Tom Kacich: Nobody like Ike in today's GOP
The president called the Refugee Relief Act "emergency immigration legislation" that "is, at once, a significant humanitarian act and an important contribution toward greater understanding and cooperation among the free nations of the world."
"The action," he said, "demonstrates again America's traditional concern for the homeless, the persecuted and the less fortunate of other lands."
The president: Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, who knew a lot about war, peace and national security. The date: Aug. 7, 1953.
Less than 10 years earlier Eisenhower had directed all Allied forces in the European theater in World War II, seen the German surrender in May 1945 and served as military governor in the U.S. Occupied Zone of Germany following the end of the war.
He not only knew how to conquer an enemy, but how to help rebuild vanquished nations and help bring stability to a chaotic world.
Eisenhower said he was "delighted" to sign the immigration legislation and to welcome about 214,000 refugees to the United States.
"They ... are men and women of the same character and integrity as our ancestors who, generation upon generation, have come to America to find peace and work, to build for themselves new homes in freedom," the new president said.
Like today's debate over admitting Syrian refugees, there was fear that the new refugees, most of whom were to be from communist countries, would be security threats.
Eisenhower's State Department tried to allay those fears, saying that every applicant would undergo a "thorough investigation" and that "two or three times as many cases will be handled as will be admitted.
"So painstaking, so severe is this check that it guarantees protection against the entrance of enemy agents, Communist 'plants' or others posing as refugees," the State Department wrote.
So, where is today's Dwight Eisenhower among the among the Republican presidential candidates?
Three candidates, like Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, want a "pause" in the refugee settlement process that already takes as long as two years. They are Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Lindsey Graham. Earlier, Graham had endorsed taking Syrian refugees; that position apparently was too moderate.
Two others, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, want to admit only Christian refugees. And the other contenders, including Ben Carson and Donald Trump, don't want to accept any more.
"I'm putting people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, they're going back," said Trump, who is believed to be the GOP front-runner.
"The Statue of Liberty says bring us your tired and your weary. It didn't say bring us your terrorists and let them come in here and bomb neighborhoods, cafes and concert halls," said Mike Huckabee, who is not believed to be anywhere near the GOP front-runner.
Still, none of today's Republicans want to be like Ike, and that's the shame of today's Republican politics.
Popular local office
So far only two Republicans have filed to become the new Champaign County recorder of deeds, but two more say they'll add their names to the list Monday.
That's the last day to file statements of candidacy to appear on the March 15 primary election ballot.
Sherry Janeski of Fisher, an employee in the recorder's office, and former Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden of Urbana, already have filed for the office.
And Champaign restaurateur Rob Meister and Urbana engineer and land surveyor Rex Bradfield both said last week that they'll file Monday.
"I'm going to run," said Bradfield. "I've got enough of them (signatures) right now and I'm just getting some more to make sure."
"I had my signatures a week ago," said Meister, "but I figured there was no reason for me to file until Monday anyway. I've been sick and have spent most of my time in bed the last three days."
The four Republican candidates are joined by one Democrat (so far), local attorney Matt Duco, to succeed the retiring Barb Frasca as the county recorder.
The recorder's office — which pays almost $93,000 a year — is the most popular position on the ballot this year. With five actual or potential candidates, it has drawn far more interest so far than the office of state's attorney (two candidates), or circuit clerk, coroner or auditor (one candidate each).
Remember the furor nearly three years ago when newly elected state Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, was the only Republican in the Illinois Senate to vote for a bill to legalize gay marriage in Illinois?
He was criticized by members of his own party — the Ford County Republican Party passed a resolution expressing its displeasure with his vote and former McLean County Republican Party Chair John Parrott said the young senator had made a lot of enemies.
"The outpouring of dissatisfaction from Republicans in McLean County has been overwhelming, along with other county chairmen calling me and talking to me about how disappointed they are in Barickman's vote," Parrott said.
But unless someone files tomorrow to oppose him, Barickman is going to get a pass in the March 15 Republican primary. Although he hasn't filed yet, Barickman said he'll do so on Monday.
Racial justice task force
So far there are just six applicants for what Champaign County Board Chair Pattsi Petrie envisions as a 21-member racial justice task force that will be in operation from January 2016 to June 2017.
The group is to "take positive steps to address the issue of racial disparity in the (county) jail population and in the criminal justice system more broadly." Task force members should be prepared to meet twice a month for 18 months. They will not be paid.
The deadline to apply for a position on the task force is 4 p.m. Dec. 10.
More Republican delegate slates
More slates of convention delegates pledged to Republican presidential hopefuls have been unveiled in recent weeks. They include several Champaign and Vermilion County Republicans.
— Ben Carson (13th Congressional District): Stuart King of Champaign, John Elder of Champaign and Susan Reynold of Decatur. Alternate delegates are Terra Patient of Champaign, and Jerald Jacobs and Stephen Haury, both of Springfield.
(15th Congressional District): Lin Warfel of rural Tolono, Diante Johnson of Danville, and state Rep. Reggie Phillips of Charleston. Alternate delegates are Stephanie and Todd Holderfield of Mahomet and David Kruger of Rantoul.
— Ted Cruz (13th Congressional District): James Kammer and Nicholas Kammer, Monticello; and Mark Strang, White Hall. Alternate delegates are Steven Bayes of Monticello, Sidney Rohrscheib of Clinton, and Staley Pratt of Taylorville.
(15th Congressional District): state Sen. Chapin Rose of Mahomet, Loren Neal of Neoga and Brian Millevile of Effingham. Alternate delegates are Kenneth Davenport of Mahomet, Daniel Cothern of Mattoon, and Stephen Nyberg of Elizabethtown.
— Marco Rubio (13th Congressional District): former U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson of Urbana, Roy Hertel of Hillsboro and Michael McCormick of Godfrey. Alternate delegates are Dustin Peterson of Clinton, Sean Fitzgerrel of Decatur and Justin Sinner of Springfield.
(15th Congressional District): state Sen. Dale Righter of Mattoon, Jason Plummer of Edwardsville, and Bob Winchester of Rosiclare. Alternate delegates are Mike Marron of Fithian, Kenneth Wiggs of Vienna and Don Weber of Troy.
Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette reporter and columnist. His column appears on Sundays and Wednesdays. He can be reached at 351-5221 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.