The Talking Dog

May 15, 2006, Bienvenidos, amigos

The President made a relatively rare prime-time speech and told us all about his plans to deploy 6,000 National Guard troops for border patrol duties, along with some other policy proposals associated with immigration, including the vaunted "path to citizenship" (a/k/a amnesty for illegal line jumpers), and a guest worker program.

Given the perverse way American electoral politics works, the man with the approval rating at 29% and dropping having selected an issue where his own position ("cheap, easily exploitable labor") may be at odds with his eponymous "base" (a/k/a "its bash Mexicans season") may actually help a few of his own party members hold on to their seats in November. Even though, on its face, it certainly looks like he's "alienating the base."

6,000 invisible Guard troops to assist guarding a porous 2,000 mile border seems in the same league as, oh, an occupation of a country of over 25,000,000 with around 120,000 or so troops... i.e., inadequate for the task at hand. It seems to be more of a politically expedient window dressing move that won't help stem the tide of the swarthy masses of cheap agricultural, construction and service workers... though, doubtless, should we have another Katrina type situation, its nice to know that, on top of Guard troops already deployed in Iraq and unavailable to us, more will be on the Southern border... and unavailable to us.

In a vacuum, to be honest, I probably can't quibble with these particular proposals; in a country where illegal workers represent somewhere between 5 to 10% of the workforce (more in some localities), obviously, this is an issue. But given the ongoing problems in Iraq (i.e. its mounting human and financial cost), the war on terror, the budget deficit, the trade deficit, the continued health-care... issues... of tens of millions of Americans, and numerous other priorities I could name... one must ask... is this really the biggest problem the country is facing, worthy of "spending that political capital," which, at 29% approval and dropping, seems a tad scarcer than it once was... I don't know... Maybe that potentially pending indictment is finally starting to rattle Karl...


TD- Well put. It seems like the president truly believes the United States' physical capacity to respond to a natural disaster is infinite. His view on the use of the military doesn't seem to be too far from his view on spending: "As long as I don't have to directly deal with the effects now, why worry about them?" Although, if troops are sent to the border, and perhaps another major hurricane hits or earthquake occurs, he might HAVE to deal with poor decision making.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to me like the issue of weakened response capabilities has been adequately discussed in the media... But, that's just my own view, and I could very well be wrong.

Posted by Ben at May 15, 2006 11:30 PM

do something even if it's wrong because whatever he does is right, he's the decider.

Posted by degustibus at May 16, 2006 9:50 PM