Why is Obama Going to Fresno?

On Friday, President Barack Obama will travel to Fresno, California, the heart of the state’s hard-hit farming region. Usually, when the president travels to California, it’s to raise money. So observers are scratching their heads. The president “can’t make it rain,” notes the Fresno Bee wryly (via FlashReport). Moreover, it’s the federal courts and the Democrats that are stopping farmers from receiving more water allocations.

Environmentalists, who are quite happy to prioritize the endangered delta smelt and restored salmon runs over the needs of farmers, are worried that President Obama’s arrival might signal some compromise in Congress. They are desperate to prevent the Senate from going to a conference committee with the House on competing drought relief bills, fearful that the House version might prove more influential, given the 2014 elections.

When Republicans block such conference committees on far less urgent matters, such as immigration reform, they are castigated by the president and the press as obstructionist, even racist. In any case, the environmental groups needn’t worry. The president will probably use his visit to blame climate change for the drought and talk about how immigration reform might bring all of those unemployed agricultural workers “out of the shadows.”

The Bee suggests that Obama might hope to use his visit to boost the fortunes of Democrats in California, since there is not much he can do elsewhere to save his party from the political devastation of Obamacare. So expect to hear much about how the federal government is providing more money to affected farmers, now that those pesky Republicans have dropped their objections to farm bills and deficits. But don’t expect real solutions.