Published April 22, 2013
Identity Politics Boo Boo in Boston
“I don’t argue with fools who say islam is terrorism it’s not worth a thing, let an idiot remain an idiot”
-- Jan. 15 Tweet from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, now in custody as a suspect in the April 15 terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon.
Here’s some awful irony for those who wished that the Boston bomber would turn out to be a “white American”: The suspect in custody is a Caucasian and an American citizen.
But that’s not exactly what they meant, was it?
Yes, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pallid, and yes he is American. But the wishful thinking at Salon and other outlets was really that those responsible be natural-born citizens of European descent, probably preferably Christian and anti-government in ideology.
That the suspects in the bombing are or were Muslim and immigrants from a hotbed of Islamist militancy kind of negates the whole “white privilege” thing as it relates to the concentration of melanin in their skin.
While conservatives argue whether Tsarnaev deserves the constitutional rights due him as a citizen or whether to treat him as a soldier in the global jihad, liberals are having a tougher go of it.
The ethnic and religious background of the suspects in the case make it harder to argue for legislation in favor of increased immigration or for curbs on firearm ownership than would have been the case if David Sirota’s ideal militiaman had been the culprit.
But in addition, liberal hopes that President Obama would ease his global air war on Islamists, close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay and further speed the withdrawal from Afghanistan have suffered a setback given the affiliations of the suspects.
Sequestration Hammer About to Drop
"The Federal Aviation Administration plans to furlough air traffic controllers starting Sunday, which the agency predicts could cause extensive ground delays ranging from 50 minutes to two hours and a reduction in flight arrivals of 30% to 40% at certain airports."
-- Warning to customers from Alaska Airlines about traveling this week.
Republicans have been having lots of fun guffawing at President Obama’s sequestration scare tactics. The laughter is about to die down.
Because of federal employment laws, the most disruptive part of the automatic decreases to automatic increases in federal spending couldn’t take place right away. But the furloughs of federal workers – what looks like 14 work days out of the next five months for many employees – will begin today.
Payback is going to be brutal for those who declared the Obama scare tactics a joke, as agency bosses will be making taxpayers feel the burn by disrupting core operations in order to meet budget constraints.
Once the airport lines do back up and government customer service drops from abysmal to horrid, who will get the blame?
All are culpable, since the president has twice signed off on the reductions and both houses of Congress have twice passed them.
Democrats are betting that as budget negotiations grind on through the summer, Americans denied bison interactions at Yellowstone or told to wait for their Medicare claims to be processed will have lost their taste for austerity.
Republicans are betting that Obama will end up looking like a nincompoop who can’t manage the federal government with even modest reductions.
Power Play bets that both of them will be right.
Forecast: Immigration Activism
“We’re hosting a major Day of Action the first week of May, and we want your help in getting people to be a part of it.”
-- Email from Emmy Ruiz, immigration campaign manager of Organizing for Action, urging supporters to help President Obama push immigration legislation through Congress.
Having proved ineffective on gun control, President Obama’s permanent campaign organization is getting ready to flex its muscle on pending immigration legislation. A second whiff might prove fatal to the big-money, big-influence dreams of Team Obama for the president’s personal national committee.
The reality, though, is that every “day of action” march and protest will make the legislation harder to pass.
Seeing thousands in the streets demanding the fast-track legalization sought by the president will make liberal activists feel less willing to compromise and will make conservative activists more anxious about getting hoodwinked.
When the banners of Cesar Chavez go aloft, Marco Rubio’s job will only get harder. And if the president himself hits the campaign trail on behalf of the bill, Republicans will become only more suspicious about getting rolled.
And since Democrats believe that they will politically benefit by keeping the issue alive, any revolt on the right will be matched by a revolt on the left. That dynamic, combined with fresh worries about foreign-born terrorists, will make the path for the “Gang of Eight” that much steeper.
Payday for Team Obama
“It’s not like it happens by accident.”
-- A former Obama administration official talking to liberal magazine New Republic about why the president mentioned German corporation Siemens in his State of the Union address. Siemens recently hired the first lady’s former communications director to be the company’s vice-president of corporate affairs.
Noam Scheiber takes a look at the pursuits of Obama alumni and finds that while the former (and some current) members of the president’s team are trying to keep it “classy,” the same old second-term gold rush is well underway.
While being a registered lobbyist is still taboo for those who once promised to change Washington, it’s totally cool to sell one’s advice to those who lobby the president, go to work for a huge company doing business with the government or solicit donations from billionaires with a promise of presidential access.
However proud Obama alumni are about their style of buck raking, even hipsterish influence pedaling is still influence pedaling. Ride a Vespa or take a Town Car, it’s still K Street.