by Ken Feltman
The conventional wisdom in Washington is that the federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona is over immigration law and policy. That may not be the most important lesson to draw.
As we study focus groups and participants’ comments, we find issues that the pundits and politicians in Washington may misunderstand. For example, the New York mosque is coming to symbolize President Obama’s tendency to say one thing today and then issue a “sort of” retraction another day. The damage to Obama concerns his tendency to equivocate, not his stance on the mosque.
Some issues zip along under Washington’s radar. The current example is the lawsuit by the Justice Department against Arizona. Regardless of their stance on the merits of the suit, voters do not like the fact that the federal government sued Arizona.
Washington is filled with lawyers. Recourse to the courts seems natural to them. Many people across the United States disagree. They seem to see the suit against Arizona as signifying a “we-they” split, with Washington on one side and the states and individual citizens on the other. Increasingly, average Americans may be coming to the conclusion that the federal government is the enemy.
This is shown in comments that Radnor has posted on I Said. You can see comments from several recent focus groups and some townhall meetings across the U.S.
No matter how the legal arguments turn out, the Obama Administration seems to have put more distance between government and the governed.