Slow-Motion Nightmare

Former state senator Harry Mitchell's clueless about what exactly he'll do if elected to Congress

"It may be a slow-motion nightmare, but it is a nightmare nonetheless," says Hayworth.

Hayworth makes it sound as if every Mexican making the harrowing trek across the border to work in American factories, restaurants and hotels, and on construction sites and farms, is carrying a couple of Glocks and a satchel of IEDs.

I'm more worried about the avian bird flu than getting knocked off by an angry undocumented Mexican gardener firing RPGs launched from a modified leaf blower.

J.D. Hayworth is a buffoon, but is Tempe political kingpin Harry Mitchell (above) the best the Democrats can do?
courtesy of Harry Mitchell
J.D. Hayworth is a buffoon, but is Tempe political kingpin Harry Mitchell (above) the best the Democrats can do?
Congressman J.D. Hayworth
Desertratdemocrat
Congressman J.D. Hayworth

The real nightmare has been putting up with this hate-mongering buffoon in Congress for the past decade. Hayworth's racist attitude is underscored by his adamant refusal to support a guest worker program, which Mitchell supports. Instead, Hayworth wants to make millions of undocumented workers criminals, round them up and ship them out.

It's an angry, simpleton's response to a complex issue.

Harry Mitchell has a chance to end this debacle. But he better come up with more than sweeping generalities about what he will do as a congressman or Hayworth will head him off at the pass as a "tax-and-spend liberal."

I asked Mitchell after his campaign announcement speech to name three specific pieces of legislation he would seek to enact. You would think that after 36 years in government he would have a couple of ideas.

Wrong.

All he could muster up was a litany of generalities. He sounded like one of his high school students trying to jive his way through an oral exam.

"I think there has to be first of all a comprehensive immigration program, a reform program, a comprehensive one," Mitchell said.

"I think there needs to be something done about Iraq, and we have to at least convey to the people that there is a plan. That we are getting out. That we are bringing to the people of Iraq the freedom and the peace we hope that they would have.

"I think we need to do something about health care. Health care in this country . . . is broken.

Well, thanks, Harry, for providing a list of issues. But that wasn't the question! What are you specifically going to do if elected to Congress?

The press conference was quickly cut off before I could press Mitchell to be more specific.

So I called Mitchell at his home and left messages on his answering machine. He never called back.

Perhaps he is confident that the way to beat Hayworth is to simply tar-and-feather him by repeatedly associating the congressman with felon Abramoff, disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, skyrocketing gasoline prices, the Iraqi quagmire and President Bush's plummeting approval rating.

Why bother with the press?

This strategy may be enough to end Hayworth's reign. But the Democrats need to do more than just defeat Hayworth. If Mitchell wins this seat, and I think he can, he needs to be prepared to implement policies to truly move this country forward, not merely "do something."

Here are a couple of suggestions, Mr. Mitchell, in case you're taking notes.

On immigration: Suggest implementation of a latter-day version of the Marshall Plan for Mexico. Foreign investment in Mexico linked to political reform could greatly accelerate economic development. The creation of a powerful Mexican middle class is in our best interest economically and politically and would do more to cut illegal immigration than militarizing our border.

On health care: Call for providing financial incentives -- lower premiums, tax credits and deductions -- to individuals living a healthy lifestyle that includes a low-fat diet, not smoking, moderate drinking and regular exercise. Such an economic incentive would motivate tens of millions of Americans to make substantial changes in their daily lives that would lead to much lower health-care costs and a healthier nation.

On Iraq: Demand that the Bush administration, while maintaining a strong military presence, drop its inflexible stance and offer to hold peace negotiations with known "terrorist" organizations. Negotiation is the only way to end the War on Terror.

Come on, Harry, it's time to get nitty-gritty. We've already got a Republican dumb guy making vague generalizations. We need to believe that your approach would be different. That you have an actual plan.

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