Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., taught British literature for 23 years at public school before becoming Congress’s first openly gay nonwhite representative. Now, 21 years after leaving the schoolroom, Takano is bringing his pedagogical skills from the schoolhouse to the House of Representatives to criticize Republicans for opposing immigration reform.
Twenty-one House Republicans wrote a letter to Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, expressing their opposition to the bill. Takano posted the letter graded like an essay on his Tumblr.
The edits largely criticize the letter for wanting to break up immigration into smaller bills and for exaggerating minor details.
The tactic has drawn fire from many in the House calling the move petty and distracting.
Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who wrote the bill, expressed frustration at the air of superiority and lack of serious consideration.
“This grandstanding represents everything Americans hate about Washington, rank partisanship and pettiness while posturing oneself as above the fray and superior," he wrote.
Some accuse the comments of being hypocritical, at one point arguing, “Please argue policy, not procedure” after also criticizing the letter for counting the bill’s pages instead of its words. It also criticizes the letter for being hypocritical.
Takano gave the essay an “F.” As the battle of immigration rages on, observers are torn between viewing the tactic as petty and parochial or innovative and cunning.