Writings and observations

Sectors in conflict

A group called the Coalition for a Working Oregon, a group made up of leaders in such Oregon industries as restaurants, nurseries and others, is at work in Washington (D.C.) trying to oppose a piece of legislation which would require nearly all businesses to use the E-Verify system to determine whether the people being hired are in this country legally. The Coalition is forthright about its situation: Its businesses hire people who aren’t. They do it because there’s not much other way they can get needed work done, within their ordinary budgets.

Many of those people are Republicans, and their efforts appear likely to be setting them on a collision course with other Republicans. To which one nursery executive told the Oregonian, “If you’re 80 percent our friend but the 20 percent puts us out of business, we will have a problem.”

This situation is nothing new in the case of immigration law; Republicans have been dealing with the internal difficulties there at least since President George W. Bush tried to rationalize the system, and couldn’t get enough support.

Consider now, though, the situation in Idaho: Ordinary trade development efforts are becoming enough to rouse concern of foreigners too.

On July 16, at its annual convention, the Idaho Republican Party will be asked to demand the legislature investigate the state’s current efforts to expand trade with China.

It’s a real peculiarity. Trade expansion with China has been something the state has been pushing for a great many years, and it’s one of the initiatives Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter appears to be (with some justification) proudest of. He has worked on a number of agreements, some of which have brought business to the state. There’s been talk of setting up a free-trade zone. There’s been nothing especially secret about this; Otter has enjoyed trumpeting his efforts in these areas.

But the effort before the state GOP would ask the legislature to “inquire 1) how does this not violate our own state Constitution, 2) if this is a security risk to Gowen Field, Mountain Home Air Force Base, the State of Idaho, or the U.S., and 3) why are we not internally developing our own natural resources.”

Try Googling “otter china free trade zone idaho” and you’ll find some peculiar stuff: CHINESE INVASION OF IDAHO « The Radio DetectiveIdaho to be first Chinese stateWhy has Butch Otter invited Communist China to Idaho? … And this goes on, and on.

Is the next step kicking Otter out of the Republican Party for not being rigorously conservative enough?

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