If, indeed, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines", then consider the Obama administration, which comes into power trying to fit a cloistered far-left political template on big real-world problems — complex issues that defy easy answers.
Let’s think about two such issues this morning — the war on terror and illegal immigration.
On the terror front, the Obama template seems to demand we strike a more conciliatory pose for the world — bow to enough enemies, say we’re sorry in foreign countries and refuse to speak the words "radical Islam" or "war on terror" and all this unpleasantness will somehow lessen, then stop. People will respect us, instead of try to detonate a bomb in their underwear in a plane over Detroit.
The template also calls for closing secure prisoner-of-war facilities like GITMO, then moving terrorists to U.S. soil where trials can be held in federal court. The more we can treat terrorists not as enemy combatants, but as common criminals, the better off we’ll be, the template goes.
It is a wrongheaded premise that has made us less safe, not more safe.
Another case in point: The Arizona immigration law controversy where the liberal template of the Obama administration on illegal immigration simply does not fit reality.
The Arizona border is broken. Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans stream into the state and the country causing cascading law-enforcement and social problems. The liberal template does not provide for a secure border or for aggressive enforcement of immigration laws. It demands a utopia in which the border doesn’t really matter much. What matters is "immigration reform" that translates into amnesty coupled with work programs and eventual citizenship.
It’s a pretty idea. It just won’t work no matter how hard you try to make that template fix the hard realities of illegal immigration.
So, Arizona in an attempt to get the federal government to take it’s own laws seriously, passed a law that mirrors the federal immigration law. The president ignorantly criticized the law, saying the new law would lead to racial profiling. His words heated up the racial divide in this country. Holder followed suit and said he may sue the state.
Then, Holder — in a stunning admission that I suspect is also applicable to the president and most in the Obama administration — said he had not even read the Arizona law before making those statements.
He simply applied the administration’s liberal template to the issue.
But probably the strangest application of this hobgoblin of consistency came when U.S./China talks recently about human rights abuses. Consider this exchange with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Poser:
QUESTION: Was there any areas in which China sort of turned the tables and raised its own complaints or concerns about U.S. practices around the globe or at home? Can you give some examples there –
ASSISTANT SECRETARY POSNER: Sure. You know, I think – again, this goes back to Ambassador Huntsman’s comment. Part of a mature relationship is that you have an open discussion where you not only raise the other guy’s problems, but you raise your own, and you have a discussion about it. We did plenty of that. We had experts from the U.S. side, for example, yesterday, talking about treatment of Muslim Americans in an immigration context. We had a discussion of racial discrimination. We had a back-and-forth about how each of our societies are dealing with those sorts of questions. …
QUESTION: Did the recently passed Arizona immigration law come up? And, if so, did they bring it up or did you bring it up?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY POSNER: We brought it up early and often. It was mentioned in the first session, and as a troubling trend in our society and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination, and that these are issues very much being debated in our own society.
What? Is this a joke?
To somehow equate the Arizona law to a human rights violation not only condemns American immigration policy for the last 50 years, it shows how silly templates can become when blindly applied to difficult problems. To remain consistent with the notion that Arizona has enacted a law that "could lead to the" racial profiling of American citizens — 100 percent untrue, by the way — the Obama crew now elevates the myth to the status of a human rights violation.
Look, being president of the United States and governing the people of this great nation requires wisdom. We need the president to start exhibiting a little more of it. This far-left template of foolish consistency on terrorism and illegal immigration not only doesn’t cut it, it’s downright dangerous.