The national news media is quite impressed with tomorrow’s White House meeting between President Barack Obama and Arizona governor, Jan Brewer. A reporter called to ask me about the history of such meetings and if Brewer will be intimidated by the visit, bullied, as Alabama Governor George Wallace had been by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.
But there is a big difference. Sun Tzu taught that in any war, the moral advantage is the key. The people have to see themselves as morally right in order to win. It is a maxim that applies to politics as well. When Johnson met Wallace, the issue was integration and civil rights. The year before Lyndon Johnson had won election in a landslide, with one of the biggest voter plurality in American history. His opponent, Barry Goldwater, appealing to States Righter’s, had carried only six states. Democratic Governor, George Wallace, knew he was politically safe in his own state but a pariah in the rest of the country and the national media. Advantage? Johnson.
When Obama meets Brewer it will be much more balanced. Obama will have the national media arguing that he is morally right, that illegal immigrants, (presumably Hispanic, Democrat voting immigrants,) should be welcomed as citizens and any enforcement of immigration laws is racist.
80% of the American people disagree. Advantage? Brewer.
There has been a growing contempt for the corruption in the INS and the arbitrary enforcement of our immigration laws. My French born wife and I have been married for 21 years. We had three children. But it took 13 years to get her citizenship.
And the horror stories get worse. My French sister-in-law, in her twenties, seeking to come to the United States for medical treatment, with medical papers in hand and telephone numbers of her doctors and receipts showing that the work had been paid, was sent home on the next plane. She had all of the right documentation and had never violated a stay in the country. But the officers decided she had made too many trips to the USA. She died in France a few months later.
Nor will the system even approve legitimate Hispanics if they are legally in the pipeline. I guess they are too likely to vote Republican. I have a personal friend, Mexican, who graduated with a CPA from a prestigious university. He is doing charitable work that no one else can do in a difficult situation. By all of the government’s own rules he is a perfect candidate for citizenship. But no, the only citizens that the administration and the national media approve are those who have cheated to get here. People who play by the rules and get in line are suckers.
We now know from the Lyndon Johnson tapes that the greatest fear leading up to the meeting with George Wallace was how the governor would spin the event. Johnson the master politician won. And today the Intergovernmental Office in the White House is working overtime to make sure that Obama wins the spin on this meeting too. But Brewer will not be intimidated.
Remember, it is not what happens in the Oval Office that is significant. Neither politician will change their views. It is how each person interprets what happens in the meeting that matters. And it is what each says to the nation after the meeting that will be shown on the news.
Obama is the president and beloved by 80% of the national media. He will get the platform to say what he wants. And Brewer will only have “fair and balanced,” Fox News on hand to give her an unedited minute or two.
But when Governor Jan Brewer walks out of the White House to the microphones at the media stake out, just outside the West Wing Lobby, she will have an advantage that very few governors have ever had in a meeting at the White House. 80% of the American people are behind her. No sir, she will not be intimidated by Barack Obama and the demeaning security waits to see the president. But Barack Obama should indeed be intimidated by those gigantic numbers.