Sure, the right wing Republican Florida legislature did the tea party’s bidding by giving away the state’s high speed rail money. And they’re getting busy gutting public education, forcing teachers into the unemployment line, privatizing Medicaid, drug testing hated public employees and welfare recipients (who really are the same thing, if you think about it in tea party terms…) curbing voting by silly college kids, and passing lots and lots of bills making it harder for teenaged girls to refuse God’s plan that they carry their father’s seed to term. But the Republican-led legislative session has been a complete waste of time, in tea party terms, because Republicans failed — FAILED — to pass a bill to scare the brown people away.
A letter from Henry Kelley, president of the Fort Walton Beach Tea Party, to the Republican Party of Florida (emailed to a reporter with the subject line “Thank you RPOF for re-electing President Obama”) is instructive for a lot of reasons. For one thing, Kelly makes no secret of the fact, which should be obvious to everyone by now, that the tea party is nothing more than the existing base of the Republican Party. For another, Kelly makes it clear that there is one priority the tea party values even above forced birth: getting an Arizona style immigration law that will let cops scare Hispanic immigrants away.
Read on, courtesy of The Buzz:
… During the last two years – the tea party has repeatedly expressed concerns over fiscal sanity and illegal immigration. Now, the key word here is “ILLEGAL”. We recognize most of us are descended from immigrants, and I have not seen tea party leaders advocating for halting legal immigration.
You see, it’s the “ILLEGAL” part that we wanted addressed. This bill would have implemented this program. It didn’t call for a “round ‘em up and throw ‘em out strategy”. No, it was a straightforward approach, but you felt that the interests of Big Farms, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and Disney were more important than our concerns.
Even better – you told us you didn’t “hear” from us in the last few days. First, why the hell does anyone have to tell you what the right thing to do is? And secondly, did you miss the elections last fall? Did you miss how we showed up enmasse in November when the new Legislature was sworn in? Did you miss us the first week of Session?
But let’s talk about the election in 2012. You blew it. Oh, I know what the cynics say – “you won’t vote for the Democrats anyhow.” True enough. Take our votes for granted.
But elections aren’t won on election day. Volunteers stuff envelopes months in advance. Volunteers make phone calls from phone banks. Volunteers write letters to the editors and tell their friends how to vote.
Tea Party groups such as mine held rallies that the RPOF could never have dreamed of, and gave you priceless free exposure for your candidates.
You just wrecked that trust that we provided you in a sweeping mandate last fall. We will pray that Pres. Obama acts in his second term in accordance with our Constitution, because you just ripped the heart out of the very group that would drive Florida in the 2012 election cycle. And Florida, so I’ve been told, is kind of important to the Presidential election cycle.
I hope those donations are worth it, because how do you think I will handle it when I get calls to use my email list and rallies for Republican candidates? If you can’t pass this legislation, what makes us believe you have the courage and political will to take on harder issues?
Wait … Henry … the Republican Party of Florida uses your email list? So if you’re just Republicans, can the rest of us start ignoring you, just like the GOP?
But before we tune Henry and his friends out, allow me to direct him to this Wall Street Journal article, which explains why Republicans in Tallahassee backed down on turning this state into Arizona (I mean, the governor is already turning into Mississippi, and there’s only so much we can take):
Farmers in states from Florida to Indiana are pressuring—and in some cases persuading—state politicians to rethink proposed legislation that would authorize crackdowns on illegal immigration. They argue that the legislation will drive Mexican workers out of their states, and that there aren’t enough American workers willing to pick crops. They want legislation at the federal level, which wouldn’t favor one state over another.
At least 25 states are weighing proposals to crack down on illegal immigration and employers who hire them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona law allows police to check the immigration status of people they stop, and establishes stiff penalties for businesses or individuals who hire illegal immigrants.
“Nobody wants illegal immigrants, but when you get down to the reality of the situation, farmers have to have workers to do the job,” said Al Pearson, a peach and pecan farmer in Roberta. He said he hires only federally approved guest laborers to work his 3,600-acre farm, paying them $9.11 an hour plus benefits.
But the current federal system, involving approvals from multiple agencies, is slow and can’t process enough legal workers for the state’s large agricultural industry, he said. A bureaucratic glitch held up approvals for 100 Mexican workers for two weeks in February, setting back his tree pruning and other preparations for peach-picking season. “It frightened me because I didn’t have a plan B. I don’t have domestic workers,” he said.
“There is no farm in this county that could continue without Mexican labor,” said Robert Ray, a Crawford County farmer who for years led the agriculture committee in the Georgia House.
In fact, the Senate appropriations chair, J.D. Alexander, raised that very issue in relation to his delicious blueberries, which came up 100 quasi-slave laborers short this season. In the end, you can’t fight big business, and agriculture is among the biggest businesses in Florida — as important to the state as tourism.
And seriously, Henry. It’s not like they didn’t try. The GOPers are now bickering among themselves over who is the most to blame for their failure.