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Mike Littwin

"The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles."

Littwin: Why is Jared Polis helping the anti-Islam right?

Littwin: Why is Jared Polis helping the anti-Islam right?

I know what Donald Trump is doing. And I know what Ben Carson is doing. And I know what Ted Cruz is doing.  And I know what Chris Christie is doing. And I know what all those GOP governors who aren’t running for president — at least not this time — are doing.

What I don’t understand is why Jared Polis, of all people, is helping them do it.

In no time at all, they’ve turned the horror of the ISIS attacks in Paris into a nasty piece of all-American fear-mongering, targeting Syrian refugees — themselves on the run from ISIS horrors — as potential terrorists. In its time of mourning, France has renewed its pledge to take in 30,000 more Syrian refugees. What is America’s responsibility after the disaster that was America’s role in the region, even in a time of heightened concern about terrorism?

It’s shameful, but utterly predictable.  At this point, no one is quite sure what to do about ISIS – only if your name is Bush do you think another war is a good option — and so the fight has become about the refugees, which, if you think about it, are very much like immigrants, meaning the xenophobic battle lines had already been set.

That’s how you come to see more than two dozen governors (one a Democrat) pledging to turn away Syrian refugees from their states. And you see presidential candidates threatening to force Muslims to sign onto a database with which to track them (Trump), comparing the potential threat of refugees to the potential threat of rabid dogs (Carson), calling for a religious test for refugees (Cruz), citing the risk of allowing 5-year-old orphan refugees into his state, asking who would take care of them, as if we routinely dump orphans to the side of the road (Christie).

You knew the House would soon join in on the fun, with new Speaker Paul Ryan bringing to a vote a bill that would “pause” the intake of refugees from Syria and Iraq, just to be on the safe side, even if the Paris attackers were mostly — or maybe entirely — from France and Belgium.

But the pause could be more like a full stop, which seems to be the point.

The bill would require each future refugee from Syria and Iraq to be certified as non-threatening by the FBI director, the head of homeland security and the director of national intelligence. Without this bill, it takes 18 to 24 months to vet a refugee. With three top officials having to personally sign off, well, the math just gets that much harder.

As expected, the bill passed, but not everyone expected it to pass so overwhelmingly, with 47 Democrats joining nearly all Republicans. It still has to get past the Senate and, if it gets that far, a threatened Obama veto. But what was really unexpected was that one of the Democrats to vote for the bill was Polis, who is strongly pro-refugee, strongly anti-xenophobe, and quite happy, he says, to have seen John Hickenlooper promise to welcome Syrian refugees to Colorado.

In other words, Polis voted for what is considered by nearly everyone to be an anti-Syrian-refugee bill as a pro-Syrian-refugee legislator.

If you’re confused, don’t expect any help from me, although I tried. Most of the Democrats who voted for the bill had election issues and weren’t expected to take a hit for Obama. But Polis is from a safe district, where his vote couldn’t have hurt him much either way. So why did he do it?

I read Polis’s statement, in which he said he supports bringing in more than the 10,000 Syrian refugees the Obama administration is promising, but that he voted for the bill because he wants to see improvement in an  “already-extensive vetting process.” It didn’t seem to clear anything up.

I texted with his press team, who said he didn’t believe that the bill, designed to slow down the process, would slow down the process much at all.

I got Polis on the phone and asked if he didn’t think that most of those voting for the bill were, in fact, opposed to bringing in more Syrian refugees.

He agreed.

I asked if he thought the refugee vetting system, which requires multiple background checks and doesn’t allow a prospective refugee to come to American until he or she is approved, wasn’t already rigorous.

He not only agreed, he also said if he’d been writing the bill, he’d have put the emphasis on those traveling here on passports that don’t need a visa and those traveling on a student visa.

I could have mentioned that according to the Migration Policy Institute, 780,000 refugees have resettled in America since 9/11 and that of the 780,000 only three — yes, three — had been arrested on terrorism charges, and two of those were for terrorism outside the country. But Polis was way ahead of me.  He texted me a copy of a letter he had signed last September asking Obama, who has been so cautious on Syrian refugees, to raise the Syrian refugee target to 100,000.

“If we’re going to ask the American public to accept a lot more refugees, we should also assure them we are doing everything to make the process as safe as possible,” Polis said, noting that congressional oversight was critical. “We have to show that Americans can have confidence in an already strong program.”

And so, against all logic, Polis insists he voted for a bill that nearly everyone believes is a not-so-subtle message that Americans think it is dangerous to allow more Syrian refugees (read: mostly Muslims) into the country as a way to convince Americans that we should allow more Syrian refugees into the country. And I’ll bet you thought this political season couldn’t get any stranger.

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About the Author

Mike Littwin

He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.
mlittwin@coloradoindependent.com | Twitter @mike_littwin

11 Comments

  1. JohninDenver on said:

    I’m uncertain what would have to be in the bill for Mr. Polis to oppose it.

    Other than a vague “assure them [the American public] we are doing everything to make the process as safe as possible”, I have no idea what he favors.

    I hope someone explains things to him before it is time to have a vote to override the veto.

  2. Mark Dreher on said:

    This was my email to Jared:

    Jared,

    I have always loved the work you do so I cannot understand why you voted for the anti-immigration bill with the Republicans. I just wrote a blog post concerning these xenophobic Republicans, http://www.mixermuse.com/blog/politics/anti-abortion-anti-immigrants-republicans-and-jesus/ . Why would liberals ever support these folks in any way? The only thing I can think of is some kind of bargain chip played from a vote you received on another bill?? I guess this is why I could never be a politician.

    Disappointed…

    Mark

  3. JohninDenver on said:

    Just found this on a Huffington Post article:

    Just two months ago, some of the same Democrats who just voted to make it harder for Syrian refugees to enter the country were hailing the effectiveness of the current screening process — and urging the administration to accept 100,000 more Syrian refugees.

    “There are those who will oppose taking in additional refugees. They will say it is a security risk,” reads a Sept. 11 letter to the president from dozens of Democrats. “This criticism ignores the fact that the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program subjects applicants to more thorough security vetting than any other traveler or immigrant to the United States.”

    They add, “We agree with Refugee Council USA’s recent recommendation that the United States resettle a minimum of 200,000 refugees by the end of 2016, including 100,000 Syrian refugees.”

    Ten Democrats on that letter voted Thursday to crack down on Syrian refugee admissions: … Jared Polis (Colo.),

  4. Larry Steele on said:

    Representative Polis is only one of 47 new reasons that I will never contribute to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). They can keep sending me emails, but I will not support one of these people through a donation. Politicians are quick to note that “elections matter,” but they must also keep in mind that their votes in Congress matter as well.

  5. Zappatero on said:

    Dems from CO must pass through some kind of worm hole that strips them of their common sense and political courage just before they get to DC.

  6. Pingback: LITTWIN: Why is Jared Polis helping the anti-Islam right? - Aurora Sentinel

  7. Gretchen Diefenderfer on said:

    It’s very disappointing unconvincing justification for this vote. I expected more from Rep. Polis. Will call his office

  8. GeorgeR on said:

    Jared did this same kind of thing, voting with the Repubs, on an early vote of the Affordable Health Care Act. Like now, he said that the need for improvements in the proposed AHCA outweighed the optics of voting with the Repubs. He supported AHCA on subsequent votes.

    I didn’t agree with that first AHCA vote, and I don’t agree with this one on refugees. However, his answers to your questions prove he has thought this all through. So I will temper my immediate anger response, and give a guy who I agree with 99% of the time and think has good judgement, the benefit of the doubt. That is the spirit of what representative government is about.

    Not a popular viewpoint on internet forums I am sure.

  9. Don Lopez on said:

    You might think that a man who enthusiastically embraced a nuclear agreement with a country he doesn’t trust and a country he admitted will continue to sponsor terrorism would be beyond outrage. Well, if that’s what you thought, you’d be wrong.

    Yes, I’m talking about Iran and yes, I’m talking about Mr. Littwin who, today, focused his very narrow spectrum of outrage on a bill designed to strengthen the vetting process for refugees.

    You can’t make this stuff up!

    It’s also interesting to note that while he has lamented the absence of bipartisanship Mr. Littwin could be so incensed when seeing it in action.

    You can’t make that stuff up, either!

    Mr. Littwin is so totally wrapped up in partisan politics that he seems unable to fully grasp Representative Polis’ rather simple, straightforward, unambiguous explanation of his support for the bill, “If we’re going to ask the American public to accept a lot more refugees, we should also assure them we are doing everything to make the process as safe as possible.”

    If that explanation confuses Mr. Littwin there’s little hope he’ll be able to comprehend this from Kevin Drum, a political blogger for Mother Jones. But here goes anyway:

    “Mocking Republicans over this—as liberals spent much of yesterday doing on my Twitter stream—seems absurdly out of touch to a lot of people. Not just wingnut tea partiers, either, but plenty of ordinary centrists too. It makes them wonder if Democrats seriously see no problem here. Do they care at all about national security? Are they really that detached from reality?”

    “Mocking it is the worst thing we could do. It validates all the worst stereotypes about liberals that we put political correctness ahead of national security.”

    It would appear that despite his best efforts to hide it, Mr. Littwin fits perfectly Mr. Drum’s description of the worst stereotype of a liberal. Of course that’s hardly a secret. Everyone is aware of it except the politically blind and the Colorado Independent, one of Mr. Littwin’s prime enablers.

    To further illustrate Mr. Littwin’s unwillingness/inability to accept reality you need look no further than this incredible but true Littwin quote:”At this point, no one is quite sure what to do about ISIS….”.

    Really? No one?

    French President Hollande had absolutely no problem in determining what to do about ISIS. There’s this from the New York Post:

    “French President Francois Hollande vowed to attack the Islamic State group without mercy as the jihadist group admitted responsibility Saturday for orchestrating the deadliest attacks on France since World War II.”

    Or this from the Washington Post:

    “French warplanes launched a ferocious retaliatory assault late Sunday on targets in Raqqa, Syria — the Islamic State’s de facto capital — after coordination with U.S. defense officials who helped with the targeting.”

    Vive la France !

    Is it really possible that Mr. Littwin was unaware that the French had put their bombs where there mouth is? Or—and this is the more likely scenario—has Mr. Littwin finally come to terms with the realization that a Pulitzer is not in his future and decided on a more achievable goal: Induction into the Political Hacks Hall of Fame.

    How long can Mr. Littwin continue to ignore inconvenient facts? How long can the Colorado Independent continue to claim “The only bias we have is for good journalism”?

    And who thought the day would come when a French president led the way while an American president sat on the sidelines waving a white flag?
    =========================================================================
    Courage enlarges, cowardice diminishes resources. In desperate straits the fears of the timid aggravate the dangers that imperil the brave. – Christian Nestell Bovee

    “President Francois Hollande deemed the shootings and bombings “an act of war.” He said early Saturday, “We will lead the fight, and we will be ruthless.”
    ‘France is at war,’ Hollande says” – CNN

    “On Sept. 6, 2012, Obama boasted at the Democratic National Convention that “al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat.” Five days later, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists attacked two U.S. diplomatic compounds in Benghazi, Libya, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

    On Jan. 7, 2014, Obama dismissed the Islamic State as the “JV” team in an interview with the New Yorker, adding that the rise of the Islamic State was not “a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.” That same month, the Islamic State began its march on Iraq, declaring a caliphate, burning people alive in cages and beheading Americans.

    Then on Thursday, Obama did it again, telling ABC News, “I don’t think [the Islamic State is] gaining strength” and promising “we have contained them.” The very next day, the Islamic State launched the worst attack on Paris since World War II, killing at least 132 people and wounding more than 350 others.

    How many times is this sad spectacle going to repeat itself?” – Marc A. Thiessen Washington Post

    “Democrats who debated in Iowa last night were very, very concerned about the Paris terror attacks and the growing evidence that ISIS—or Da’esh, as it is called in the region—has metastasized into a true global threat. Very concerned. Bernie Sanders even thought that this barbaric challenge to civilization should be “eliminated”…although it was not as great a threat as global warming, he allowed, which—hold on, here—causes terrorism. You know, droughts and floods set people in motion and…well, never mind.

    Indeed, political correctness makes it impossible for Democrats to face, head on, by name, the essential problem: the rise of Islamic radicalism—or jihadi-ism, as Hillary Clinton tried to call it (and almost succeeded). This is not just a word game.” – Joe Klein Time

    “The irony of those (Democrats) unwilling to call the threat of radical Islam by its name is that in endeavoring to be intelligent and understanding, in trying to avoid painting with “too broad a brush,” they are in reality betraying their ignorance or inability to grapple with the true nature of today’s foe

    Our leaders do us no service when they fail to recognize that the threat the so-called Islamic State and its allied terrorists represent is a civilizational not a geopolitical conflict, and can only be understood through that lens. The radicals who perpetrated the Charlie Hebdo attack were not motivated by Western Imperialism, but by members of a free society violating Islamic law.” – Daily Beast

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Memorial Day – May 30, 2016

  10. Laura Chapin on said:

    Hey Joe Lopez – slight problem with your diatribe. France is accepting 30,000 MORE Syrian immigrants after the attacks because, in the words of President Hollande, “Some wish to link the terrorist threat to the influx of migrants,” Hollande said. “Truth is, that link exists: The people are running from Iraq and Syria because they are attacked by the very same people who are attacking us today.”
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/tasneemnashrulla/president-francoise-hollande-says-france-will-welcome-refuge?utm_term=.am6zmz6xX#.trD3m3KLP

  11. Don Lopez on said:

    Mrs. Chapin,

    My first name is Don.

    I don’t view President Hollande’s statement as a “problem”.

    He sees a link that apparently is invisible to Mr. Littwin. Syrian refugees are a symptom of a much larger problem: terrorism. And ISIS are the terrorists.

    Mr. Littwin only wants to address the symptoms and not the underlying source. President Hollande is addressing both.

    Mr. Littwin is reluctant to address the problem’s source—terrorism-because he endorsed a nuclear agreement with Iran that even Mr. Littwin admitted allows Iran to continue to sponsor terrorism, the source of the Syrian refugee problem.

    Seeing nothing wrong with allowing a country to sponsor terrorism while simultaneously raising concerns about the problems caused by terrorism seems contradictory at best and hypocritical at worst.

    And then for Mr. Littwin to turn his, well, reluctance into a partisan political issue is sophistry at its best.

    Mr. Littwin’s claim that “At this point, no one is quite sure what to do about ISIS…” is simply not true. There is someone who knows exactly what to do: French President Hollande. And he has ordered French warplanes to bomb ISIS targets.

    And if you agree with President Hollande’s stand on accepting refugees surely you agree with his decision to use military force to eliminate the problem’s source. Right?

    Who thought the day would come when a French president would lead the way while an American president sat on the sidelines waving a white flag?

    I disagree with your conclusion that “This bill was never about policy. It was about politics and Republicans fanning a climate of fear.”

    Are the forty-seven Democrats who supported this bill also responsible for creating fear?

    The bill is about strengthening the refugee vetting system and received bipartisan support and isn’t bipartisanship what Mr. Littwin wants from our representatives in Washington?

    Well, he got it.

    =========================================================================
    Courage enlarges, cowardice diminishes resources. In desperate straits the fears of the timid aggravate the dangers that imperil the brave. – Christian Nestell Bovee

    “President Francois Hollande deemed the shootings and bombings “an act of war.” He said early Saturday, “We will lead the fight, and we will be ruthless.”
    ‘France is at war,’ Hollande says” – CNN

    “On Sept. 6, 2012, Obama boasted at the Democratic National Convention that “al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat.” Five days later, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists attacked two U.S. diplomatic compounds in Benghazi, Libya, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

    On Jan. 7, 2014, Obama dismissed the Islamic State as the “JV” team in an interview with the New Yorker, adding that the rise of the Islamic State was not “a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.” That same month, the Islamic State began its march on Iraq, declaring a caliphate, burning people alive in cages and beheading Americans.

    Then on Thursday, Obama did it again, telling ABC News, “I don’t think [the Islamic State is] gaining strength” and promising “we have contained them.” The very next day, the Islamic State launched the worst attack on Paris since World War II, killing at least 132 people and wounding more than 350 others.

    How many times is this sad spectacle going to repeat itself?” – Marc A. Thiessen Washington Post

    “Democrats who debated in Iowa last night were very, very concerned about the Paris terror attacks and the growing evidence that ISIS—or Da’esh, as it is called in the region—has metastasized into a true global threat. Very concerned. Bernie Sanders even thought that this barbaric challenge to civilization should be “eliminated”…although it was not as great a threat as global warming, he allowed, which—hold on, here—causes terrorism. You know, droughts and floods set people in motion and…well, never mind.

    Indeed, political correctness makes it impossible for Democrats to face, head on, by name, the essential problem: the rise of Islamic radicalism—or jihadi-ism, as Hillary Clinton tried to call it (and almost succeeded). This is not just a word game.” – Joe Klein Time

    “The irony of those (Democrats) unwilling to call the threat of radical Islam by its name is that in endeavoring to be intelligent and understanding, in trying to avoid painting with “too broad a brush,” they are in reality betraying their ignorance or inability to grapple with the true nature of today’s foe

    Our leaders do us no service when they fail to recognize that the threat the so-called Islamic State and its allied terrorists represent is a civilizational not a geopolitical conflict, and can only be understood through that lens. The radicals who perpetrated the Charlie Hebdo attack were not motivated by Western Imperialism, but by members of a free society violating Islamic law.” – Daily Beast

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Memorial Day – May 30, 2016

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