In a media event that lasted less than 20 minutes, before a crowd of red-shirted Brewer-for-Governor supporters at the Marriott Desert Ridge in north Phoenix, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin stood with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer as part of a propaganda effort to counter the tsunami of criticism over Arizona's "papers please" legislation, SB 1070.
Brewer also named Basilio Aja, an executive with the Arizona Cattlemen's Association, to be her first appointment to the state's Joint Border Security Advisory Committee.
At several points, Brewer stumbled over her prepared remarks, mispronouncing words like "inflict" and "interpretations." She chided President Barack Obama, asking whether he wants to be "the commander in chief, or the comic in chief."
This jab was, of course, a reference to a crack Obama made about Arizona at the recent White House Correspondents Dinner.
"This is not an immigration crisis," she insisted at one point. "This is a border security crisis."
If so, why did she just sign a bill that forces local cops to enforce federal immigration law?
Aja, who introduced Brewer, conflated crime in general with immigration, making reference to the murder of southern Arizona rancher Rob Krentz, whose corpse has been exploited as the rationale for a law that would have done nothing to save him.
As for the Wingnut from Wasilla, who spoke last, she was far more polished than her predecessors, though just as full of bull.
"There's been a great deal of misinformation out there about Arizona's effort to address the consequences of illegal immigration," said Palin, who then proceeded to engage in some misinformation of her own, parroting the line that SB 1070 "mirrors" federal law.
In fact, the state law does not "mirror" federal law. Federal law does not require local gendarmes to presume someone is here illegally unless they have one of several forms of state or federal ID on them.
Moreover, the very top of SB 1070 states that the "intent" of the law is to make "attrition through enforcement" state policy. I asked Brewer, during the tres brief Q & A session, to define "attrition through enforcement" and tell me where this phrase was mirrored in federal law.
"Attrition through enforcement would mean that you are going to come through legally," she replied.
I told her she was incorrect, that the phrase meant the state intended to "drive people out."
That's not my definition, but rather the definition of the nativists at FAIR and the Center for Immigration Studies who have proposed it as a guiding principle.
As CIS' Mark Krikorian once wrote, the phrase means that,
"By deterring the settlement of new illegals, by increasing deportations to the extent possible, and, most importantly, by increasing the number of illegals already here who give up and deport themselves, the United States can bring about an annual decrease in the illegal-alien population, rather than allowing it to continually increase."
In other words, make life terrible for the brown people, and they will leave.
Brewer was flummoxed by my comeback, and when I asked again where "attrition through enforcement" appears in federal code, she had no reply.
Basilio Aja jumped in and suggested I go to their new whitewash Web site and read the law. I told him I have read the law. Over and over and over again.
"I have one message for anybody you're trying to scare," Aja told me. "Don't be afraid of Arizona. Don't be afraid of how we treat people. Because we know how to treat people."
Thing is, like Brewer, Aja could not say where the phrase "attrition through enforcement" exists in federal code, because it doesn't exist in federal code.
As for Arizona knowing how to treat people, that's for certain. It definitely knows how to "treat" people who happen to not have lily-white skin. Neither Brewer's cheap media stunt today, nor the appointment of Aja, alters that fact one bit.