There was a recent Republican rodeo not 5 miles from the Mexico border: The most stalwart members of the House Homeland Security Committee and Texas Gov. Rick Perry staged a field hearing in McAllen, Texas, with the immigration crisis and the fates of thousands of hopeful but illegal young immigrants at the top of their agenda. They pined for a presidential visit — and still do.
President Obama is departing for the region Tuesday. But there’s no listening tour or fact-finding mission. He’ll be in fundraising mode, bound for Denver, then on to Dallas and Austin for a quartet of private moneymaker events for the Democratic Party that feature things like upscale barbecue and movie stars. No, really. Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez will serve as host in the Texas capital, with Hollywood beauties Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and Demi Lovato among the guests. The White House essentially says senior officials have already visited the border region, and that Mr. Obama is aware of all the border complexities already. The fundraising will go on. Period.
“We’re not worried about those optics,” press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.
“It’s easy in one sense to see why President Obama might prefer to stay away rather than to come and learn and listen for himself, particularly in light of the sad stories that he’s going to hear — or he would hear if he decided to come,” says Sen. John Cornyn.
“I think the problem speaks for itself when the president, who would prefer to hang out with campaign donors and other political supporters, would decide not to have any interaction with those that are directly affected by his failed policies — in this case the failed immigration policies that led to a full-blown humanitarian crisis,” the Texas Republican adds.
“The next time the president wants to lecture Republicans on immigration, he should instead reflect on his habit of politicizing the humanitarian and border crisis occurring on the U.S.-Mexico border while prioritizing money and politics when he has a chance to do his job,” says Republican National Committee spokeswoman Izzy Santa. “But honestly, the president’s action is fitting. After all, he did promise immigration reform within his first year in office and didn’t do anything.”
“Some in Congress have proposed ‘national concealed carry reciprocity’ legislation, which would create a new federal mandate forcing every state to recognize concealed carry permits from every other state, no matter how lax a state’s laws are. Do you oppose national concealed carry reciprocity, which would overturn state public safety laws and replace them with a lowest-common denominator standard.”
“In fact, the current penalty for gun trafficking is the same as for trafficking chickens across state lines. Do you support legislation that would create a strong federal gun trafficking statute with serious penalties?”
“Do you support limits on the capacity of ammunition magazines?”
— Three of the 10 questions to be posed to all federal candidates for office this year, by Everytown for Gun Safety, the activist group funded by Michael R. Bloomberg. The organization intends to get all candidates “on the record” in time for the midterm elections.
TAKING AIM, PART 2
“Yes, if only Chicago had more gun control laws. That must be what’s missing there.”
— National Rifle Association radio host and columnist Cam Edwards, reacting to news of 82 shootings in Chicago during the July Fourth holiday weekend; the number included 14 fatalities.
‘NEEDS A PUNCH OF REALITY’