Running on Blade Runner
Mayor Villaraigosa sees L.A.'s future, and it's dense.
The border fence saga can be confusing, filled with subtle twists, turns, and feints.** But here is my brief potted history. Please explain where I've got it wrong:
2) Respectable Bush comprehensivist types like Chertoff want to substitute a sophisticated hi-tech "virtual fence" for the crude actual physical fence.
3) Border control types say the "virtual fence" won't work.
4) Respectable Bush comprehensivists like Chertoff in fact cut back on actual fencing, choosing the "virtual fence."
5) Where it's installed, the actual fence works.
6) Where it's installed, the "virtual fence" doesn't work .
7) Chertoff feels sorry for himself ("I thought I heard myself getting roundly criticized ... as squishy and soft").
Then you can explain to me why Chertoff still has his job.
P.S.: Tammy Bruce has one unsubtle, but not implausible, explanation--Chertoff was only doing what he was supposed to do:
In other words, we've all just been taken for a ride .... In order to do whatever possible to avoid building an actual physical fence ... Bush, McCain and their amnesty cronies made sure a monumental amount of money was wasted on a fake, untested, unreal fence to placate conservatives ... .
And now, after the tens of millions of dollars spent on an unworkable, failed system, and a year of the Feds touting the genius of the 'virtual' fence, Amnesty Secretary Michael Chertoff now says the border will not be prot[e]cted by a physical fence or even a virtual fence ...
Instead, Bruce notes, Chertoff seems to be counting on plans "to double" the DHS "fleet of three unmanned aerial vehicles." That's a total of six (6) drones. Not joking. That's what he said. Three thousand miles of border. Six drones. Talk about a "light footprint"! This is the pre-Petraeus Iraq strategy applied to the border.
Except that this time John McCain almost certainly approves, at least in private. Of course, if McCain really wants to prove his bona fides as a newborn secure-the-border conservative, he might start by saying the things about Chertoff that he said about Donald Rumsfeld regarding Iraq (or that he now says he said about Donald Rumsfeld). ...
P.P.S.: Did both Democratic contenders for the presidency endorse the virtual fence in a debate only a week before WaPo reported that it doesn't work? I think they did! ...
** Note: For example, there was this deceptively simple exchange in a press conference a month before the 2006 election:
Are you committed to building the 700 miles of fence, actual fencing?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes ...
In fact, this was like an obvious typo in the paper, something experienced Washington observers discounted immediately. What Bush clearly meant to say was "No"--that he planned to finish only 370 miles of fence and also count "300 miles of vehicle barriers." ... [Thanks to reader S.] 6:54 P.M. link
Photograph of Ann Coulter on Slate's home page by Brad Barket/Getty. Photograph of a wedding cake with two grooms on Slate's home page by Hector Mata/AFP Photo. Photograph of Princess Diana on Slate's home page by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images.