(Note: Please see the statement from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network on Obama's treachery below, as well as an update on Arpaio's raid.)
It was all way too polite, and obviously calculated by the White House in an attempt to protect President's right flank.
I mean Governor Jan Brewer's meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House today. This, as Sheriff Joe Arpaio just announced through his Twitter page that he's doing another anti-immigrant operation here in Maricopa County. (See second update below.)
Details are not yet forthcoming. Maybe it's one of Arpaio's usual stunts. Nevertheless, Arpaio's already promised that his notorious sweeps will continue, bolstered by SB 1070.
So as Hispanics are rounded up, President Obama chats meaningfully with the woman who signed Arizona's new "papers, please" legislation. Indeed, the very fact that he met with her elevates her status, nationally, as a spokeswoman for the nativist cause.
A White House news release stated that the President had a "good meeting" with Brewer wherein they discussed "a range of critical issues of mutual interest." These included "the president's comprehensive plan to secure the Southwest border and the unprecedented resources his Administration has devoted to that effort."
See, Obama has already announced a deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops to the border, and he's said he will request $500 million "in supplemental funds for enhanced border protection and law enforcement activities as part of that integrated strategy."
Obama also asked Brewer to become his "partner" in working toward comprehensive immigration reform, according to the release.
Interestingly, Brewer addressed CIR on Twitter, in a crack at Obama's expense: "Calling for immigration reform before securing the border is like asking for energy policy reform before stopping the oil leak in the Gulf."
Why does Obama bother to try and placate these people? Who does he think he's winning over as he extends his hand to opportunists, nativists, and far right extremists?
I'm sure his advisors think he's winning over the middle ground as he turns his back on his supporters, while continuing to take it on the chin from his critics. Personally, I think it makes him look weak, and more and more like a Jimmy Carter in the making. (You know, as in "one term.")
Brewer called the meeting "very cordial," but said that the topic of SB 1070 was brushed over -- this according to CNN. CNN also reported that Obama told Brewer he was leaving any decision on a federal lawsuit seeking to enjoin the law up to the U.S. Justice Department.
How convenient. For Obama, that is.
But in an interview with CNN's ancient, petrified tree stump Larry King shortly following Obama's meeting with Brewer, Obama was critical of SB 1070:
"Although I understand the frustration of the people of Arizona when it comes to the inflow of illegal immigrants," he said. "I don't think this is the right way to do it. I think this puts American citizens who look Hispanic or are Hispanic, potentially in an unfair situation. And more importantly, it also creates the prospect of 50 different laws in 50 different states when it comes to immigration."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
A little less talk about the how the law is bad, Mr. President, a little more action. That's what your supporters want, if you care to curry favor with them for a change.
Update: Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued the following statement on the Brewer-Obama summit, which is worth noting.
"We are mystified by the meeting between President Obama and Governor Brewer. We hope a transcript of the meeting is made available to public. Particularly following President Obama's recent decision to militarize the border, and his inaction to defend civil and human rights in Arizona, we wonder why he is spending valuable time with the George Wallace of our generation. Rather than meeting with Arizona's Governor, the President should be meeting with Secretary Napolitano to discuss how the federal government will sever its contracts with the likes of Joe Arpaio and other demagogues in Arizona. Moreover, he should be meeting with Attorney General Holder to develop and implement a legal strategy that will defend the Executive Branch's authority to enforce immigration law."
Second Update: Arpaio's stunt ended up being a raid on a Burlington Coat Factory store at Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe. Three employees arrested for suspected ID theft. Big whoop, Joe.