Earnest question: When was the last time in modern history that an arm of the federal government took to boycotting a state? I can’t think of an example, but my political memory is lamentably short. And a follow-up: If it did happen before, did the man in charge at the time open his mouth to say something about it? I thought policy differences with state governments are to be settled at the ballot box or in court, as this one soon will be, and not with unilateral action that’ll hurt the blue-collar joes in Arizona whom Obama claims to care about.

But then, he wouldn’t want to risk alienating any important constituencies.

Any cancellations by the Department of Education and the U.S. Border Patrol may have been more out of a desire to steer clear of controversy than outright protest of the law. But Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who has written to dozens of cities and groups in a campaign to persuade them to end their boycotts, said it was disturbing to learn that the federal government would withdraw from the state over the issue.

“It is very troubling when the federal government becomes involved in a boycott against our state,” Giffords said in a written statement. “Although I personally disagree with the immigration law, it came about because of growing frustration over the federal government’s unwillingness to secure the border. The federal government’s participation in this boycott only adds to that frustration.”…

According to Giffords, the department’s North American Mobility program convention set for October at a Tucson resort was nixed after the Mexican government said it would not send any representatives to the meeting. The department then moved the event to Minnesota.

Ah, another PR victory for our dear friends in the Mexican government. And for The One, of course: Forced to choose between a foreign state and a U.S. state, his Department of Ed made the predictable move. Do note, meanwhile, that Giffords is a Democrat, just as it’s Democrats who are holding out against comprehensive immigration reform in the House due to their mortal fear of what’ll happen in November if they try to push it now. As with so many other issues (like the DISCLOSE Act, for instance), there’s bipartisan support for the GOP’s position. And still Obama says nothing about the federal and local government boycotts, content to let Arizona workers suffer despite the fact that the DOJ is already working to undo the law. Although, in fairness to him, the local government boycotts are already starting to crumble.

Jan Brewer sent him a new letter today, three weeks after their meeting at the White House, reminding him that he promised at the time to deliver some new resources on border security within, er, two weeks. Get back to him when you have something to say about amnesty, Jan. Via Verum Serum, I’ll leave you with this, which was taped yesterday at some social justice forum in Detroit. Does the Border Patrol’s Arizona boycott mean they’re not Klansmen anymore?