In the run-up to the 2012 election, the ‘Fast and Furious’ story has had a fairly small role. It has been relegated to the status of a witch hunt by the mainstream media, and the Obama administration’s spin that “it was started under Bush, but we stopped it”, which is patently false, has served their campaign well as they sweep it under the rug, of course, helped by a strategic claim of executive privilege and a willing media.
Conservatives’ message on ‘Fast and Furious’ has been consistent, but it largely misses a key point that it should be making – the impact of this program on Mexico itself. Border Agent Brian Terry’s murder was a tragedy, but it is only a part of the tragedy. A greater tragedy has been unfolding on the other side of the border, where hundreds of Mexican citizens have suffered as a result of this program. This aspect of the tragedy, largely forgotten, has potential to make a difference to the Hispanic voter, as a recent Univision panel illustrates.
In this Sept 20, 2012 forum, during an interview with President Obama, Univision hosts repeatedly pressed him on ‘Fast and Furious‘. They cited not only the death of Agent Terry, but over 100 deaths directly related to guns from the program in Mexico, and the larger death toll of over 50,000 from the drug wars in the past few years. ‘Shouldn’t you fire Eric Holder?” was a memorable moment. The President, for his part, resorted to the usual blame game and excuse-making. But, in this interview, the Univision hosts revealed a core truth – that the Hispanic community in this country and our Mexican neighbors have a low tolerance for incompetence and excuses. They don’t like broken promises, and they don’t like being lied to. And they certainly don’t like U.S. big government run amok, sending assault weapons across their borders to contribute to mass killings and to fill mass graves. At their core, in fact, many Hispanics would really sympathize more with conservatives in many respects.
The Democrats’ treatment of ‘Fast and Furious’ is indicative of their standard approach to everything – pretend to care, govern in a way that actually hurts those whom they pretend to care about, make excuses, and then expect to get the vote anyway. While this may work on many of their constituencies, it appears that it does not play too well with Hispanics. In sum, ‘Fast and Furious’ and the bungling, deadly ineptitude and lies from the Obama administration about it represent a good opportunity to divide the Hispanic vote. This story is not about immigration or amnesty. It is about incompetence and a stunning lack of responsibility, and a failure to admit culpability. I think we have seen that Hispanics will not buy it. Let’s see some campaign messaging that exploits that.
Photo credit: terrellaftermath