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May 15, 2006

The Not So Great Compromiser

Bush will tonight give a big speech during primetime which will result in his poll numbers falling a little more, as his speech will continue to alienate actual Americans (who vote) over non-American immigrants (who also vote, though it's illegal).

No wall. We'll have some troops on the border. Bush seems to think that simply stroking Bill O'Reilly's ego will bring back his disaffected base.

But the troops will be there only temporarily.

"The president made clear that the United States considers Mexico a friend and that what is being considered is not militarization of the border but support of Border Patrol capabilities on a temporary basis by National Guard personnel," said White House spokeswoman Maria Tamburri.

And, of course, there won't even be that many of them.

Snow said the effort would use only "a very small percentage of the Guard," which numbers about 400,000 members around the country. White House officials say it would involve fewer than 10,000 Guardmen.

There are currently 12,000 Border Patrol agents, and they cannot effectively seal the border. I don't know that another few thousand is going to make a big difference -- especially as the National Guard units will not assist in "law enforcement," meaning, I guess, if they do spot illegal crossers, they'll have to radio in for Border Patrol agents to actually stop them. Seems people can disappear pretty quickly in the twenty or thirty minutes it takes for a response.

Some in the president's conservative base called on him to be even more aggressive. Rep. Charles Whitlow Norwood Jr. (R-Ga.) said Bush should send 36,000 National Guard troops and eventually up to 48,000, drawn from around the nation. "If President Bush signed that order Monday night, our border would be secure for the first time in decades by Memorial Day at the latest," Norwood said in a statement. "Mr. Fox and [the National Council of] La Raza wouldn't like it -- but the American people sure would."

But the goal of the political class is not to please American voters, but potential future American voters. An especially important goal when some want to open up the floodgates:

The immigration reform bill that the Senate takes up today would more than double the flow of legal immigration into the United States each year and dramatically lower the skill level of those immigrants.

The number of extended family members that U.S. citizens or legal residents can bring into this country would double. More dramatically, the number of workers and their immediate families could increase sevenfold if there are enough U.S. employers looking for cheap foreign labor.

That's from the bill written by Chuck Hegel. What a guy.

Bush will mention...

... the need for immigrants to learn English and assimilate into American culture if they are to become citizens.

The "need," but not the "legal requirement."

The Republicans are going to lose in November, and I can't say I'll be tearing my hair out about it. At some point it becomes a close question whether you want the GOP to win, and continue governing against your wishes, or whether you want the Democrats to win, who will also govern against your wishes, but at least the GOP will be chastened and there will be hopes for 2008.

We're at that point now.

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posted by Ace at 12:18 PM

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