On May 14, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner told reporters that he had discussed Arizona’s anti-immigration law in human rights talks with China. Posner said the U.S. delegation brought the subject up “early and often” to highlight to the Chinese how issues of discrimination are debated openly in American society. A right-wing freak out ensued, with many distorting Posner’s statement to claim that he had “apologized” to China for the immigration law.
State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley defended Posner on Fox News yesterday, noting that he had simply told the Chinese that “this is how we handle human rights” issues. But during the discussion, Crowley stated that he had not read the Arizona law — a statement that many on the right are attacking him for. Last night on Fox News, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) jumped on the bandwagon :
MCCAIN: To compare it with the human rights abuses that take place in China, for Mr. Crowley to make a comment about a law he hasn’t read, it’s so irresponsible. And it is unfair not only to the people of Arizona but the people of this country to make comments about legislation that they don’t even know what’s contained in it.
But while McCain and other conservatives attack the administration for failing to read the entire bill, they fail to note the irony of not having studied it themselves. McCain has commented on the Arizona law while admitting that he hadn’t read it in its entirety:
Although McCain had sounded a note of support for the bill, calling it a “good tool” for law enforcement, he stopped short of fully endorsing the measure. “I haven’t had a chance to look at all the aspects, but I do understand why the Legislature would act,” he said. Even though it wasn’t clear to him “whether all of it is legal or not,” he said state lawmakers “acted out of frustration because the federal government didn’t do its job.”
So by his own standard, McCain is “irresponsible” and his comments were “unfair not only to the people of Arizona but the people of this country.”