President Obama got most everything he wanted in the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Arizona immigration law. But getting most everything he wants isn’t enough for Obama. For him, it’s an all or nothing proposition with no room for compromise. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ sage advice, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes well you might find you get what you need,” won’t suffice for Obama – choir or no choir. To paraphrase the late Freddie Mercury, “He wants it all and he wants it now.”
The Supreme Court, of course, upheld the Arizona law’s most controversial provision which would allow state and local enforcement to verify the immigration status of an individual whom they have a reasonable suspicion is in the country illegally. This did not please the President who, when responding to the high court’s ruling, stated, “No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time President Obama has engaged in racial demagoguery while besmirching law enforcement concerning this legislation. During a town hall meeting in Ottumwa, Iowa in April 2010, Obama told his audience:
But you can imagine, if you are a Hispanic American in Arizona — your great-grandparents may have been there before Arizona was even a state. But now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to be harassed. That’s something that could potentially happen. That’s not the right way to go.
Does President Obama honestly think that Arizona state troopers are going to stake out every Baskin-Robbins along I-17? If they did then how would they christen such a task force? Operation Rocky Road? But what else can we expect of a President who publicly accused the police department in, of all locales, The People’s Republic of Cambridge, of “acting stupidly” after arresting his friend from Harvard University? Or for that matter described Trayvon Martin like the son he never had?
Yet when the Obama Administration filed suit against Arizona there was no mention of racial profiling in their complaint. When Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’ Face the Nation, asked Attorney General Eric Holder in July 2010 why this was the case, Holder replied:
We’re going to go out with what we thought was our strongest initial argument and to focus on what we thought the most serious problem with the law as it now exists. Doesn’t mean if the law, for whatever reason, happened to go into effect that six months from now, a year from now, we might not look at the impact the law has had and see whether or not there has been that racial profiling level and if that was the case we would have the tools and we would bring suit on that basis.
When Holder talks about “our strongest initial argument” what he really means is that the Obama Administration had no evidence to support their argument that the Arizona immigration law would lead to racial profiling. Moreover, if that provision of the Arizona law went into effect they would still need to investigate “whether or not there has been that racial profiling level” to warrant further legal action. In other words, when the Obama Administration filed its lawsuit against Arizona, it had bupkis where it concerned racial profiling. Not that the Obama Administration would let a lack of evidence of racial profiling get in the way of its dogged pursuit of demagoguery. But for the time being it appears that the Obama Administration will simply be content not to enforce the law.
So the next time President Obama says that the Arizona immigration law forces Americans to live under a cloud of suspicion because of what they look like, he ought to be asked why his administration didn’t make that argument to the courts. He ought to be asked that question because the federal government made the exact opposite argument. It argued that the Arizona immigration law would put a strain on the resources of ICE because it interpreted the Arizona law to mean that any person arrested in Arizona would be required to have their immigration status checked. Federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton agreed with the federal government and blocked several contentious portions of the Arizona immigration law in August 2010. All of which would bring us to our present state of affairs. As I wrote at the time:
If, in fact, it was Arizona’s intention to check the immigration status of every single person they arrested, then I would argue that Arizona would be doing the very opposite of racial profiling. Yet somehow I don’t think critics of S.B. 1070 would be inclined towards such generosity.
President Obama is certainly not inclined towards such generosity. Aside from spending us into insolvency, the only two other things President Obama has dispensed generously to the American public is demagoguery and disingenuousness. A most potent and dangerous mix indeed.