The Corner

Re: Steyn and AttackWatch

Earlier on the Corner, Mark Steyn lamented the fact that he has yet to be cited on Obama’s new campaign site, AttackWatch. He will perhaps be disappointed to find out he has now been cited on the “Immigration Reform Inaccuracies” page. The page demonstrates quite clearly all the absurdities of the website: its paranoid aura, attacks on straw men, and questionable arguments cited as incontrovertible fact.

Most bizarrely, the site is supposed to report and “fight the smears” and “get the facts.” Here, the “attacks” are uncited “broadcast remarks” by Steyn and Limbaugh that “the President has [an] amnesty policy,” and the “facts,” irrelevant statistics and liberal opinions to the contrary.

Three sources are cited to refute this “attack,” none of which actually demonstrates it to be untrue, let alone the kind of pernicious lie against which the site claims to be a defense. Only one is objective: Politifact is cited as proving that deportations of illegal immigrants have in fact, as Obama has claimed, increased 70 percent during his term. Here is the straw man: There is no evidence that either Mark Steyn or Rush Limbaugh, in their nebulously defined “broadcast remarks,” has claimed that Obama has in fact not deported 70 percent more criminals, though even that would be merely a factual error, and hardly a “smear” or “attack.”

The criticism of Obama’s immigration which may fairly be attributed to Steyn and Limbaugh is the one vaguely alluded to earlier, that “the President had [an] amnesty policy.” Following is the evidence marshaled to refute this perfectly legitimate argument as if it is a smear:

  • DHS papers indicate “record-breaking immigration statistics” under Obama

  • DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s statement that Obama’s policies “will not provide categorical relief to any group” (from a New York Times piece in which it is admitted that “people in deportation proceedings stand to benefit most from the new policy”)

  • An editorial by Adam Serwer, a writer for The American Prospect, in which he advances the argument that Obama’s policy “is not amnesty”

Finally, the site does admit that the Obama administration will “suspend certain cases for immigrants who pose no threat to the nation,” which sounds like a kind of implicit, if not explicit, amnesty. More importantly, the facts cited above certainly do not prove that the new policy does not constitute amnesty, as Steyn and Limbaugh can legitimately argue.

Obama’s site, which claims to “get the facts” and “fight the smears,” apparently defines fact as an editorial argument from the left and the statements of his own cabinet members — and smears as editorial arguments from the right.

Patrick Brennan — Patrick Brennan is a writer and policy analyst based in Washington, D.C. He was Director of Digital Content for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, writing op-eds, policy content, and leading the ...

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More