Almost any other time, this would be an unremarkable throw-away line in a meeting between heads of state in North America. In the context of the controversy over the immigration-enforcement law in Arizona, however, this is a rather amateurish stumble, reminding people that the federal government hasn’t taken much interest in defining this nation by its southern border in many years, nor in defending it (via Freedom’s Lighthouse):
Besides, how else do nations “define” themselves in relation to their neighbors? Borders demonstrate the extent and limits of national sovereignty no matter where on Earth they are or which nations are on either side of them. We don’t define ourselves as Americans primarily in the context of the status of our alliance with Mexico, and Mexicans don’t do the same in reverse. It’s one of those meaningless phrases that speechwriters use to fill space, and which speakers use when they don’t know any better.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!