Kyl v. Obama

Senator Kyl of Arizona said on Friday that President Obama told him that securing the border is a “problem” because “if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reforms.”  The White House denies the conversation took place according to Politico.

Stories like this annoy me.  It seems very likely that the White House would deny Kyl’s story whether it’s true or not, and is there any chance at all that either side is going to get the other side to concede that it’s their own guy who’s lying?  Any chance?  No.  And unless Senator Kyl has a secret recording of the conversation, which seems rather unlikely, it would usually be a safe bet we’d never know for sure one way or the other.  (For the record, senator, if you do have a recording, that would be awesome.)

Of course, the logic Kyl claims Obama put forth would make logical sense coming from the president, given his stated agenda, and would be compatible with the political strategy the president and his supporters have repeatedly endorsed: “You never want a serious crisis go to waste,” as Rahm Emmanuel puts it.  And I had to laugh when I saw that in the very sentence where he denies the White House is so eager to promote “comprehensive immigration reform” that it would undermine border security, Obama’s Communications Director… manages to cram in a plug for comprehensive immigration reform:

“There are more resources dedicated toward border security today than ever before, but, as the President has made clear, truly securing the border will require a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system,” [Dan] Pfeiffer said.

He couldn’t even wait and slip a period in there? 

In any case, notice Pfeiffer’s focus is on activity, not outcome.  He talks about resources spent, not about the results of that expenditure—because, of course, the border remain insecure.  Perhaps that’s a safe tack for the administration to take, since clearly a good number of the president’s supporters—legal and otherwise—don’t much want the borders secured, and I suspect a great many wouldn’t much care if he had to lie to keep them open.

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