President Bush didnt quite strike out with his speech last night, it seems to me. What he did was, arguably, worse. He tried to bunt--but it got caught. See, if you havent already heard, Hugh Hewitts interview with I.C.E. Asst. Secretary, Julie Myers. Its titled "How to undo the impact of a Presidential address in one easy lesson" by Radioblogger, but Im not sure there was much impact to undo. There is a basic problem of trust in politics. When you havent got it there isnt much you can say to earn it. You certainly cannot go around saying things that attempt to appeal across the wide spectrum of opinion that the President tried to attract last night. When no one believes you to begin with, you look even more vacuous and pathetic.
Let me try to be more clear: I do not doubt that the President is sincere in his wish to deal with a problem that is--largely--inherited and certainly messy. But his thought on the matter continues to display--to my way of thinking--a kind of soft-headed compassion that just is not useful. If you cannot wrap your mind around the importance of the fence and securing the southern border, period, whatever it takes--and continue to muddy the waters with perepheral questions of "guest workers" etc., there is something huge missing from your sense of priority. If it were me, I would simply drop all talk of what to do about the illegals who are here--for now. Fix this problem and then pick that up again when it is reasonable to discuss it.
By way of segue to the question of what to do about illegals who are here--he needs to begin talking in a serious way about what it means to be a citizen of this country. What are our rights and what obligations do we have if we mean to protect them? What ought we to expect from our fellow Americans? How ought we to think about questions of patriotism and love of country? We cannot begin to address the problem of assimilating some 12 million or more immigrants--legal or otherwise--unless and until we seal the border and understand what citizenship in America means.