With oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, the debate over financial reform heating up and Congress castigating Goldman Sachs, news that a proposed House bill will give Puerto Ricans a chance to vote for statehood has been largely overlooked by the media. The exception is a small but vehement group of conservative pundits, who over the past week have repeatedly sounded the alarm on the familiar right-wing obsession.
Answers Before Adding a State Doc Hastings, a House Republican for West Virginia, makes the case against the bill in a guest column for RedState. "If a Congressionally-sanctioned vote is going to be held, it
must come with an open, thorough understanding of what independence or
statehood would mean to Puerto Rico and the existing 50 states," he argues, citing a need for a full debate on the issue that addresses the effect Puerto Rican statehood would have on the rest of America. "The bottom line is that there are many questions that have not
been answered, and there are a great many implications that aren’t being
considered or even discussed."
The Latest Progressive Conspiracy Never one to back away from a conspiracy theory, Glenn Beck labels the bill a progressive plot to use a 19th-century plan for statehood in Tennessee to make Puerto Rico a state and further "transform America." Beck details precisely how progressives will carry out their scheme:
Congressmen voting for HR 2499 are like sheep being led to
slaughter. They'll say the people of Puerto Rico have a right to vote
for themselves. They'll vote yes. The progressives will then present a
false choice to the people. Instead of saying "do you want to be a
state?"it's "Do you want the status quo?" If voters vote no, the next
vote removes the status quo from the ballot, leaving statehood against
two far less popular options. They'll vote yes for statehood. Then
they'll elect their congressman and senators, they'll demand to be
seated and a 51st star will be attached to the flag.
National Review Outrage After Alex Castellanos supported the bill on the conservative site, his right-wing colleagues angrily fired back. "By sanctioning a rigged election process
in Puerto Rico, Congress will be running roughshod over Puerto Ricans’
desire — expressed in three previous elections — to remain a U.S.
commonwealth," responds Naomi Lopez Bauman. Throwing in a shot at health care reform, Hans A. von Spakovsky is equally direct:
Ordinary citizens have already been hit
in the past year with an unconstitutional takeover by the federal government of
our health-care system. [...] Now those same citizens are faced with a
manipulative bill that political observers will recognize as designed
to create millions of new votes at a time when certain political actors
fear their election prospects are diminishing. This is nothing more than
a transparent attempt to rig election rules to favor the outcome they
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