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On immigration, a GOP bait-and-switch

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives would like you to know that they really, really wanted to get America’s immigration laws reformed. After all, they released a statement late last month sincerely saying just that, with details!

But alas, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that immigration reform probably won’t happen this year. And as you might guess, it’s President Barack Obama’s fault.

“There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws,” Boehner said Thursday at the Capitol. “And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”

This, of course, is like your 10-year-old telling you that he really wanted to clean his room, but he couldn’t trust that you would ever be satisfied. The “yes-we-can-well-no-we-can’t” also has the classic markings of a political bait-and-switch. Tell the voters that you really want to get things done, and even release a list of “standards” dealing how. Then, when the other side disagrees on the prescription, say “Well, we tried.”

But this discussion didn’t even get to the disagreement part. Perhaps Republicans were surprised that Obama and Democrats indicated a willingness to accept that undocumented immigrants should have to settle for legal status, not citizenship. Perhaps Boehner once again miscalculated the support of the House’s extreme conservatives.

But suddenly discovering that the president can’t be trusted? If you believe that, we have some fencing along the Arizona border to sell you.

Targeting teens’ teeth

CVS’ decision to stop selling tobacco products is getting more attention, but a different effort starting this week might have a bigger effect on smoking, at least among young people.

The Food and Drug Administration is launching TV, magazine and Internet ads aimed at discouraging teens from smoking. Instead of emphasizing long-term effects such as lung cancer and emphysema, the FDA will focus on maladies teens can relate to here and now: yellow teeth, empty wallets and being separated from friends while disappearing for a smoke.

The FDA will spend $115 million on the year-long campaign. The agency says a drop in teen smoking has slowed, and these ads are designed to speed it back up. Will it work? It’s definitely worth a shot.

Her values? Cheap shots

Are we not past this kind of thing yet? N.C. politicians have a history of portraying their opponents as some kind of scary outsiders who want to undercut North Carolina’s good ol’ fashioned values. Add Republican Renee Ellmers to the list.

When entertainer Clay Aiken – who is openly gay – announced last week that he would seek to challenge Ellmers for her 2nd Congressional District seat, Ellmers’ spokeswoman Jessica Wood labeled Aiken as “a performer whose political views more closely resemble those of San Francisco than Sanford.”

Stay classy, Renee, stay classy.

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