Not since President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock and JFK sent U.S. marshals to the University of Alabama has the federal government seemed so at war with a state of the union.
Arkansas and Alabama were defying U.S. court orders to desegregate. But Barack Obama's war on Arizona is not a war of necessity. It is a war of choice -- an unprovoked war, undertaken not to defend constitutional or civil rights, but to pander to his party's left and Hispanic voters.
New Mexico's Gov. Bill Richardson, himself Hispanic, gave the game away. At the Boston governors conference, he assured colleagues, nervous over the administration attacks on Arizona's immigration law, that "Obama is popular with Hispanic voters, and this is going to be a popular move with them nationally."
Eric Holder fended off criticism of his Justice Department suit against Arizona that alleges the state usurped federal responsibility by saying he has not ruled out a second suit for "racial profiling."
Rather than work with Arizona to secure the border and send the illegals home, the Obamaites are taking Mexico's side against Arizona, and against the faithful execution of U.S. law.
In a shocking and telling episode in the Rose Garden, Obama stood by mute as Felipe Calderon attacked the Arizona law as "discriminatory." The next day, Democrats in Congress, with Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano joining in, cheered the Mexican president's slander that Arizona introduced "racial profiling to law enforcement."
There was a time when such an insult to a state of our union, on U.S. soil by a foreign ruler, would have produced a diplomatic crisis, if not pistols at dawn.
Some of us recall Ike walking out of a Paris summit with Nikita Khrushchev rather than apologize for sending U-2s over Russia, and JFK, after the Bay of Pigs, retorting to Khrushchev that the United States did not need any lectures on intervention from people "whose character is forever stamped on the bloody streets of Budapest."
Democrats cheer as Arizona is attacked by a Mexican leader whose country treats illegal entry as a felony and illegal aliens with a brutality no American would tolerate.
And what exactly is at the heart of the Arizona law?
Simply this: Being in this country illegally is now a misdemeanor in Arizona, as it is in U.S. law. And as a 1940 U.S. law requires resident aliens to carry their green cards or work visas at all times, Arizona will require police to request such identification if, in a "lawful contact" -- a traffic violation or altercation -- the officer entertains a "reasonable suspicion" the individual may be here illegally.