves.

‘W’ weighs in on immigration

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

George W. Bush has come alive, urging Congress to enact a policy he sought during his two terms as president of the United States.

The 43rd president wants a comprehensive immigration reform policy to be placed on the books.

I happen to be wholly in favor of the strategy that President Bush is seeking to enact.

Bush wrote an op-ed essay that the Washington Post published on Friday. According to Politico.com: “Over the years, our instincts have always tended toward fairness and generosity. The reward has been generations of grateful, hard-working, self-reliant, patriotic Americans who came here by choice,” Bush wrote. “If we trust those instincts in the current debate, then bipartisan reform is possible. And we will again see immigration for what it is: not a problem and source of discord, but a great and defining asset of the United States.”

... In his piece, Bush called for a path to citizenship for “Dreamers,” increased border security, working with other countries to stem the root causes of migration as well a “modernized” asylum system and higher levels of legal immigration, “focused on employment and skills.”

Bush pushes immigration reform as GOP sidesteps a deal on it – POLITICO

To be sure, President Bush is getting resistance from fellow Republicans, particularly those who might seek the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. They adhere to the Donald Trump doctrine of “round ’em up deport all” of those who are here illegally. That includes the “Dreamers,” who were brought here as children when their parents sneaked into the country without proper immigration documents.

Bush has kept a low profile since leaving office in 2009. He told CBS News over the weekend that he doesn’t expect his public call for immigration reform to change many minds. He said he’s fine with that. However, the former president does lend an important voice to a critical issue.

As for Congress’s paralysis on immigration reform, Bush notes that Barack Obama and Donald Trump relied on executive action to seek movement on immigration. CBS’s Norah O’Donnell asked him what that means, to which President Bush responded: “All that means is that Congress isn’t doing its job,”

Declaring victory?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President George W. Bush responded with strength and resolve nearly 20 years ago when terrorists declared war on this country.

He ordered the military into Afghanistan  to overthrow the government that had given the monsters safe haven. The war against international terror had begun.

I said at the time that I wondered how in the world we could declare victory. How could we ever know when we have defeated this enemy? I likened it a bit to the semi-cavalier approach espoused by the late, great Republican U.S. Sen. George Aiken of Vermont who said during the Vietnam War that we should “just declare victory and go home.”

President Biden has in a sense declared victory against the terrorists. He is bringing home the remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan no later than Sept. 11, the 20th year since the beginning of the longest war in U.S. history.

We didn’t start this conflict, but today Biden declared that we are about to finish this particular phase of it.

My fervent hope is that we remain on the highest alert possible for any future evil intent. I heard the president say that it is time for us to look forward, that the terrorist movement has “metastasized” and moved into many other areas of the world. It is time, he said, for us to focus our efforts beyond the Afghan battlefield.

Joe Biden is not wild-eyed. He does not strike me as being prone to making decisions based on hunches and gut feelings. The president is a studied creature of the government he now leads.

I do hope with all that I can muster that he can remove the relative handful of troops from the field of battle while ensuring that we can remain focused sharply on danger when it presents itself. That we can take a proactive posture against threats to our nation.

We do possess the nation’s strongest military apparatus. A first-rate intelligence service complements that force with seasoned and dedicated professionals. We also have a commander in chief who listens and acts on the advice and counsel he receives from the pros who are trained to deliver it.

Can we truly declare victory on the Afghan killing fields? I hope that is the case.

DACA may be victim of surge

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This surge of underage migrants coming across our southern border might produce a casualty that many of us don’t want to see occur.

That casualty well could be a push toward comprehensive immigration reform.

Republicans are suing President Biden over what they contend is a failed immigration policy. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants the Biden team to do more to prevent this surge in undocumented, unaccompanied children coming into Texas. Everyone is focused on the crisis of the moment.

My fear is that the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals — aka DACA — is going to get caught up in the sausage grinder of recrimination. DACA is an act restored by President Biden that allows those who were brought here illegally as children by their parents to remain as U.S. residents. Biden wants to give them a faster track toward legal residency or citizenship.

DACA is part of a comprehensive immigration reform effort that was thought essential by President Bush, a Republican and by President Obama, a Democrat. Donald Trump wasn’t interested in reforming the immigration protocol, other than to deport all illegal immigrants immediately back to their country of origin.

That included DACA recipients, who were here because their parents brought them here when they were youngsters. They grew up in the United States, they have paid their taxes, many of them have excelled academically, professionally and have raised their families here.

DACA might be on the bubble as the nation struggles with this surge and as President Biden tries to find firm footing on which to move the administration forward.

I don’t want to see DACA disappear again.

Waiting for library to reopen

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

George W. Bush ran five times for public office.

Twice for Texas governor in 1994 and 1998. Twice for president of the United States in 2000 and 2004. I voted for his opponents every time. I hadn’t moved to Texas yet when Bush ran in 1978 for a West Texas seat in Congress, which he lost. There, I got that out of the way.

Still, I am saddened to read that the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is still “temporarily closed.” The damn COVID-19 virus has shuttered the doors of the library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

My wife and I moved to Collin County in 2018, which puts us within a brief drive to W’s library in Big D. I have been there three times already and I had planned on taking a family member who’s coming to visit at the end of next week.

I want to mention this because I have grown more respectful of the former president as time has moved on. He looks quite good to me these days, given the most recent Republican president with whom the nation has contended for the past four years. Plus, President Bush was among the first prominent GOP politicians to recognize publicly the election of President Biden in 2020, calling him an honorable and decent man. Indeed, the men did work well together when Bush was president and Biden was a U.S. Senate icon.

Moreover, it was the Bush White House team that worked so seamlessly after the 2008 election to ensure a smooth transition to an administration led by Barack Obama and, oh yeah, Joe Biden.

I am left now to hope for a reopening of the library, which I find quite compelling whenever I visit it.

Lift the Muslim ban, Mr. POTUS-elect

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

On the night he declared victory in the 2020 presidential election, Joseph Biden’s team announced plans for the new president to sign a series of executive orders on Day One of his administration.

One of them would be to life a ban on entry into the United States by travelers from certain Muslim-majority nations. Donald Trump issued that order early in his presidential term.

The new president wants to revoke that order. To which I say … yes!

FBI Director Christopher Wray has told us a stark truth about the nature of terrorist threats to this country. It is that the biggest threat comes from home-grown, corn-fed white supremacists and not from Muslim nations.

The new president realizes what the nation’s top cop, the FBI director, has asserted.

I don’t mean to suggest that this nation’s security team should just shrug and look the other way at any terrorist threat that comes from abroad. I do mean to suggest that Donald Trump issued an informal declaration of war against Islam, a point that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama sought assiduously to avoid when they were in office.

President Biden intends to revoke the Trump overstated declaration that Muslim countries pose a hideous threat. If we have learned anything since 9/11 I would presume we have learned how to detect and deal with international terrorist threats, especially from Muslim nations … which renders a ban on travelers from those nations to just an unnecessary show of presidential bravado.

‘W’ extends a hand

(Photo by Paul McErlane/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It turns out that not every prominent Republican politician in America has dug in his or her heels while refusing to congratulate the next Democratic president, Joe Biden.

George W. Bush, the 43rd president, the former Texas governor and former owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, has called the president-elect to congratulate him on his victory over Donald Trump.

As the Texas Tribune has reported: “Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Bush said in a statement. “The President-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans. I offered him the same thing I offered Presidents Trump and Obama: my prayers for his success, and my pledge to help in any way I can.”

You know, I would be willing to bet real American money that it didn’t hurt President Bush a single bit to say those kind words about the next president.

Compare that with the idiocy spouted by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has urged Trump to refuse conceding to President-elect Biden. Concession, he said, would mean “no Republican” ever would be elected president … ever!

Good grief, Lindsey. Chill out, man. Take a hint from President Bush.

Dr. Jackson becomes U.S. rep.-elect

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I skedaddled from the Texas Panhandle a couple of years ago, so my thoughts on a just-completed political campaign in the 13th Congressional District should be considered in that context.

I am not as close to the action in the Panhandle as I used to be, but my interest in the region remains high.

13th District voters elected Dr. Ronny Jackson as their next representative. Rep.-elect Jackson presents a strange new turn in Panhandle politics, in my humble view.

Jackson is a former White House physician. He served three presidents: George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Trump wanted to nominate Jackson to be secretary of veterans affairs. Jackson didn’t make the cut; he bowed out after questions arose about his lack of administrative experience and then about his conduct as a physician.

So, he looked for a place to run for Congress and set his sights on a district where he never lived. He wanted to succeed longtime Rep. Mac Thornberry of Clarendon, who decided he didn’t want to seek re-election to a seat he held since 1995.

Jackson doesn’t know much about the district he now will  represent. He was born in Levelland, but moved away to join the Navy  — attaining the rank of rear admiral — and never looked back. Until now.

During the campaign, he became something of a shill for Donald Trump. He said some goofy things about the soon-to-be-former president.

What he knows specifically about Pantex, about the Bell/Textron aircraft assembly mission, about water conservation, or wind energy, or farm policy remains a mystery to me. Mac Thornberry is a son of the Panhandle, coming from a longtime Donley County ranching family. Jackson is a new resident of the region, so I guess I can call him a carpetbagger.

In these times, I guess it’s OK for carpetbaggers to represent the interest of folks who formerly used to demand that their political representatives be proficient in the issues important to them.

Jackson won handily.

As for his shilling for Donald Trump, I am wondering how long he’ll want to stay in office with his main man no longer in office.

Trump’s absence: the ‘new normal’?

As I have sought to process the day’s big event, the funeral of civil rights hero/icon/legend John Lewis, I pondered the absence of one individual who one could have presumed should have been there.

Donald J. Trump was not in Atlanta today to pay tribute to John Lewis, the former congressman and human rights activist who died at age 80 of pancreatic cancer. Oh, no. Trump was in Washington, tweeting messages seeking to undermine the voting rights gains for which Lewis fought, and bled.

It’s becoming something of a “new normal” in this Age of Trump as president of the United States. He was disinvited to the funeral of U.S. Sen. John McCain. Trump attended the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush, but we didn’t hear a word from him. Now, the Lewis funeral. Trump declared he had no intention of honoring Lewis while he lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.

I thought about past funerals of high-profile political figures. I recalled the presence of President Lyndon Johnson at the funeral of a man he hated beyond measure, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. I remembered the funeral of President Richard Nixon and recalled one of the tributes paid to him by President Bill Clinton, who told us that we must not judge his predecessor’s public life by just one episode, but by its entire history. I remember, too, when former Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower patched up their bitter differences while attending the funeral of their successor, President John F. Kennedy. The two old war horses realized in that moment that life was too short and too precious for them to continue hating each other.

Donald Trump clearly would not have been welcomed at John Lewis’s funeral. He once chided Lewis for supposedly being “all talk and no action.” Trump ignored the beatings that Lewis endured while seeking to guarantee the rights of black Americans to vote in free and fair elections.

So it fell to three of Trump’s predecessors — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — to speak of their friend and a man who will be remembered as a legend in his own time … and beyond. 

Donald Trump? He was left to sulk in the background.

Is this kind of transition possible?

I invite you to spend the next three or so minutes of your time watching the video I have attached to this blog post.

Then I want to invite you to imagine Donald John Trump issuing the same kind of statement to the individual who will succeed him as president of the United States.

Oh, how I want it to be Joseph R. Biden Jr., who will face Trump in this year’s presidential election. If it’s not, then we’ll get to wait until November 2024 — and, yes, I shudder at that thought — to hear Donald Trump begin to hand over power to the next president.

I just thought I would post this video to show you how a president is supposed to conduct himself when he prepares to leave the White House in the hands of someone he no doubt opposed philosophically, but who won a fair-and-square free election.

I do not expect this kind of grace from Donald Trump.

While I’m on the subject, take a look at the next video. It’s a bit longer but it depicts President Obama talking about Donald Trump’s election in 2016.

What you see in this video, as in the first one, is an example of a president calling the nation to put its differences aside, to wish the new president success and to assure a smooth transition.

Once again, just try to imagine Donald Trump offering this to the individual who will succeed him.