That was then, this is now

Obama’s goal now is to make clear to adults in Central America that there is no payoff for sending their children on the dangerous journey northward, said Cecilia Muñoz, the White House domestic policy director. “He feels intensely a responsibility to prevent an even greater humanitarian crisis,” she said.

That, however, means speeding the deportation of most of those who have already arrived, which many in Obama’s own party are resisting.

That is circa 2014, here is the full story.  I thank an MR reader for the pointer.


...why would any rational educated adult believe the words of any professional politician -- or expect politicians to be honest and consistent ?

The excerpt ends with within-party disagreement.

A pox on both houses is lazy.

This is the left and their media accomplices showing their true evil.

If both houses are pox-worthy, what's the alternative? Ask the Libertarian party how making a 3rd house is going....

True, though this particular case of inconsistentcy has been created by an electoral drubbing in '16 and a need to replace an entire caste of lost independents with obedient serfs from other countries, hence the amnesia.

Something about a man knowing he'll hang in the morning....or something.

Uhhhh – Democrats criticized Obama 4 years ago for doing policies vaguely reminiscent of what Trump is doing now? Who are you criticizing for being inconsistent?

As I recall, most liberals were critical of Obama's presidency in 2016, because they considered him two centrist, and though that a Hillary 'more of the same centralism' campaign was unsatisfactory – thus all the disappointment around how Bernie Sanders was treated.

So, it seems to me a willingness to criticize both Obama and Trump for a poor handling of this situation seems completely internally consistent.

+1, I don't really see the inconsistency.

Granted, the criticism was muted because Obama was "their" guy, but it was still there. That being said, it's also fair to point out that what Trump is doing isn't that different from what Obama was doing.

Not that any of this matters. Partisans are going to be partisans.

Republicans are going to praise Trump for doing things they would have criticized Obama for doing and Democrats are going to condemn Trump for doing things that Obama might have done. Most partisans are smart enough to avoid direct hypocrisy, but if they can find even a sliver of difference in the actions that will become the reason why "their" guys behavior was acceptable but the "other" guys behavior is deplorable.

This is exactly right.

Except that it's exactly wrong.

When are you idiots ever going to realize that Trump is not a Republican? That more than half of the Republican pundits hate the guy, and that they are called "Fredocons" for that reason? Are you even old enough to remember the 2016 primaries?

This kind of idiocy is why you chose the drunk lady in 2016, and is also why you are going to pick a loser in 2020. Sad!

If TPM disagrees with you, you know you're right.

I think the press' response is the inconsistent thing being criticized.

Sure, putting aside the wall, there are better conversations we could have about how to balance compassion and perverse incentives.

I understand that the most recent surge has been in Central American "family units," because they are perceived as having the best shot at internal release in the US.

Pay Mexico to host them pending asylum review?

And don't cut, expand efforts to develop Central American economic opportunities.

"...expand efforts to develop Central American economic opportunities."

Theoney will be stolen by thugs at every level. Even if it wasn't, it would make difference.

Sh*thole countries are that way for a reason.

The money would be stolen by thugs ...even if it wasn't, it would make NO difference.

Know your gapminder. Worldwide progress is a thing.$state$time$value=2018;;&chart-type=bubbles

Expand efforts to expand economic opportunities in Central America? Well, we had the Caribbean Basin Initiative during the 1980s and now we have the Central America Free Trade Agreement (+ The Dominican Republic). What more can we do?

Talk about solving for the equilibrium. You're advocating international income redistribution and a bribe for obeying our laws. Landmines would be cheaper, more effective, and incentive compatible.

I am saying run the math. Maybe a few million in programs stops migration like a few billion in walls.

'Maybe' is doing a hell of a lot of work there.

No, the offer to respect a study is doing the work there. Rather than gut emotions:

Why not both?

Knowing the can't get through a wall is a powerful disincentive. Knowing they'll be sent back when caught is also good. The status quo is insane.

5 billion is 11 hours of government spending. The benefits will easily pay for that. I'm unconcerned about the costs.

The reality is that the Dems already won at 5 billion. Which makes one ask: why not go along to get along. It isn't like a 5 billion wall will change the status quo. This is about ideological lines in the sand and that's bad for moderates but good for accelerationists because it beckons the return to politics.

$5 billion can go a long way when Trump is in charge- I understand that he used to dabble in construction.

The other, largely unremarked benefit, is that a government shutdown is being shown to be eminently survivable. I've noticed that the usual "woe is us" is not really gaining traction on our local news outlets who get their national news feed from CNN and ABC.

Must be parody, considering the number of wrecked projects, bankruptcies, and stiffed contractors Trump left in his wake.

Good one.

In which the people who have been trying to cut 450 million dollars from NPR for the last 20 years suddenly say 5 billion?


We could buy some landmines from Brazil. Thiago Ribeiro tells us that Brazil's are top notch, not cheap Chinese junk.

Extend NAFTA to include Central America, as Reagan and both Bushes wanted.

Obama had as lot of skepticism abut the immigration agenda. I remember he publicly pointed out to Nancy that you cannot get a million new voters from central America in the four months before the election. He said they just end up in California, which already voted the venezuelan policy.

Obama had this habit of pointing out the bzonker policies in his own party.

Obama was (a) incredibly cautious, (b) very far left, and (c) verbally facile. So he had a habit of (a) not immediately implementing items on the far left agenda, (b) implementing them in the end, and (c) articulating eloquent rationales for not implementing them, until he did.

I wonder what kind of bubble you have to live in to consider Obama as "very far left."

Obama was right on some issues and far left on others. Clearly on economic issues, Obama was more moderate than Bernie and Hillary and less moderate than Bill Clinton. Regarding his signature health care policies, I get the impression that he led the political efforts of getting them passed, but wasn't really deeply involved in the policies themselves, which is normal for politicians.

On immigration, Obama was very moderate, even restrictionist on immigration and then reluctantly lurched to the left with pressure from his own party. I suspect Angela Merkel was similar in that she started off being very restrictionist on immigration and then was backed up against the wall, and saw an opportunity to completely reverse course, and took it. Bernie Sanders also fully supported borders and enforcement and nation states until he realized the current left base won't tolerate that.

Obama did seem genuinely radical on race. He facilitated Black Lives Matters, for example, which I don't see as moderate. He accused the US justice system of being institutionally racist. He pushed racial angles in education policy and housing policy which isn't moderate. Reading his autobiography and reading about Jeremiah Wright and "Black Liberation Theology" I really don't consider that as moderate. His entire early career was aimed at being a black racial activist and he pivoted to being a more moderate to become senator and again for his Presidential run.

"Obama was (a) incredibly cautious, (b) very far left,"

Obama wasn't any more "far left" than Trump is "far right". Howard Dean, Bernie Sanders & Dennis Kucinich were all clearly to the Left of Obama and they were all major Democratic candidates.

Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo were all clearly to the Right of Trump.

It's common partisanship to claim that the current or previous leader of the opposition was an extremist, but that isn't the way American democracy usually functions.

You are killing it in this thread.

All the top leaders were pro wall back then too. Newsflash...Dems are hypocrites.

I looked into the voting records back in 2016, when everyone was starting in on this wall thing. Obama and Hilary both voted for the wall. In fact, a lot of Democrats did.

To now cry out that it's a moral travesty is logical only in the minds of politicians.

"Newsflash...Dems, Reps, and their partisans like TMC are hypocrites."

FIFY, you're welcome

Hey is this peak Hillary Centrism, Mother Jones advocating to build the wall as long as its woke:

"If There’s Going to Be a Wall, Let It Be This Collaboration Between American and Mexican Designers"

Oh yeah, that one time when Obama said we should build a giant wall across the entire Mexican border! I remember that! Very much hypocrite, many shame!

Obama's public statements were meant for the consumption of the small percentage of voters who decide elections. No one else, on either side, believed him. The gay community certainly never bought his defense of marriage statements. The Left knows they cant with national elections without pretending to be less socialist than they really are.

Wrong, they are winning more elections by being more socialist. Haven't you seen the noise coming from the pro-AOC people here? Trump will reduce free trade and immigration while the socialists will raise taxes and pass more regulations. Together Trump populists and anti-Trump socialists will box up all of America's creative entrepreneurial energy. Meanwhile Marxist China will surpass all.

"Wrong, they are winning more elections by being more socialist. "

The election that was going to be won by a Democrat regardless?

Yeah...that's not really compelling, is it?

'Haven't you seen the noise coming from the pro-AOC people here?'

Person, people? - who is actually counting, at least when one feels morally correct.

Where is the "That was then, this is now"-ness? Even in the section you quoted, it notes that the actual Democratic party was resisting his efforts, just as they do now with Trump.

In other words, Obama was going against his own party, as he did on so many things in the name of bipartisanship and centrism, not that it ever got him any credit with the other side.

That may indicate that Obama personally has changed, if indeed he has on the issue, but Democrats more broadly haven't.

Perhaps it's referring to WaPo's reporting.

Thanks for this, couldn't agree more.

Democrats criticized Obama for his treatment of the situation (regardless of what is motives were), just as they are doing with Trump now. At the time, most people were displeased with Obama for being too centrist on a number of fronts, and that is why Bernie Sanders was seen as a refreshing relative to Hillary's "more centrism" platform.

I think the newly positive perception of Obama in 2019 relative to 2016 is the main thing that has changed among liberals (and more of the population as a whole). But also note, the historical perception of George W Bush is also improving. I wonder what could be driving these perceptions among both liberals and conservatives?

"Democrats criticized Obama for his treatment of the situation (regardless of what is motives were), just as they are doing with Trump now."

LOL. There was some criticism from Obama from the left at the time (and a lot more after the fact Monday morning quarterbacking criticism from the burgeoning McGovernite far left since) , but there have been multiple instances of the Internet losing its mind over pictures and accounts PROVING Trump was a heartless racist and white supremacist that it later transpired had occurred under Obama (not a peep at the time).

So, on the issue, there is a split in the Democratic Party, and there has been a clear lurch to the left in the past couple years. Obama was, above all, an OUTSIDER. He saw himself as a broker. He was a good politician and a good President. He also enjoyed kid gloves like no President ever will again, I don't think.

And now the far left is washing their hands of him, just as they are now horrified by Bill Clinton.

Solid comment. The next Dem might get the same love from most of the press though too. I could see them fawning over Beto for example.

How do you think the press would have responded if Obama threatened to declare a state of emergency, as a means of usurping budgetary power from an opposition House?

Negatively, but not nearly as bad as they would respond to Trump doing the same thing. Because Obama was a generally good person and a good president, and Trump is neither.


Why argue hypotheticals when I already mentioned actual things that were done by the Obama administration that attracted little comment until Trump was President, at which time they were attributed to Trump and used as proof of his racism?

I don't think it was even the case that "Democrats" criticized Obama for this, so much as immigration activists, humanitarian groups, and die-hard "borders are imaginary" Ezra Klein-style liberals launched into him over it, which at the time was a small but highly vocal minority of the Democratic coalition. That group is still a minority, but they're larger, louder, and have more people in Congress who share those views such that more establishment Dems like Pelosi and Schumer have to at least demonstrate that they will try to advocate for them.

The SJW activist segment (that 9-14%) tends increasingly to speak for the whole left, much more than left opinion has shifted.

We might have expected that the Trump victory might lead to a bit of shift to the centre, or reconfirm their centrist credentials, but that's obviously not what's happening at all.

How can one insist the border remain open, incentivizing people to journey across deserts, and then complain that people are dying in those deserts?

If one refuses to fund immigration controls at the border and thus allow tens of thousands to cross every month, why fund immigration control at airports?

Public/political IQ must be dropping fast because almost nothing makes sense these days.

According to the WH, in the last three months about 2,000 people a day are crossing the border.

Why is this less of a concern than if 2,000 foreigners a day were arriving at airports and simply walking out into the street?

Who is insisting the border "remain open?" You mean we aren't currently spending billions and billions and billions on the Mexican border?

Border crossings are not at any crisis level. In fact, net illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America is less than zero.

"net illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America is less than zero."

LOL, that's some blatant cherry picking.

In other cherry picked news, Nobody in the US was killed by acts of gun violence involving heavy machine guns in the entire year of 2019!

How is it cherry picking? Isn't the whole point of a wall to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America?

The usual trick is to cite stats that the illegal immigrant population of Mexican origin and citizenship is shrinking, which gives the false impression that no illegal immigrants are coming in from the Mexican border. But the hidden fact is most illegal immigrants coming into the US from the Mexican border are not of Mexican origin and are coming from elsewhere. Right now, AFAIK, it's mostly migrants of Central + South American origin. But there are growing migrant streams from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa who are learning that the best way to get into the US is via the Mexican border.

I would rather America not turn into Mexico. Send all the illegals back and build the wall. Obama was right and Trump is right.

In 2014, the Democrats were heavy into declaring we had to let in "unaccompanied minors." That was pretty self-evidently stupid, though, so in 2018 they got into promoting letting in "families."

Trump has abandoned any serious attempt at reducing migration in favor of an idiotic wall. It is perfectly consistent to oppose illegal immigration and oppose Trump at this point.

Everybody keeps telling me that a wall is stupid and ineffective. It may be, and you may have some specific expertise, but it baffles me how some of the people who have said this to me think they know. Just build the thing. Worst case, we wasted a little money.

This is absurd. If you want to limit migration into the US, you want a better physical barrier. There are parts of the US border with Mexico that are presently very easy to physically enter. Of course that's not everything, you still want to close various legal loopholes and prevent VISA overstays, and end birthright citizenship, which are all avenues that the Trump Administration is pursuing.

So, the problem is people who think "here's the salt honey" and "are you disabled? here's the salt lazy idiot" is the same. After all, you passed the salt in the table, actions matter..........oh wait, it's politics . Words are not only important, the way you present something is as important as the thing you present.

You are a little late to the party, TC. Rush has been playing a montage of Schumer, Pelosi and Obama insisting that we need a wall. Trump has picked up on it, too.

The Democrats know that a wall will be effective in slowing illegal immigration to a trickle and they desperately need those undocumented Democrat voters.

I remember when conservatives denied that Obama had overseen a record number of deportations, calling it a fabrication. I wonder why now all of a sudden conservatives are changing their tune and embracing a claim stretching back a decade.

That's an excellent point! Obama was in favor of deportations long before Trump showed up. Trump is just an Obama wanna be. He'll never manage to hit the numbers that Obama racked up.

ODS was a thing, obviously. Every President since Reagan has deranged a portion of the opposition.

Is there a single conservative agreeing with the claim pre-2016? Or were they all to a man deranged?

This is my all-time favorite: we HAVE to let all immigrants (criminals or not) come to the USA legally or illegally because we are the cause of their migration.
A typical Leftist inane shaming tactic based on Marxist-Leninist drivel.
BTW economic migrants have zero right to employment in the US. And asylum seekers must seek asylum in the first country---not cherry pick the welfare system.
Thanks to Leftist vote-seeking demagogues the immigration issue has been totally obfuscated.

Slate Star Codex has a series of blog posts about this sort of thing. The stuff that everyone gets worked up about Trump saying is stuff that's very similar to what mainstream Democrats and Republicans have been saying for about a generation. If it wasn't Trump saying it, this stuff wouldn't be controversial--as evidenced by the fact that it wasn't controversial when Clinton, the Bushes, or anyone else said it. Quite literally the only reason any of these comments are getting any attention is the source, NOT the content.

That's not to say that I support Trump. I consider him very, very dangerous, and the author of that blog does as well. What makes him more dangerous is that people are consistently ignoring the real issues.

I think that's wrong. Actually, it's exactly like the other side complaining about people enabling Trump (or Brexit). Professional politicians may say things for a generation, then it can suddenly turn out many or most people disagree.

I'm assuming you are referring to

I think it is important to note his point 5
"Fifth, maybe Trump has shifted the goalposts. Maybe identifying as anti-illegal-immigrant before Trump just meant you thought there should be a little better border control, but now you think it means you want a wall and mass deportations, plus you think all Mexicans are rapists. If you felt like the anti-illegal-immigrant cause was getting more extreme, but your positions stayed the same, then you might stop identifying as anti-illegal-immigrant."

In particular since the wall has become mostly symbolic building it now is not the same as building it in the 2000s.

It looks like Democrats opposed it then under their president and opposed it now under a different president. Or?

Maybe this isn't the right post to ask the question, but what exactly qualifies as illegal immigration in the context of the wall? Just the image of people discreetly crossing over a geographic border? Does it include people coming over on student or work visas and overstaying? Are there any other categories? What is the ratio between the different scenarios and depending on which one is the majority, does that sway anyone more towards or away from a physical border wall? Do illegal drugs cover over the border in areas that would otherwise be hampered by a wall? Or do they come in through incredibly intricate methods shipping, bribing, and obfuscation through regular ports of entry? How do you really measure the number of criminals crossing the border, or more specifically, the southern border? What qualifies as a criminal in this scenario? How much private property does the wall cross over? Are we talking eminent domain from California to the Gulf? What happens to the land if the wall is inset from the actual border? Does the owner have access to that land? Do they have to go through a checkpoint to get to their land on the other side of the wall? Squatter rights to any interstitial land between the wall and the border? How to you quantify or qualify the affect of illegal immigration on the country? How is it a problem for a non-elitest person living fairly close to a city? How is it a problem for a town right on the border who may or may not have something like a sister city thing going with a Mexican city? What are the current immigration rates coming into the United States relative to the last few presidents? What is the term for picking up a person en route or in the middle of illegally crossing the border? What is current the rate of the aforementioned term relative to past presidents?

Wow, unconstitutional fascism alert:

WH official: POTUS to send letter to Congress Monday for likely more than $2B in emergency funds for flood of undocumented at border.

-Jim Acosta, CNN personality, 29 Jun 2014

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