Hispanic frustration

Hispanic frustration

by digby

This story in today's Washington Post about Obama's chilly relationship with various members of his base, is worth reading. It shows a president who doesn't understand liberal supporters who question his commitment and is sorely disappointed --- even angry --- that he has failed to engender the kind of unquestioning loyalty he expected. I guess I can understand that. He believes that his life itself is a testament to his own higher motives.

But this anecdote shows something more, I think:

One after another, they spoke their minds, telling the president what he had done or not done that bothered them. They complained that a rising number of deportations on his watch were “terrorizing” Hispanic neighborhoods and tearing apart good families. They warned that he was losing credibility with a crucial constituency that had put its faith in him.

Obama’s body stiffened, according to several witnesses, and he started to argue with them. If they wanted meaningful change, he said, they should focus their pressure on the Republicans in Congress who opposed reform, not on him. He was with them but could only do so much. “I am not a king,” he said.

No, he isn't a king. But he does have control of one of the three branches of government and that branch is the one that has boosted deportations to higher levels than any previous administration. Congress has a lot to answer for, but this is all on the executive branch. It's a very clumsy attempt at misdirection. These people are morons.

I'm guessing his thin-skinned response (well documented in other situations in the article as well) comes from his knowledge that they're right -- that his sensitivity to this particular kind of criticism shows that he knows he's bargained away their cause in gestures of good will to opponents who take the concession and then laugh in his face. It must be galling to be reminded of that.

Read the whole article to get an idea of just how much the immigration activists have been given the run-around. It sounds as though the hardcore tactics that worked so well for the LGBT activists aren't having the same effect. Of course, the LGBT community held out the threat of withholding their substantialcampaign donations which is guaranteed to strike true fear into the hearts of politicians. They're back in the fold now that the president responded and (with the help of the joint chiefs of staff) got DADT repealed and has affirmed his personal support for gay marriage. The Hispanic community remains empty handed.

Update: Ooops. This is on the front page of the New York Times this morning:

The nation’s rapidly growing Latino population is one of the most powerful forces working in President Obama’s favor in many of the states that will determine his contest with Mitt Romney. But Latinos are not registering or voting in numbers that fully reflect their potential strength, leaving Hispanic leaders frustrated and Democrats worried as they increase efforts to rally Latino support.

Interviews with Latino voters across the country suggested a range of reasons for what has become, over a decade, an entrenched pattern of nonparticipation, ranging from a distrust of government to a fear of what many see as an intimidating effort by law enforcement and political leaders to crack down on immigrants, legal or not.

I guess their only hope is a return to the monarchy.

Update II: I should clarify that I obviously don't actually know what the president is thinking about all this. I'm just speculating about why he might be thin-skinned about such criticism, based on my observation of human behavior over the past few decades. For all I know it's something else entirely that makes him short tempered in these situations. But the result, the only thing we really have to go, remains the same.