Thoughts from Peggy Noonan:
The president of course has rushed to the scene—to go, as always, to fundraisers. This is at the moment a scandal, but why? Clever people say it’s an unforced error. He has to show he cares! He ought to journey to an overwhelmed border area, stand there and point to the middle distance as a local official in a hopefully picturesque hat briefs him. It’s almost touching how much the press wants to see this. But why? Why do they want to see the president enact a degree of alarm he clearly does not feel?
For a quarter-century I have been puzzled by the press’s emphasis on “optics,” their stupid word—actually it is a consultants’ word they’ve lamely adopted—for how things look as opposed to how they are. Their criticism comes down to a complaint they’re not being manipulated well enough. It is a strange complaint.
Give the president points for honesty. He doesn’t want to enact an “I care and am aware” photo-op. He will pay a political price, but it is clearly a price he is willing to pay. He never has to face a voter again.
…There is every sign he let the crisis on the border build to put heat on Republicans and make them pass his idea of good immigration reform. It would be “comprehensive,” meaning huge, impenetrable and probably full of mischief. His base wants it. It would no doubt benefit the Democratic Party in the long term.
The little children in great danger, holding hands, staring blankly ahead, are pawns in a larger game. That game is run by adults. How cold do you have to be to use children in this way?
Actually, I think it’s charitable to call these people “adults.”
I’ve always thought that the notion that it’s the president’s responsibility to show up at a disaster and feel peoples pain was stupid, and part of the infantilization of the nation. I think it started when the media bashed the first Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Andrew, then Bill Clinton showed up to feel our pain, when he wasn’t feeling up women. But this isn’t a natural disaster — it’s one of the president’s own making. Standing on the Rio Grande and announcing that all kids being sent in the future will be returned to their nation of birth would send a powerful message, but it’s not one that his base wants to hear, so it won’t happen.
By the way, has Peggy ever apologized for her own role in foisting this incompetent malignancy on us six years ago?