I ran into a guy I know at the gym the other day, a card-carrying liberal from Berkeley. He was puzzled. "Why didn't Obama go down to the border?" he wanted to know. When a lefty from lib Mecca is wondering what the heck is going on, you know the president has a problem.
In fairness, the president almost went to the border, but he stopped several hundred miles away where he raised millions from fat cats to help the Democratic Party. Hey, we all have our priorities.
But his failure to visit the kids on the border was such a blatant screw up that it's almost as if he doesn't care what any of us think. He's not running for re-election. He knew that if Americans saw pictures of him with those poor children, they'd blame him for letting it happen (especially when he was warned about the surge in kids heading for the U.S. several years ago). When those pictures got out, he would have owned the crisis. That's not something he wanted.
So he did what the more contemptuous of our politicians do when they're in a mess of their own making. He blamed his critics.
Having tens of thousands of kids in what amounts to refugee camps in the United States of America provides him with an opportunity he never passes on: Blame the Republicans — in this case, for not passing immigration reform. You know what they say in the Obama White House: Never let a crisis go to waste.
But why should Republicans sign on to immigration reform when they don't trust this president. Republicans want the border protected as part of any deal and they have no confidence Mr. Obama has the same level of concern, no matter what he says. A cynic might actually think he wants as many immigrants from Mexico and Central America to come in to the United States, because almost all of them, someday, will vote for Democrats. I don't put anything past this president.
To give his side of it, Mr. Obama said he wasn't going to the border because a trip there would amount to nothing more than a photo-op. This from a man who while running for President of the United States delivered a campaign speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. You think that might have been a photo-op? And remember when he strolled the devastation of super storm Sandy with New Jersey Governor Christie? That photo-op helped the president get re-elected.
And what should we make of a man who supposedly disdains photo-ops but blasted President Bush for not visiting the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which almost certainly would have been portrayed by Mr. Bush's liberal critics in an out of the media as ... a photo-op? On February 7th, 2008, at Tulane University in New Orleans, candidate Barack Obama said this about President Bush, who flew over the city hit by Katrina instead of visiting the victims on the ground:
"When the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast extended their hand for help, help was not there. When people looked up from the rooftops, for too long they saw an empty sky. When the winds blew and the floodwaters came, we learned that for all of our wealth and our power, something wasn't right with America. We can talk about what happened for a few days in 2005, and we should. We can talk about levees that couldn't hold, about a FEMA that's seen as not just incompetent but paralyzed and powerless, about a president who only saw the people from the window of an airplane."
He gets away with this kind of rank hypocrisy because his pals in the media let him get away with it. There's been naïve chatter lately by some media analysts that the press has finally turned on Mr. Obama, that they're finally getting tough on him.
Like my pal from Berkeley, reporters may wonder out loud why this oh-so-smart president whom they have adored for years wouldn't visit the border. They care because they know it hurts him with the American people. But if they were really starting to behave like real journalists, more of them would plaster his remarks at Tulane on page one and put that sound bite on their evening news — to show how he says one thing and does the opposite, both in the interest of ... himself. Thank God for conservative media. Without them we might not know how two-faced Barack Obama can be.
Magic is a powerful force. And Barack Obama had it. Big time. But when the magic fades, the magician is left just standing there - his incompetence no longer hidden by the fog of lofty rhetoric and a million dollar smile. And all that's left is the pathetic image of a man who told us he would make America a newer, better, different place where old-fashioned politics had no place - looking like the old-fashioned politician that he is and always was.