Monday, December 15, 2008

Anh "Joseph" Cao: The Resume of a Democrat, Part II

The conservative-leaning Washington Times has a live-chat interview with Cao posted on its website. It's well worth a read. Two of my favorite Q&A exchanges:

Hello, Congressman-elect. I read somewhere that you were interested in joining the Congressional Black Caucus. Is that true? Also, do you think Congress should be more reflective of the diverse nation? Do you think having a more diverse Congress can or will change the course of legislation? Thanks. by Christina Bellantoni
Answer: Yes, it is true. As you know, the majority of my constituents is African-American and I belief that belonging to the African-American Caucus will assist me in working with the African-American Community. And yes, I do think that Congress should be more reflective of the diverse nation, and be more inclusive, and less hostile, to immigrants. I hope that a more diverse Congress will help to encourage and create better "fairness" in legislation. by Anh_Joseph_Cao
Your future colleagues in the House Republican Conference have said you are their future. Was your House race decided on local issues, or is there a broader national message Republicans should learn from it? by Stephen Dinan
Answer: The House race was decided on local issues; however, I do hope that the Republican Party should be more progressive on their stance on certain issues, and be more inclusive of minority groups. by Anh_Joseph_Cao
As I've said all along, I think the Republican Party is in for a shock. Cao's no fundagelical. And those hard right-wing conservatives who are looking at Cao as the best things since sliced bread for the GOP and the face of the party's future are all suffering from Mad Cao Disease. I remain enthusiastic about Cao's election. I do think Cao will seriously consider a switch to the Democratic Party before the next election. But if the GOP does take up Cao as the future of the Party, then I have to say that this would be a welcome change. If so, the future of the GOP is its liberal wing, and that's not a bad GOP to have. However, there was one Q&A that could be worrisome on one level.
I've read that you work as an immigration lawyer. Could you describe the specific ways in which you agree and disagree with the immigration bill that was filibustered in the Senate in 2007? Would you change the bill in any way if you were drafting a bill for the 2009 Congress? by Northern Virginia
Answer: I am sorry, but I am not familiar with the immigration bill filibustered in the Senate. by Anh_Joseph_Cao
Now, if Cao really is unfamiliar with this bill, that is a sign that he really is out of touch and supremely naive. But, the man is an immigration lawyer. There's no way he can be a good immigration lawyer and not be familiar with the immigration bill filibustered in the Senate. Personally, after having listened to him speak precisely on some of the nuances of the immigration issues reflected in this recent legislation, I believe Cao is being purposefully cagey here. I think he very much supported the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill that was filibustered, and I think he would go even further towards a more liberalized immigration policy that emphasized a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in this country and would reject a militarization of the border advocated by the hard-core, rightwing, anti-illegal immigrant movement. Cao is playing the GOP, though I don't think he's necessarily trying to be deceptive about it. I'm convinced that he's certainly not so naive as some people think.


mominem said...

I doubt anyone is familiar with the bill mentioned, even its sponsors.

As a practicing lawyer I imagine he was more concerned with the current law and how it applied to his clients.

Huck said...

mominem - I don't doubt that many are not so familiar with all the fine print details of the legislation, but one would have had to be living in a hole not to have been aware of some of the major provisions: paying a fine, paying any back taxes, waiting at the end of the line, touchback provisions, family reunification issues, temporary work visas, etc. And the argument that he was more concerned with current law than with the provisions of future law such that he would pay no attention to the legislation strike me as unfathomable. His livelihood depends on knowing immigration law, and not even making minimal preparations to be ready to absorb work under the new legislation would seem to make him come across as a very unprepared immigration lawyer. But, the fact is that I KNOW he knew about at least some of the provisions of the immigration legislation because he responded to questions concerning this legislation at a Candidate forum that I and some others hosted in late October. It defies credulity that he wouldn't be familiar with the immigration bill at some level. It's not like this was some obscure legislative initiative in the last Congress. Any person running for Congress would need to have some rudimentary knowledge of major legislation recently tackled by the Congress.