The Fool-the-Yahoos Surge: Meetings have been held, tactics adopted, talking points synchronized. The new Bush counterinsurgency strategy to reverse the course of the immigration debate seems to have two components:
1) Exude confidence. "We are winning" ... sorry, that's what Bush said about the war in Iraq. Here's what his Commerce secretary said about the immigration Grand Bargain: "This bill is alive and well .... I have no doubt. This is going to go through ...."
2) Stress all the enforcement provisions in the bill, while pretending you've gotten the message:
"I know some of you doubt that the Federal government will make good on the border security and enforcement commitments in this bill ... [W]e are now committing more resources than ever before to border security, doubling the number of Border Patrol agents, building hundreds of miles of fencing, and employing advanced technology, from infrared sensors to unmanned aerial vehicles. The bill builds on this progress by requiring that we meet border security objectives before certain other provisions can take effect."
--President Bush, President's Radio Address, June 8. [E.A.]
"Because I think a lot of people have concerns about security and our message is: 'We heard you. Take a look at what's going on with this bill.'" ...
"If you take a look at the bill, it is the largest investment ever in border security. ... This bill says ... harsh punishments for employers." ...
"And furthermore, we have a mechanism now for knowing who the illegals are, where they are, whether they're working, whether they're breaking the law and if they're not working and they're not obeying the law, they get sent out."
--White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, on various Sunday shows. [E.A.]
This is all in keeping with the Peggy Noonan view that the White House really does think its own GOP base is composed of yahoos who can be fooled with a little talk of enforcement.
kf Balking Points
1. If all these enforcement measures are so wonderful, why not enact just them and drop the questionable legalization part? Bush is holding the parts of the bill everyone says they want hostage to the parts he wants.
2. If we tried the enforcement parts first, then we wouldn't have to trust the federal government. We could make sure the measures work before we go ahead with legalization (and attract a new wave of legalization-seeking illegals).
3. The bill does require "that we meet border security objectives before certain other provisions can take effect." Unfortunately, legalization is not one of those "certain other provisions." Legalization is immediate under the bill.
4. "[I]f ... they're not obeying the law, they get sent out." Of course, most of them will be obeying the law ... because what was illegal will have been legalized! As for whether the government will actually get it together to send people home if, say, they've come illegally after the January, 2007 cutoff--well, again, let's see whether that "investment" in enforcement pays off.
But I'm glad Bush mentioned the aerial drones! ... 10:16 P.M. link
Straight Fake Talk: In a video clip available on the NYT site, John McCain pretends to Iowans that he shares their anger that the border fence didn't get built. [Go 2 minutes into the clip] ... 5:05 A.M.