(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer editor, a.k.a. BE)
JB: Yo, boss, lost in all the coverage of the budget proposal to help gas drillers and cut education and keep our esteemed legislature and its 253 members from sharing in any sacrifice in tough economic times there's a bright light of some national attention on one of the state House's finest.
BE: Someone got singled out for great public service?
JB: Depends on your views. But Republican state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of far-off Butler County this week is profiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a national civil rights group based in Montgomery, Ala., for what the center calls radical, extremist, anti-constitutional views on immigration.
BE: Well, it's nice to get recognition.
JB: Daryl's at the top of a list of a dozen state lawmakers from around the country (the only one from PA) the center says is pushing to overturn the 14th Amendment's guarantee of citizen-birthright for the children of immigrants born in the U.S.
BE: Arizona comes to Butler County, eh?
JB: And the center notes something Daryl proudly touts: he's the founder of a national group, State Legislators for Legal Immigration, that espouses ending that constitutional guarantee. It has 65 members in 40 states, mostly in the west and south.
BE: I imagine the center offers some Metcalfe moments.
JB: Your imaginiation has always been a strong suit. It says Daryl believes immigrants "live the life of a criminal" and their children should be taken away; notes he once denounced Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Awarness Month as part of the "homosexual agenda," and routinely refers to immigration as our "alien invasion."
BE: I thought the alien invasion began in Roswell, N.M., in 1947. Can't we all just get along?
JB: No rainbow coalition here, bub.
BE: Well, at least our legislature offers a diversity of views.
JB: And it'll be fun to watch those views play out in, say, the House State Government Committee, a place were reforms routinely go to die. Metcalfe, unquestionably THE most conservative lawmaker in the state, chairs the committee. The Democratic chairman is Philly's own Babette Josephs, one of the legislature's most liberal members.
BE: Sounds like a political version of the Odd Couple.
JB: Right, because in Pennsylvania, "odd" is a point of pride. Grrr.