Foster's Daily Democrat of Dover (N.H.), July 11, 2014
"Nothing has taken place down there that I'm not intimately aware of and briefed on. This isn't theater. This is a problem. I am not interested in photo-ops. I am interested in solving a problem."
— President Barack Obama
President Obama begrudgingly met with Texas Gov. Rick Perry to discuss the dramatic influx of illegal immigrants — largely unaccompanied children — coming across the southern border of the United States.
He did so only after the governor refused to hold a meet-and-greet photo-op at the airport, upon the president's arrival to attend area fundraisers.
"I appreciate the offer to greet you at Austin-Bergstrom Airport, but a quick handshake on the tarmac will not allow for a thoughtful discussion regarding the humanitarian and national security crises enveloping the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas," Perry wrote in a letter to the President. "I would instead offer to meet with you at any time during your visit to Texas for a substantive meeting to discuss this critical issue."
The president's stubbornness in the matter is breathtaking, as is his emotional detachment.
Presidents are expected to care. That is why they meet with those affected by tragedy; that is why they visit places devastated by natural and man-made disasters.
And, sometimes, that is not enough.
President George W. Bush was widely castigated for his flyover of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. His excuse at the time was so as not to interfere with recovery efforts. It was a "huge mistake" to which he later admitted.
Here in New Hampshire then-Gov. John Lynch made firsthand visits to devastated areas of the state a priority. These may have been photo-ops, but the bottom line was that Lynch cared enough to show up.
There is fair disagreement over the nature of the crisis along our southern border. Some call it an invasion, others a humanitarian crisis.
Regardless, it is a problem of major proportions that demands the president's personal attention.
When we first heard the president's defense for not visiting the border, we were dumbfounded.
We have visited New Orleans and the nearby bayou since Katrina. It is an area struggling to recover nearly a decade later. You can see it along the roadsides where homes have still not been rebuilt and debris still litters now-vacant lots.
This is the story a personal visit tells. These are images best viewed up close.
We know our words are going to be taken with a grain of salt by some given our past criticism of the president.
This time President Obama has stepped over the line and riled even Democrats.
"If he had time, with all due respect, to have a beer and play pool like he did in Colorado last night, then I think after the fundraisers he should make time to go down there," Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.) told CNN.
Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.) said in an interview that "if he's not going today, he should go sometime very soon, and it's not so much to see the facilities but to see the children."
Someone needs to pull the president aside and remind him he is still "president" and with that title comes some responsibility — beyond party fundraisers.
In this case it means setting aside politics and visiting the border to at least show he cares.
The Boston Herald, July 10, 2014
Next time some fool at the White House or the State Department urges Israel to concede "land for peace" let them remember these days — days of air raid sirens going off in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, days of rockets launched from Gaza, days of terror for those inhabiting Israel's southern-most cities.
Yes, back in 2005 Israel did indeed concede "land for peace." The land in question was Gaza and its 9,000 Israeli settlers were forced to leave after having called that land home for 38 years. The last few were forcibly removed by Israeli troops in one of the more heart-wrenching moments in that young nation's history.
Two years later the terrorist thugs of Hamas seized control from the then ruling Fatah party, seizing local government buildings and tossing Fatah loyalists from windows, slaughtering others in the streets. How, after such bloodshed, the two Palestinian factions could now form a "unity" government, as they did earlier this year, is beyond belief. But the deed is done and has made any future peace talks about the West Bank unthinkable.
Now for the third time since Israel left Gaza, that strip of Mediterranean shoreline is being used by Hamas as a launching pad for attacks aimed deep into Israel with rockets believed to be supplied by Iran. Only Israel's Iron Dome defense shield — and its constant vigilance and network of bomb shelters — has saved it from serious harm.
Israel has authorized a call up of 40,000 reservists and massed tanks along the Gaza border as it continues air raids on Hamas targets, giving every indication it is prepared to do whatever is necessary to defend its people and its territory.
Into this fray wades President Obama once again making ill-timed and ill-considered arguments urging mutual restraint in an op-ed in Haaretz, even as rockets fall on Sderot and Ashod.
Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq posted on Facebook: "Our message is one of ongoing resistance until we have victory, by God's will, through national unity ... We will make this a lesson that history will not forget."
What part of that doesn't Obama get?