We recently learned that Congressman Steve King of Iowa was introducing the Libby Schaaf Act, designed to punish elected officials who obstruct immigration enforcement by alerting illegal aliens to impending ICE raids or similar operations. It’s not often that a single individual has a law named after them unless (usually) they don’t live to see it happen, so this must be quite an honor for Oakland’s Mayor Schaff. Oddly enough, though, it seems that she’s not feeling particularly honored at all. And she had a few choice words for the congressman to boot. (CBS San Francisco)
Mayor Schaaf fired back on CNN Monday.
“I can tell you that I know a lot more about what makes my community safe than a Congress member from Iowa,” said Schaaf during an interview.
The mayor of Oakland says bullies in Washington are trying to intimidate her over sanctuary city policies that she insists are making Oakland safer. Polls show people across the country — even here in the Bay Area — are divided on the issue.
So Mayor Schaaf feels like she’s being “bullied” by Washington now? I suppose that’s a good fit with the illegal aliens in her community who probably feel “bullied” by ICE when they come to visit. But the fact remains that enforcing the law is not bullying. And if we need a new law to prevent state or municipal officials from going rogue in this fashion (which I’m not entirely sure is true since we have laws against such obstruction on the books already) then so be it.
Here’s one other possibility to ponder. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if, in private, Schaaf isn’t really upset at all. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the mayor has been building her #RESIST credentials for a while now and almost certainly has her eyes on some higher office than just mayor. If that’s the case, Steve King may have done her a huge favor. She’s become a leading item on the national news a few times now and may soon have her name prominently featured in a debate in the House of Representatives.
Name recognition is critical in both state-wide and national races and it’s something many aspiring politicians struggle with. If Schaaf is considering a Senate or House run (or anything else for that matter) she could fundraise off the proposed legislation until the cows come home. That solves another problem which vexes many candidates. The more I think about it, this could really work out for Mayor Schaaf.
Assuming, of course, she’s not sitting in jail when the next election rolls around.