Wednesday, July 16, 2014
The ghost of Robert Ray
Honestly, you've got to feel a little sorry for Governor Terry Branstad.
Iowa's "governor-for-life" really stepped in it last week when, in a press conference, he said things that, with a bit of a nudge or a twist, can sound freakishly fascist. Let's face it, with an issue like illegal immigration, there's a whole lot of "it" to step in, as the Gov discovered.
"Iowa doesn't want illegal children," or so read some headlines. While that interpretation of the governor's remarks isn't far afield, it's a spin. The line, quoted extensively by the way, was far less ugly. Here's the way Breitbach reported it, quoting the AP: “The first thing we need to do is secure the border. I do have empathy for these kids,” Branstad said. “But I also don’t want to send the signal that (you) send your kids to America illegally. That’s not the right message.”
That he began with "I do have empathy for these kids" makes him sound human. And he is.
However, in a state with a history that includes another Republican "governor for life," Robert Ray, Branstad's words, no matter how they're spun, do sound more than a little bitchy. It was Ray, after all, who took in thousands when no one else would. It was Ray who said he really didn't care what people said about his taking in all those refugees--he'd do it anyway because it was the right thing to do and Iowans were the kind of people who'd help. It was Ray who took all kinds of excrement from the same people who are saying the same things today about "them people" finding a place in the tall corn.
They're illegal, dang it, and Iowans believe in the rule of law. So there.
For what he said in that news conference, lefties may well make Branstad look like a redneck oaf, but he isn't. It's Robert Ray who makes Branstad sound like a moral midget.
The situations are not the same, I know--illegal immigrant kids are not Tai Dam refugees. Their histories are not the same, and neither was or is their motivations to come to this country. But to any Iowan who remembers Governor Ray's greatest moment, Branstad comes up wanting no matter how his news conference answer is spun.
"The first thing we need to do is secure the border," Branstad said. I've never understood what Republicans and Fox News means by "secure borders," unless it's what Herman Cain suggested, a Great Wall of China secured with electric wires, like Dachau. We have a problem with 50,000 kids from Central American countries right now because we have secure borders, right? They got caught. Just how exactly do we make them more secure?
"I do have empathy for those kids," Branstad said. He didn't say, "Keep them the heck out of Iowa." Never did, even if that's the way it sounded.
Still, my guess is Branstad won't look back on that press conference his finest hour, not with Bob Ray looking over his shoulder.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:24 AM