Twin Disasters

The strange attitude of the administration to immigration and debt.

by Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

The Wages of Multiculturalism

How strange that the president of Mexico, while a guest on the lawn of the White House, would attack the laws of a U.S. state, while his own country’s immigration laws and policies in relation to Central America have never approached American tolerance. It is unimaginable that an American president would ever travel to Mexico City and lecture that nation and its president on its treatment of both aliens from Latin America and American tourists. But, as President Obama reminded us, “we are not defined by our borders” — although apparently a million Mexican nationals a year disagree and so risk everything to be on the north rather than the south side of a supposedly imaginary line. That is the truth that we dare not speak.

We Are Getting the Message

The latest about Mr. Posner and the moral equivalence between Arizona’s enforcement of federal immigration law and human-rights violations in China (even leaving aside the multi-million body count of its past Communist leaders) reminds us why Obama will have trouble getting back to an approval rating higher than 50 percent.

Let’s assume that he can more or less act presidential, keep a low profile, and avoid controversy, hoping that the people will continue to like him personally and will see him in control during mini-crises. Even so, there are so many polarizing figures in his cabinet, drawn from the extremes of the Democratic party, that at least one of them can go off on almost any given day: If not a Van Jones or an Anita Dunn, then a Michael Posner — if not praise of Chairman Mao, then throwing Arizona under the bus to the Chinese delegation.

Arizona was emblematic — once the new law was deemed illiberal by fiat, no one in the administration deigned to actually read the statute, but all in lockstep felt an urge to caricature it, as proof of their own progressive fides.

In other words, Obama has populated his administration with more presentable versions of the Bill Ayers/Rev. Wright culture of Chicago, in which casual deprecation of the U.S. is almost de rigueur and second nature — hence the surprise of these wounded fawns when others are taken aback at their casual musings. It has now been three years of “downright mean country,” “cling to guns or religion,” and “spread the wealth,” and these statements are starting to add up. We get the message — already.

Is Anyone Sane in Washington?

Given that Greece has fallen off a cliff and much of southern Europe is on the brink, it makes no sense at all for the president to propose even more borrowing for cap-and-trade, or for further utopian proposals on the European model. Given the massive deficits incurred these last two fiscal years, we have already lost much of our diplomatic leverage overseas (as the secretary of state has noted), not to mention any moral credibility in admonishing Europe to rein in its profligate spending.

What is surreal is that, having been given the great didactic gift of seeing the Europeans go off the cliff ahead of us, this administration has hit the accelerator, not the brakes — almost as if it wishes to beat Europe into the abyss.

I can’t think of any time in recent history when an entire array of tax increases — at the state and local levels, in the income tax rates, in new healthcare charges, and in changes to payroll-tax caps to come — has not merely had no effect in reducing the deficit, but has coincided with ever more spiraling debt.

©2010 Victor Davis Hanson

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