BORDER SECURITY: A "CREDIBILITY GAP" THAT IS BECOMING THE PRESIDENT'S UNDOING
The UAE-owned Dubai Ports World imbroglio is but an ancillary element of the primary catalyst accelerating President George W. Bush's steep slide in popularity and his loss of credibility -- namely, his stubborn refusal to secure our nation's borders in a post-"9/11" age of Islamofascist terrorism. That congenital stubborn streak has become his political undoing in his second term and its enervating effects are seen in the schism fast developing in GOP ranks.
As the Washington Post reports this morning:
The Senate will begin work today on legislation to overhaul the nation's immigration laws and plug its porous borders, but a bipartisan push to create a new guest worker program has put Senate Republicans on a collision course with their counterparts in the House.
The immigration question -- one of the volatile issues in this election year -- has split Republicans as no other issue before Congress. Vociferous opponents of illegal immigration are at odds with business interests and their allies, including President Bush, who are keen on establishing new, legal avenues to bolster the labor force.
Interesting that the president was quick to say when the Ports Deal controversy broke that to rescind the deal now would send exactly the wrong message to a vital ally in the Middle East, but fails to see that porous borders with Canada and Mexico and, at best, marginal security at our nations ports, where millions and millions of shipping containers go largely uninspected, send exactly the wrong message to American voters who, at the president's behest, bought into the global war on terror as a salient in America's national security strategy.
Good ol' American common sense has come to see a fundamental flaw in the president's logic: we must fight terrorists overseas so that we won't have to fight them here at home, but, oh by the way, 12 - 20 million undocumented aliens here in our homeland (with 10,000+ more jumping our borders every day) are no big deal, as are poorly-secured ports whose day-to-day operations are to be managed by Arab and Communist Chinese companies.
This glaring inconsistency in the president's logic is exacerbated by a penchant for bluster over clear communication and "my way, or the highway" posturing, rather than an acceptance that we're all in this together. This was best shown in his threat to Congress, of which I recently wrote:
He didn't just threaten the Congress the other day with a veto. In his characteristic swagger, the president threatened to veto Americans' common sense.
I watched a report on cable news last night about an American property owner along the contiguous U.S.-Mexico border whose property has been overrun and vandalized repeatedly by illegal aliens. Because the federal government will not protect this American citizen's rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," he felt compelled to arm himself and protect his and his family's property and material assets. A Mexican Consulate, in concert with left-wing Latino sympathizers, filed a lawsuit against the man. The good news: he prevailed in court; the bad news: lawyers' fees exceeded $100,000. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, that man and his family view themselves as victims of a form of terrorism (?) -- a veritable human invasion from the south, which, I should add, includes Other Than Mexicans (OTMs) from "countries of interest."
If borders and ports and American property owners aren't priorities of the president in this age of Islamofascist terrorism, then how much longer can President Bush expect that his policies will be supported when our country is being overrun by illegal aliens, our strategic security interests compromised by the allure of economic globalization, our jobs and manufacturing infrastructure exported overseas, our $8.3 trillion national debt and $726 billion U.S. trade deficit growing exponentially, and the FEMA-led rebuilding of the devastated Gulf Coast an unmitigated embarrassment?
Something is seriously amiss and Americans are on to the scent. Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security 53 months after "9/11" is still more federal boondoggle than legitimate terrorism deterrent.
FOLLOW-UP: Bob Kemper, reporting for the Cox News Service, points to a growing fissure across the country over illegal immigration and what is needed most in the context of immigration reform. Senator Isakson (R-GA) is quoted as saying: "... illegal immigration is something that's really tearing the country apart right now."
FOLLOW-UP II: This Washington Post piece by Peter Baker analyzes the developing rift among strong supporters of the president over the GWOT and security-related issues, while pointing to the president's strained relationship with the GOP-controlled Congress. And more on the Congressional revolt here.
FOLLOW-UP III: And what exactly are Americans to think, Bush-supporters among them, when they read these kinds of reports being published in conservative, straight-shooting publications such as The Washington Times? What's your visceral reaction to the following?
Senators said one reason for the rise in violence on the U.S. side is that many illegal aliens are convicted criminals or persons wanted for crimes. More than 42,000 illegal aliens caught at the U.S. border in the past five months fell into that category, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.And when you read those numbers, do understand, as Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) advises, that for every illegal interdicted by the U.S. Border Patrol, 3 to 5 are successful and go undetected. That's why about 30% of our federal prison population is composed of illegal aliens.
FOLLOW-UP IV: Here's an excelllent post on the Illegal Immigration issue from Polipundit, citing, as he does, current legislation being considered in the U.S. Senate -- legislation that places a premium on Guest Worker programs with much-needed border enforcement as only a promised quid pro quo. It's just plain unacceptable and Washington and our elected representatives are deferring to business interests, rather than taking the true pulse of the nation. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) is among those trying to end run American voters.
FOLLOW-UP V: This Fox News' poll and this CNN/USA Today Gallop poll should be a wake-up call for the Bush administration. I voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and again in 2004, regard myself as among his "base," would be appropriately characterized as a Reagan Republican and a conservative by any measure; but, and while even to this day I could not fathom Al Gore or John Kerry occupying the Oval Office, I'm developing serious misgivings about the president's performance and particularly vis-a-vis porous borders, unsecure ports, and administration foot-dragging and ineptitude in the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast. When conservative Republicans begin to get their backs up, the White House ought to pay attention! The situation on our southern border is nothing less than disgraceful and inexcusable.