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Post Bush Speech Analysis

May 15th, 2006 by Kevin

Overall, I think the purpose of the speech tonite was to save his spiraling popularity numbers and convince conservatives to support the plan the Senate is going to try to force through. On both of these counts, it is an overwhelming failure. Unfortunately, my prediction of his talking points was almost spot on, which I was hoping would not be the case.

Basically his speech tonite was a recitation of the bill that the Senate is working on. That bill is little more than the same bill that was passed back in 1986. And we all know how well that turned out. I\’ve heard it said before that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If Bush thinks I\’m going to support his plan, he is insane.

One point that was made over and over in his speech, was how urgent this issue is. Yet, he\’s been in office over 5 years now, and we still haven\’t accomplished a damn thing. If this issue is so urgent, why has NOTHING been done…not only not done, but not even attempted. This has been purposely ignored by this administration, and for them to now claim it\’s urgent, smacks of insincerity. Normally, I can trust this administration to do what they say. If they say something, it\’s gonna happen…for better or worse. For the first time, I find myself doubting their sincerity.

In general, I think with this speech he tripped to split the issues and come down on both sides. And when you try to do that, usually you fail on both accounts. And that was certainly the case with this speech.

But let\’s get down to the speech…

The issue of immigration stirs intense emotions – and in recent weeks, Americans have seen those emotions on display.

I think you are misunderstanding the reasoning for the emotions. The emotional outbursts are because you have been ignoring us and the issue for years. And when you do address the issue you speak in strawman argument and mischaracterizations.

the debate over immigration reform has reached a time of decision.

Wrong….the time for decision was a long long time ago. For you it should have been the day you took office, and if not that certainly on September 12th, 2001. For the rest of Washington it should have been the late eighties.

Once here, illegal immigrants live in the shadows of our society.

The shadows??? I wasn\’t aware the lawn of the Minnesota State Capital was considered the shadows. In fact, I remember it being damn sunny that day.

We are also a Nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition…

Ooops, here let me fix that for you. \”We are also a Nation of legal immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition…\” I\’m sure that\’s what you meant.

First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign Nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security.

First of all, I can\’t help but notice the probably intentional paraphrasing of Ronald Reagan. But I also can\’t help but notice that this responsibility is labeled as \”basic\” and \”urgent\”. Does this mean you admit that you have so far been incapable of accomplishing the most basic and urgent tasks?

Since I became President, we have increased funding for border security by 66 percent, and expanded the Border Patrol from about 9,000 to 12,000 agents.

I wouldn\’t brag if I were you. This is not even close to being enough. Even where it is now, you still need a multiplier to get us to sufficient staffing and funding.

Tonight I am calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border. By the end of 2008, we will increase the number of Border Patrol officers by an additional 6,000. When these new agents are deployed, we will have more than doubled the size of the Border Patrol during my Presidency.

That is not a dramatic improvement….doubling or tripling would be. A paltry 6,000 is nothing. That\’s 2,000 per shift….which means 1 extra person per mile of border….and that\’s just the southern border. And then account for all the beaucracy that will come with those added people.

At the same time, we are launching the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history. We will construct high-tech fences in urban corridors, and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas. We will employ motion sensors … infrared cameras … and unmanned aerial vehicles to prevent illegal crossings.

In other words no fence…a virtual fence to protect our virtual borders behind which is virtual enforcement of our virtual laws protecting our virtual citizens some of whom are virtually illegal.

Training thousands of new Border Patrol agents and bringing the most advanced technology to the border will take time. Yet the need to secure our border is urgent.

It will take time?? So why wasn\’t it begun years ago? If it\’s so urgent why only now is it being addressed?? Why did the country have to get pissed off for you to even make a half-assed attempt at it?

So in coordination with governors, up to 6,000 Guard members will be deployed to our southern border. The Border Patrol will remain in the lead. The Guard will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems … analyzing intelligence … installing fences and vehicle barriers … building patrol roads … and providing training.

Only the southern border?? And only 6000??? Once again, that comes down to 1 guard member per mile of the southern border.

And wait a second here. Essentially they will be doing the same thing the Minutemen have been doing. Yet, you\’ve dismissed them as \”vigilantes\”. How would you characterize this deployment??

Guard units will not be involved in direct law enforcement activities – that duty will be done by the Border Patrol.

Heh, our military guards lots of other peoples borders around the world, Korea comes to mind. Why are they incapable of taking a more active role on ours?

This initial commitment of Guard members would last for a period of one year. After that, the number of Guard forces will be reduced as new Border Patrol agents and new technologies come online.

This seems relatively benign, but read it again. That\’s his \”out\” folks. This is a token effort at best. He\’ll put a paltry number of troops on the border for a year, drag his feet on hiring border guards, and in a year, he\’ll withdraw the Guard and we\’ll be back to where we were before.

The United States is not going to militarize the southern border. Mexico is our neighbor, and our friend.

I\’d like to point out that our \”friend\” has militarized his southern border and nobody has complained. Why can\’t we??

So we will increase federal funding for state and local authorities assisting the Border Patrol on targeted enforcement missions. And we will give state and local authorities the specialized training they need to help federal officers apprehend and detain illegal immigrants.

Aaaah, locals doing the jobs the Feds won\’t do.

More than 85 percent of the illegal immigrants we catch crossing the southern border are Mexicans, and most are sent back home within 24 hours.

That runs counter to what we\’ve been hearing in the news alot lately regarding recent pathetic attempts at our enforcement of immigration laws.

This practice, called \”catch and release,\” is unacceptable – and we will end it.

Finally….what took you so long??

And we are making it clear to foreign governments that they must accept back their citizens who violate our immigration laws.

And if they don\’t?? I mean why would they take back the same people that are sending millions of dollars back to their home countries?

Second, to secure our border, we must create a temporary worker program. The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life. They walk across miles of desert in the summer heat, or hide in the back of 18-wheelers to reach our country. This creates enormous pressure on our border that walls and patrols alone will not stop. To secure the border effectively, we must reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak across.

Yes but why does a guest worker program solve that?? You say we need one….why??? You\’re trying to convince me remember?

This program would match willing foreign workers with willing American employers for jobs Americans are not doing.

Oh….so now it\’s not jobs Americans won\’t do, it\’s jobs they aren\’t doing. A small difference but still avoiding the issue that these are jobs Americans will gladly do for a decent wage.

And temporary workers must return to their home country at the conclusion of their stay.

You\’ve already proven incapable of forcing people to go home after their visas expire. Why should we believe that you will be any better at enforcing this?

Third, we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees, because of the widespread problem of document fraud. Therefore, comprehensive immigration reform must include a better system for verifying documents and work eligibility.

It might be added that there are many employers who simply don\’t care and knowingly hire illegal immigrants because there is almost no risk of getting caught. For any of what you propose to be anything more than wasted money you have to actually enforce laws already on the books.

And to make this even more effective, it might not be a bad idea to increase penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants.

And by making it harder for illegal immigrants to find work in our country, we would discourage people from crossing the border illegally in the first place.

Great…just one part of my immigration plan, that so far I have seen only evidence that it would work great. Which by the way, is a hell of a lot better than anything you\’ve proposed so far tonite.

They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it. Amnesty would be unfair to those who are here lawfully – and it would invite further waves of illegal immigration.

Sorry but it is amnesty. You\’re allowing them to buy their way out of their legal problems. They get to buy a citizenship. And as far as further waves of illegal immigration goes….too late. You\’re basically proposing (on a larger scale) the same thing that was done back in 1986. And that resulted in the 12 million illegals we have today. In another 20 years, we\’re goiing to be in an even worse position. If indeed we\’re not all speaking Spanish by then.

Some in this country argue that the solution is to deport every illegal immigrant – and that any proposal short of this amounts to amnesty. I disagree. It is neither wise nor realistic to round up millions of people, many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border.

God damn it!! This is a strawman argument, pure and f-ing simple. NOBODY has proposed deporting everyone. You are so hung up on this idea that the argument is about either amnesty or mass deportation. You won\’t acknowledge that anyone has a middle ground idea. And there have been plenty. Virtually all your opponents have proposed some.

Stop trying to debate a strawman. It makes your position look all the weaker and demonstrates that you are floundering on this issue.

There is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant, and a program of mass deportation.

Yes, there is but what you\’re offering is NOT it.

That middle ground recognizes that there are differences between an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently – and someone who has worked here for many years, and has a home, a family, and an otherwise clean record.

NEWSFLASH!!! None of them have clean records. By definition, they are all lawbreakers. Start acknowledging that.

should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law

So now we can buy citizenship??

People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship – but approval would not be automatic, and they will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law. What I have just described is not amnesty – it is a way for those who have broken the law to pay their debt to society, and demonstrate the character that makes a good citizen.

Ok but for those that meet those amazingly broad and vague conditions, citizenship IS automatic. It\’s just a matter of time, waiting in line. And might I add, they get to wait in line INSIDE the country they are illegally in. Meanwhile those people who have \”played by the rules and followed the law\” are stuck waiting in line outside the country. You are rewarding the lawbreakers for breaking the law….and THAT IS AMNESTY.

The success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society, and embrace our common identity as Americans. Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an ability to speak and write the English language.

Ok what do you plan to do about the appeal that Aztlan and MEChA have for many of these illegal immigrants?? I don\’t think you could find a single immigration rally where signs for those groups were not prominently displayed. And both of these groups openly declare that the southwest United States doesn\’t belong to the US and that it should be returned to the Mexican people.

How does your plan for assimilation and embracing a common identity as Americans deal with that?? It doesn\’t and there is no reasonable settlement with these groups.

An immigration reform bill needs to be comprehensive, because all elements of this problem must be addressed together – or none of them will be solved at all.

Why must it be comprehensive?? All elements do not need to be addressed together?? If we don\’t accomplish border control, none of the rest of it has any relevance. It\’s all meaningless. And in fact some of it may even hurt us more than help us without border control. You have given me no real reason why they cannot be addressed seperately. Indeed, you haven\’t even tried.

We cannot build a unified country by inciting people to anger, or playing on anyone\’s fears, or exploiting the issue of immigration for political gain.

Political gain!?!? That\’s exactly (with very few exceptions) what ALL of you are doing. You Republicans want tons of cheap labor to satisfy your business supporters. You Democrats are convinced that if you will have a new voting bloc dedicated to you if you can get them all citizenship.

It\’s all political game playing on your part and it\’s hurting the rest of it. And we\’re sick of being ignored on this issue, so damn right we have a right to be angry. You want someone to play on fears?? Here\’s one for you politicians, get your act together or get voted out of office.

We must always remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions, and that every human being has dignity and value no matter what their citizenship papers say.

Does this still include US citizens??? Certainly you\’ve demonstrate no concern for how illegal immigration is affecting us citizens of the United States. Lately, it appears that Vicente Fox has more pull in Washington than US voters do. I\’m just curious if you all have actually been bought and sold with a few pesos.

In Summary, it wasn\’t a good speech. Probably did more harm than good. I think we\’re gonna see the opinion polls slide even further. The Republicans in congress aren\’t going to get any relief from conservatives on this issue. This speech accomplished nothing on the political stage, nor will it accomplish anything on the immigration stage.

Once again I give Bush a solid F on this speech, and I hope he enjoys his now official lame duck status.


Text of Speech
Press Briefing Before Speech
My live blogging of the speech

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