Earlier this week after President Obama, in his El Paso speech, said that the border fence was “basically complete,” Jim Hoft headlined his post on the matter, “You Lie!” Now, by the standards the left used to just the in incumbent’s predecessor, the president’s statement about the border fence was clearly dishonest.
The real question is whether or not the president knew at the time he was making the statement that it was false. In the Bush era, his critics never showed that the Republican was consciously coloring the facts when he spoke about Saddam’s WMDs. Joe Wilson certainly tried, but it turns out the one-time John Kerry aide was himself playing fast and loose with the facts.
Yet, when a Democrat plays fast and loose with the facts, it doesn’t seem to raise any red flags to the majority of the mainstream media — as it would when it just appears a Republican has done it. Even the context of the two president’s alleged dishonesty is different. Bush didn’t make the claims about Saddam’s WMDs to advance his own political fortunes, but to secure the nation against a threat which, as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice noted, appeared more worrisome in the heady months after the attacks of 9/11.
When the incumbent president twists the facts, however, he does so to advance his own political fortunes by discrediting and even demonizing his political adversaries. As Charles Krauthammer put it:
The El Paso speech is notable not for breaking any new ground on immigration but for perfectly illustrating Obama’s political style: the professorial, almost therapeutic, invitation to civil discourse, wrapped around the basest of rhetorical devices — charges of malice compounded with accusations of bad faith. “They’ll never be satisfied,” said Obama about border control. “And I understand that. That’s politics.”
How understanding. The other side plays “politics,” Obama acts in the public interest. Their eyes are on poll numbers, political power, the next election; Obama’s rest fixedly on the little children.
This impugning of motives is an Obama constant. “They” play politics with deficit reduction, with government shutdowns, with health care. And now immigration. It is ironic that such a charge should be made in a speech that is nothing but politics. There is zero chance of any immigration legislation passing Congress in the next two years. El Paso was simply an attempt to gin up the Hispanic vote as part of an openly political two-city, three-event campaign swing in preparation for 2012.
Read the whole thing. The only reason the Democrat could even claim that the fence is close to complete (Krauthammer details just how it isn’t even close to completion) is to say the Republicans’ primary issue in the debate, the one which resonates with most Americans (including those like myself more pro-immigration that most on the right) is just a subterfuge.
If the fence is already up, then he can better exploit divisions in the GOP (between more libertarian voices like the editors at the Wall Street Journal and more legalist ones like Michelle Malkin). As Krauthammer puts it, pretty much (but not perfectly) articulating my view, “Upon receipt of objective and reliable evidence that the border is secure — not Obama’s infinitely manipulable interdiction statistics — the question would be settled and the immigrants legalized.”
It is foolish to move forward on dealing with the problem of the undocumented immigrants here in the United States until we secure the border and can better regulate their inflow. And develop a policy to address those who have flaunted immigration laws to seek opportunity here. But, with the border still porous, we can’t even begin to consider how to deal with those individuals. With his disingenuous statement, the president attempts to dismiss that argument.
Thus, it seems that the man who, when a candidate for president, once promised a new level of discourse, once in office, dismisses conservatives’ greatest concern in the one of the most contentious issues of our time.