John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


How Boston Will Impact Washington

Posted on April 22, 2013

The Tsarnaev Brothers, Suspected in the Boston Marathon Bombing

The Boston attacks will have an inevitable, if unpredictable, impact on the debates in Washington D.C.

We now know that the perpetrators were legal residents, that they were Muslim, that they were Chechen, that they were pretty young.  We know the older one was disaffected and unhappy with living in America.  We know he was radicalized to become anti-American.

We surmise that the younger one was less radical but perhaps more prone to being influenced by his big brother.

We don’t know if this were part of a bigger plot planned by Al Quaeda or some other American-hating Islamic group.  We still don’t know what role Chechnya played, since their beef is with the Russians and not with us.    That part is kind of weird.  The Russians don’t love us and we don’t love them.

There will be a call for more funding to pay for domestic surveillance and tracking of potential terrorists.  There will also be a call for more money for First Responders and for TSA agents.  When terrorism rears its ugly head, that takes precedence over budget stuff.   Look for those calls to intensify.    The sequester looked like a big political winner two weeks ago.  Not so much today.

Gun control is not coming back any time soon.  When the white-hat wearing Chechen dude was running all over the Watertown and other Boston suburbs, that killed gun control.  Some people tried to make the link between guns and bombs.  That only link is that when a terrorist is running around the suburbs, suburban voters aren’t content to lock their doors and watch television.  They want the right to protect themselves.

Harry Reid and his colleagues killed a modest bill in the Senate the week before Beantown.  That bill is not coming back.

My first reaction after hearing that an immigrant (actually two immigrants) did the dirty deed was that the immigration bill was dead.   But Marco Rubio and others are making some good points in defense of their bill.

This was a law enforcement issue and an intelligence issue, not an immigration issue.  These guys were here legally.  They were not snuck in the country.  The FBI had actually interviewed them, for Christ’s sake, because of concerns raised by the Russians.   If there was a breakdown, it was because of FBI incompetence, not because of the INS.

Some right-wingers want us to keep all of the foreigners out.  They are crazy, stupid and probably racist.  We are a nation of immigrants.   We need immigrants.  What we don’t need is to make it easier for terrorists to get here.  Maybe we should let the Mexicans in and keep the Muslims out.

In any event, Boston made it more difficult for immigration reform to pass.  Not insurmountable, but the mountain is higher than previously thought.

The Boston attacks made us look more closely at explosion in Waco.   Was it just an accident or was it part of a terrorist conspiracy?   Look for more regulations or better oversight of the regulators because of this event, especially because it happened over the same week as the Boston event.   That will require more resources, and the demand for those resources will become part of the national discussion.

There will probably be other things that happen in DC because of what happened in Boston.  Stay tuned.

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