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Tilting at Windmills

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June 21, 2010

JON KYL'S WRONG ON MULTIPLE LEVELS.... Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is not exactly known for his candid, honest assessments of reality, but even for him, this seems ridiculous.

The White House on Monday denied Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl's claim that President Barack Obama told him privately that he would not work to secure the border unless it was part of a comprehensive immigration reform package.

In a video that started circulating among conservative blogs over the weekend, the Arizona Republican is seen telling supporters in North Phoenix that in a private meeting in the Oval Office, Obama said "the problem" with border enforcement measures is that "if we secure the border then [Republicans] won't have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform."

Kyl said the president's supposed statement is proof that Democrats "don't want to secure the border unless or until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform."

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer categorically rejected Kyl's claims, explaining that "the president didn't say that and Senator Kyl knows it."

As a substantive matter, it doesn't take much to realize Kyl, the #2 Republican in the Senate, is lying. After all, the Obama administration has already invested considerable resources into border security, a detail Kyl ought to be familiar with. As a political matter, it's hard to imagine the president making a concession like this to a right-wing senator, especially since it's at odds with what the administration is already doing.

Kyl added that the reason the federal government has not secured the border is that Democrats "don't want to do it." That's just dumb. The border wasn't "secured" during the Bush administration, and comprehensive immigration reform failed in Congress due to GOP opposition. Is that proof that the federal government has not secured the border because Republicans "don't want to do it"?

Kyl would do well to read Dennis Wagner's thoughtful piece in The Arizona Republic, which offered a serious, sober look at the political dispute when politicians say they want to "secure the border first," and "then talk about immigration reform."

Anyone with a minimal knowledge or understanding about the nearly 2,000-mile swath of land between Mexico and the United States realizes that requiring a secure border establishes an impossible standard. [...]

Here is another way to consider the problem: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a leader in the anti-immigration movement and acclaimed as America's toughest sheriff, cannot secure his own jails. Every year, despite armed guards, electronic locks and video monitors, inmates smuggle drugs in from the outside and sometimes even escape.

No one would blame Arpaio. All penal institutions, regardless of security measures, have breaches. Yet imagine if America adopted a position that no new laws could be passed regarding prison reform "until the nation's jails are secure."

Tom Barry, director of the Transborder Project at the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C., said the demand for a completely secure border is a ploy by those opposed to immigration reform to prevent new policies.

"No matter how much enforcement you have, there will always be people coming through," he said. "Since that is true, opponents to immigration reform will always be able to say the border is still not secure . . . and therefore we cannot pass immigration reform."

Kyl's dishonest demagoguery is shameful, and I suspect he knows that. It only reinforces what a disappointment he is as a Senate leader.

Steve Benen 1:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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It's the employers.

That's the only way to slow illegal immigration. Go after the employers with harsh fines and jail sentences. Focusing on the individual illegals does not work, you have to take away the jobs.

Posted by: thorin-1 on June 21, 2010 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Next thing you know, Kyl will tell his supporters that Obama admitted to him in a private meeting that he hates white people.

Posted by: Winkandanod on June 21, 2010 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Does Kyl have a tape? Until then just consider the source. He is a republican senator.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 21, 2010 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

If you were a Mexican and some large US agribusiness, in collusion with the corrupt Mexican government, bought your land and kicked you off it, land you had been farming and which had provided sustenance to your family for generations, what would you do?

I agree with Thorin's post that it's the employers who should be cracked down on. These poor immigrants are only trying to survive, after governments and corporations have raped them repeatedly for decades. The businesses who hire them because they are to greedy and cheap to pay an American citizen a decent wage are the root cause of the problem in my opinion.

Henry Ford was successful because he payed his employees enough in wages to where they could buy one of his cars. It's a damn shame Republican, trickle down economics has placed personal wealth, greed, and selfishness over doing the right hing for your people and your company.

Posted by: citizen_pain on June 21, 2010 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

And your COUNTRY... hell of a slip there... LOL

Posted by: citizen_pain on June 21, 2010 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Why didn't Pfeiffer just come out say "Kyl is LYING and he knows it..."? Why is it so hard for Democrats to just call it like it is? If they are lying, say they are lying. People understand it better that way. If you try to sugar-coat it by saying something like, "Well, that is not entirely true...", it makes it seem like it is not that big a deal or the lie is not completely a lie.

Dems need to take a lesson from Joe "YOU LIE" Wilson.

Posted by: mmw on June 21, 2010 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm. East Germany, with all the ruthlessness of a dictatorship, couldn't perfectly seal their 858-mile border, despite the use of land mines, tripwires and shoot-to-kill orders. Hundreds still made it through every year, despite the most extreme measures.

With a much longer border, and in a democracy that frowns on 'shoot-to-kill', something tells me that "sealing the border" just ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: thalarctos on June 21, 2010 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

When your party activists want to impeach a President just 'cause...you don't have to tell the truth. Any lie is fine if they want to believe it, facts be damned. It just has to fit their reality.

People still believe in Bigfoot and alien crop circles--even though the hoaxsters admitted it was a hoax and demonstrated how it was done.

You'll see this more in hard times--hence the republican push to kill job growth

Posted by: golack on June 21, 2010 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus F*&#ing Christ!!! This mortifies me even more than usual. Seriously. But the wrinkled people who support him WANT to believe... so they do.

Posted by: KurtRex1454 on June 21, 2010 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

By an interesting coincidence, Jon Kyl told me privately that the conservative base was made up of narrow-minded rubes willing to believe anything, no matter how patently false, as long as it flattered their prejudices. He tried to say more, but then Jim DeMint zipped up this gimp mask, so it came out all muffled.

Posted by: Master Mahan on June 21, 2010 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

You call that a lie?

Bush and Cheney Big Lied the U.S. into unleashing war.

Kyl is a piker.

Posted by: JL on June 21, 2010 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

What we're seeming now is a perverse Darwinian effect where the honest, productive illegal immigrants are rounded up and deported while the heavily armed drug runners and human trafickers have the open desert to themselves.

Arizona conservatives are feeling smug and righteous about how tough they're finally getting. But the state continues to suck.

Posted by: Aatos on June 21, 2010 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

No one would blame Arpaio.

The hell I wouldn't.

Anybody with a mouth that big, who also has the ethics of rattus rattus, should be held to the standards he claims to uphold.

:::grumbles::: Can't believe the sumbitch ain't been indicted yet...

Posted by: efgoldman on June 21, 2010 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

What a stupid column by Wagoner.
Millions of inmates do not escape Arpaio's jail but millions of illegals do cross our border and the Federal government keeps saying they are sending resources to the border and Arizona still has violent illegals killing US citizens or just kidnapping them for ransom.
Obama is continuing the Bush attitude toward illegals - does that mean that Steve will say that Bush was right on this issue? Again another instance of the progressive hypocrisy.

President Obama again fails the leadership test. Someone please save him from himself.

Posted by: Orwell on June 21, 2010 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

And once again Orwell lives up to his name by providing an example of dishonest discourse rather than a warning against it.

Do you really think controlling access in and out of a prison that has no more than (and usually a lot less than) a couple miles of fenced, well-lit, continuously monitored and heavily patrolled perimeter is even remotely comparable to the difficulty of controlling nearly 2000 miles of border, much of it in remote and rugged terrain?

As for your other claims, the best estimates in recent years are that about half a million people cross the U.S. Mexico border illegally each year. Both this number, and the crime rates in border areas are down significantly from earlier highs.

Posted by: tanstaafl on June 21, 2010 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Tea Bag Party are just haters not debaters or as others have dubbed them screamers not dreamers, with their failed attempts at stopping Healthcare reform, they say they respect the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence but they do not mind passing laws, through weak Governors (no one voted for this crazy) who only cares about getting elected Governor, on the backs of undocumented workers, that will not pass Constitution muster.

Brewer signed into law;

1. S.B. 1070,
2. No permit conceal weapons law,
3. The famous Birthers law,
4. Banning Ethnic studies law,

5. Could she be behind the Mural in Prescott, Arizona, ordered to be whiten,
6. On deck to pass, no citizenship to babies born to undocumented workers,

7. If she can read she should look up Arizonas House Bill 2779 from two years ago (which was un-constitution and failed when legally challenged),
8. The boycotted Martin Luther King Day, what idiots dont want another holiday? Yes, you guessed it Arizona.

Well Arizona, you can boycott new holidays and keep passing crazy laws and the rest of us will continue to challenged them in a court of law and continue to add cities to our Boycott of your state.

I real cannot believe anything that comes out of Brewers mouth, in an interview she first said her father had died in Germany fighting the Nazi in World War II (war ended 1945) but of course we find out the truth that father was never in Germany and died in California in 1955. But we are suppose to believe everything else she says, right! No one voted for you for Governor, yet you keep listening to the tiny brains of the crazies and signing into law everything that comes into their feeble minds, it only make you look dumb, stupid or racist, or maybe all three.

As for the Tea Bag Party, their phony patriotism is sickening; they are just racists going by another name. We all know you are just itching to put a sheet on their head? Lets face it the Republicans had eight years to deal with health care, immigration, energy (remember Cheneys secret meetings with oil companies where loosening regulation and oversight were sealed), climate change and financial oversight and governance and they failed. It appears that the Republican Party is only good at starting wars (two in eight years, with fat contracts to friends of Cheney/Bush) but not at winning wars as seen by the continuing line of body bags that keep coming home. The Republicans party will continue turned inward to their old fashion obstructionist party (and their Confederacy appreciation roots) because they continue to allow a small portions (but very loud portion) of their party of birthers, baggers and blowhards to rule their party. I will admit that this fringe is very good at playing Follow the Leader by listening to their dullard leaders, Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, OReilly, Rush, Savage, Sarah Bailin, Orly Taitz, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Blowhards and acting as ill programmed robots (they have already acted against doctors that perform abortions).

The Birthers and the Tea Bag party crowd think they can scare, intimidate and force others to go along with them by comments like This time we came unarmed, let me tell you something not all ex-military join the fringe militia crazies who dont pay taxes and run around with face paint in the parks playing commando, the majority are mature and understand that the world is more complicated and grey than the black and white that these simpleton make it out to be and that my friend is the point. The world is complicated and people like Hamilton, Lincoln, and Roosevelt believed that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now its about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. For a party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, it is tragic that the ranks are filled with too many empty suits and the crazy Birthers who have not learned that the way our courts work is that you get a competent lawyer, verifiable facts and present them to a judge, if the facts are real and not half baked internet lies, then, and only then, do you proceed to trial. The Birthers seem to be having a problem with their so called Internet facts. Lets face it no one will take the Birthers seriously until they win a case, but until then, you will continue to appear dumb, crazy or racist, or maybe all three. I heard that Orly Taitz now wants to investigate the Republican 2009 Summer of Love list: Assemblyman, Michael D. Duvall (CA), Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Stanford (SC), Board of Ed Chair, and Kristin Maguire AKA Bridget Keeney (SC), she wants to re-establish a family values party, that is like saying that the Catholic Church cares about the welling being of children in their care, too late for that. Yee Haw!

Posted by: Montana on June 21, 2010 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: cna training on June 22, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

It is odd that there has been this big spike in right wing idiocy coming out of Arizona though. Texas has a higher background level of crazy and right now Arizona is like a supernova taking the attention. I wonder how long it will last.

Actually it isnt that strange. Arizona has been moving gradually towards the middle over the last twenty years. The population has doubled in that time and a big part of that spike wasnt old retirees who tended to be conservative, but a lot of younger families moving from blue states, etc. In 2008 McCain only received 53.4% of the vote here in Arizona, his sixth lowest vote total among the states he won. Now think about that, his home state was one of his least supportive states. Had McCain been from Texas, Florida, etc., he likely would have lost Arizona.

This state has a long history of very conservative, often racist politics and the supporters of those policies arent happy that they are consistently losing ground to moderates and liberals (simply termed as liberals in their tirades). Because of how the state legislature is set up conservatives still have a major majority in both houses but, when Napolitano was governor, she vetoed a lot of their stupidity. In fact she set the record for vetoes in the history of the state. You take her away, bring in Brewer who is a wing-nuts wing-nut, and you see incredibly stupid legislation that was shut down by a reasonable governor make it out of the state house. At the same time you see an increase in non-conservative population as well as an increase in non-white population and the far white err, right is freaking out.

Posted by: Dogmeat on June 22, 2010 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK



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