Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Bush, Immigration & The "C"-Word

In my immediate reaction to the president's Monday immigration speech, I mused that Bush was "adopting the Bill Clinton post-'94 triangulation method: He wants to be seen as the 'third way.'"

Well, apparently I wasn't the only person who saw the specter of BC in the current POTUS' rhetorical moves. My pal
Rich Lowry at National Review had a similar, yet ultimately even harsher, reaction:

President Bush has a bold new approach to immigration enforcement: He wants to police the Mexican border with symbolism.

That's the point of his proposal to send the National Guard to our border with Mexico. This represents Bush's final, desperate descent into Clintonian sleight of hand. He wants to distract enough of his supporters with the razzle-dazzle of "National Guard to the Border!" headlines that they won't notice he is pushing through Congress a proposal that essentially legalizes all the population influx from Latin America that has occurred in the past 10 years and any that might occur in the future.
Rich then takes the C-word shiv that he has just thrust in the president's back and twists it in a brutally effective way to make a point that could sound President Bush's permanent estrangement from conservatives:

That a president from the country's law-and-order party has been so blase about both when it comes to immigration presents an obvious opening to the opposition. Shrewder Democrats are picking up on it. A new report from the centrist Democratic group Third Way notes that from 2001 to 2004, border apprehensions declined 31 percent from the last four years of the Clinton administration, and apprehensions within the country dropped 36 percent. There were only 46 convictions for violations of laws against hiring illegals in all of 2004.

Bush's heart just isn't in enforcement. Perhaps it's a tribute to his sincerity that he is so bad at faking it. With his sympathy for the struggle of desperate people coming here for work, his "compassionate conservatism" doesn't stop at the Rio Grande. And it is reinforced by his chamber-of-commerce conservatism that wants to welcome the world's huddled masses as long as they will work without complaint on hot roofs for cheap wages.
Got that? George W. Bush -- worse than Clinton when it comes to border security!

Given that the despised-by-conservatives Senate legislation is essentially an expansion of the version initially crafted by John McCain and Ted Kennedy, do the facts cited by Rich give a Hillary Clinton an opening in a possible match-up with McCain?

Way too soon to say.

But consider: The leading conservative magazine's editor -- who wrote a book listing the various negative
legacies (many of them security-related) of the Clinton administration -- says that the Republican in the White House is worse on border enforcement than his hated predecessor!

Well, that just about says it all, doesn't it?

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