Nick Anderson makes an interesting observation: There has been a constant drumroll from the right publicizing the idea that the border is open. Maybe that encouraged more people to try, despite the Obama administration’s publicity warning them that it was too dangerous and unlikely to succeed.
I’m not convinced either stands up to much scrutiny. Jonathan Blitzer, author of Everyone Who Is Gone Is Here, a new study of the crisis in Central America, was on NPR yesterday and said that even Trump’s closing of the border and shockingly cruel breakup of families did little to stop the flow of migrants.
The experience of the past three administrations suggests that it’s hard to dissuade desperate people from attempting to escape poverty, gang violence and other hazards of life in chaotic places. It does not seem that either reports of harsh punishment or rumors of wide-open borders have a lot of impact one way or the other.
Trump never really built his wall, of course, and what little he built was of minimal effect, while Mr. Art of the Deal didn’t get Mexico to pay for it. Biden did get a buy-in from Mexico, but Lopez-Obrador’s best contribution was the advice that we’d do better to improve life in Central America so people wouldn’t be so motivated to leave.
Which nobody appears to be acting on.
Mike Lester (AMS) joins with other conservatives in calling on Biden to close the border, and it’s true that Biden already has the power to do that by executive order, as Trump did.
But, first of all, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence that Trump’s closing of the border did much to reduce the numbers, and, second of all, Biden has promised to do that, as soon as he gets legislation that will back up that gesture with effective support.
And, BTW, you don’t have to be 81 or even 77 to remember when the Republicans were attacking Democratic presidents for issuing executive orders instead of piloting legislation through Congress.
We haven’t heard that objection in awhile. Perhaps someone showed them the numbers.
The columns are administrations, executive orders (as of 1/20/24), average per year and years in office, and you can trace it all back to George Washington here.
There is actual legislation coming to the floor of Congress, a bipartisan deal that would address the border, Israel and Ukraine, but, as John Buss points out, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson has already announced that the proposal is dead on arrival there.
Johnson has said that God speaks to him personally. Now, if your uncle Charley said that, you’d at least take away his car keys and consider getting him some professional help, but we know Johnson hears from Trump for sure and that Trump wants the border crisis to continue so he can campaign on it.
It’s not clear that supporters of Trump and Johnson see a distinction between talking to God and talking to Trump and, as I’ve noted before, it’s hard to write satire when the reality gets to this point.
Ruben Bolling manages somehow to satirize even the extremes we’re dealing with. His satire mostly consists of imagining that the speechmakers ever really had to see the human impact of their statements, rather than simply dealing with airy concepts.
And a technical note: He has the advantage of nine panels, which is as good as a John Oliver rant. Cartoonists whose formats limit them to one or even four panels are at a distinct disadvantage in the current world.
Juxtaposition of the Day
Goodwyn follows on the idea that Biden does not need laws passed in order to control the border, but depicting his sword as a balloon seems to counter his point. It’s certainly fair to say that blaming Republicans doesn’t solve the problem, but, then again, refusing to give him the legislation he needs does seem to leave him waving a pretty ineffectual sword.
Ramirez, meanwhile, joins a chorus of oppositional forces condemning a piece of legislation that had not been made public. Nor are editorial cartoonists alone in that.
Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) told Manu Raju what he thought about Republican legislators who opposed the bipartisan bill before it was released: “The height of stupidity is having a strong opinion on something you know nothing about,” he said, calling knee-jerk opposition a “dereliction of duty.”
And Bill Cassidy (R-LA) criticized Trump’s opposition to the proposed legislation. “It hasn’t been released. How does he know it’s a betrayal if he hasn’t read it? I mean, don’t be ignorant. Read the bill,” he said.
Well, now a 19-page summary of the bill has been made public, and people on both sides of the question can read it. Then we can have intelligent debate on the floor of Congress and piercing, accurate analysis on the editorial pages.
By the same people who never read even the Bill Barr edited version of the Mueller Report and who didn’t bother to crack open the Uvalde Report.
Asking legislators, columnists and editorial cartoonists to do their homework is like asking dog owners to scoop the poop: Those who will, already do. Those who don’t, won’t.
But they all get blamed for the results.
And another thing …
This time, Michael Ramirez (Creators) wasn’t jumping the gun, but still attacks Biden apparently over an insufficient Iran response, which includes a sustained series of targeted attack on Iran-backed terrorist locations. Strategies aside, his accusation seems a little homophobic or transphobic or misogynistic, no?
Perhaps Ramirez was out of the room the day W got macho with Saddam Hussein.
Clay Jones seems to remember our gallant war to end stability in the Middle East, and his response to Biden’s response invokes the labyrinth of potential disasters that had to be traced through in order to make an effective gesture without plunging the world into another major war, handing over the United States to a dictator or possibly both.
Jawad Morad, a Syrian Kurd cartooning from Belgium, suggests that the response is forcing a reluctant Iran to confront itself.
Ella Baron says the puppet master has gotten his fingers burned, while her title suggests that you may not need a major war to affect a change.
We’ve already tried that.