On Friday, Barack Obama traveled to Mexico and told the Mexican people that America is responsible for their country’s gun violence and drug cartel problems, stumped for his immigration reform agenda, and thanked Hispanics for electing him – all the while criticizing America’s attitude toward Mexico.
He opened with typical diplomatic niceties (including a laugh line in which he labeled daughter Malia “smarter than me,” which could be possible if he doesn’t know how to properly use “me” vs. “I”). Then he moved on to the substance. First, he did his usual routine in which he explained that America and Mexico had a history of misunderstanding that required an American mental groundshift: “Some Americans only see the Mexico depicted in sensational headlines of violence and border crossings …. I have come to Mexico because it is time to put old mindsets aside. It’s time to recognize new realities, including the impressive progress in today’s Mexico.”
Then he got to the United States, and how the ills of Mexico are largely our fault. “In the United States, we recognize our responsibilities as well. We understand that the root cause of much of the violence here–and so much suffering for many Mexicans– is the demand for illegal drugs, including in the United States,” Obama said. Never mind that it is Mexico’s job to patrol its own cartels, just as the United States must patrol domestic crime. Never mind that the current president of Mexico, Penã Nieto, has been utterly ineffective against the drug cartels, and many have accused Penã of “shifting priorities” from policing the cartels toward treating crime as a law enforcement issue when it occurs. Only 37% of Mexicans now believe the war on drug cartels is going well. Penã’s party has longstanding ties with the cartels.
But Obama wasn’t done yet. He added that Mexico’s violence problem stems from American guns:
We recognize that most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States. In America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms, and as President I swore an oath to uphold that right–and I always will. At the same time, as I’ve said back home, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common sense gun reforms that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people–reforms that will save lives in both our countries. Meanwhile, we’ll keep increasing the pressure on the gun traffickers who bring illegal guns into Mexico, and we’ll keep putting these criminals where they belong–behind bars.
This is the same administration that greenlit a program to sell guns to straw dealers so that they could make their way south of the border, then be turned against American border patrol agents in Operation Fast and Furious.
Then Obama suggested that Americans have not treated Mexicans with “dignity and respect,” and that we must “recognize our responsibility” to do so, including “recognizing how the United States has been strengthened by the extraordinary contributions of immigrants from Mexico and by Americans of Mexican heritage …. Indeed, without the strong support of Hispanics, including so many Mexican Americans, I would not be standing before you today as President of the United States.”
Obama stumped for immigration reform. Abroad. Among people who can’t vote on immigration reform, or be represented in Congress, and whose government has routinely incentivized illegal immigration. “I’m working with our Congress to pass common sense immigration reform,” Obama said. “Reform that continues to strengthen border security and strengthen legal immigration, so citizens don’t have to wait years to bring their family to the United States.”
Obama laid out a five-point program for cooperation with Mexico:
- Invest in roads and bridges, and “empower our young entrepreneurs”;
- “Build more things together”;
- Work on green energy;
- “Do more together in education so our young people have the knowledge and skills to succeed”;
- Spend taxpayer dollars on “innovation, research, and development.”
Virtually all of this could be done in the private sector. But Mexico remains a problematic investment partner for private industry because of its lack of law and order. So the American taxpayer will instead foot the burden.
Obama closed with his stump speech, merely substituting the word “Mexico” for the word “America”:
Mexico, I know there are those–in this country and beyond–who are skeptical of your progress; who doubt your capacity to make the most of this moment. They say the headwinds you face are just too stiff. They say Mexico has been here before, eyes fixed on a bright horizon, on the verge of great possibility, only to be blown off course.
It is true that nothing is inevitable. Progress and success is never guaranteed. The future you dream of, the Mexico you imagine–it must be earned. And no one else can do it for you. It can only be earned by you.
Or America can take the blame for Mexico’s biggest problems. After all, our president was apparently elected thanks to relatives and friends of those in the crowd. And that makes all the difference.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).