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Immigration politics: A double dose of double standards

By Scott Tibbs, July 25, 2014

One of the things that makes people get fed up with politics is the mindless partisanship, to the point that political actors will change their positions on issues if it benefits their party or harms the other party. We are seeing this right now with the debate over whether President Obama should visit the southern border of these United States in relation to minors coming in from Central America. Both parties - including Obama - have been hypocrites here.

A decade ago, President Bush was blasted by Democrats for only flying over the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Republicans rightly argued that Bush going to New Orleans would only have served to be disruptive. All of the security needed to protect the President would have been a hindrance on disaster relief efforts. In the same way, Obama going to the border today would only serve as a hindrance to taking care of immigrant minors being detained.

Republicans, seeing an opportunity to damage Obama (and to get some payback for the attacks on Bush in 2005) have abandoned their pragmatic principle and are blasting Obama for not going to the border. Democrats, meanwhile, are defending Obama for being pragmatic in a reversal of their attacks on Bush after Katrina. Average Americans see this transparent hypocrisy from both parties and shake their heads in frustration.

It is either a good idea for the President to go to the scene of a humanitarian crisis, or it is not. (It is a bad idea.) Whether it is a good idea or a bad idea does not depend on which party controls the White House and which party can score some political points. Voters are smarty enough to know when sincere arguments are being made and when the only reason behind a policy position is partisan politics - especially when the people making the arguments were taking the exact opposite stance ten years earlier. Let's end this silliness and be serious.