Carol Platt Liebau: The Speech: All in All, Not Bad

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Speech: All in All, Not Bad

[Update 6:00 pm : Hugh Hewitt just finished interviewing Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Julie Myers. And stunningly, it sounded as though the Administration was backing away from the concept of any kind of physical fencing. She effectively refused to concede any benefits from physical fencing despite Hugh having offered her numerous attempts to do so. If her articulated views are representative of those of the Administration, it spells disaster from both a political and policy standpoint.]

President Bush is obviously beginning to understand the depth and passion of Americans' concerns about illegal immigration. His speech tonight was cast almost completely in the context of border security.

But let's take the beginning first. To my mind, perhaps the strongest part of the President's speech came near the end. By calling on immigrants to learn to read/write/speak English and respect the American flag, he addressed the unspoken but very real concerns of many Americans who have, for too long, suspected that either the elites are either too politically correct to call for assimilation -- or that they lack the cultural confidence to do so. In my view, a lot of the really intense anger at the Administration policy on the part of some in the Republican base has sprung from this perception; it will be interesting to see if what the President said is enough to help it begin to abate.

Certainly, the speech was hardly perfect. To some extent, the President fudged the distinction between "virtual security," (that is, the "high tech fences" that he prescribed for urban areas) versus the "barriers" that would be directed toward rural areas. It matters how much of which goes where -- and just how that determination will be made and exactly what it means isn't clear. The fact that he alluded to "manpower and technology" at the speech's outset doesn't engender a lot of confidence that he's thinking in terms of substantial, numerous physical impediments. This matters -- but we'll have to wait and see.

It's worth noting that the President called for holding employers to account. That's important for some of the disgruntled citizens who believe that Republicans like President Bush are soft on illegal immigration to help "big corporations" keep wages low. Significantly, he likewise called for tamper-proof identification cards for workers -- an indispensable step in being able to enforce immigration laws.

The President wisely spent some time explaining why his temporary worker program (which, notably, didn't mention jobs Americans "won't do," instead recasting them as jobs Americans "aren't doing") and his "path to citizenship" cannot fairly be characterized as amnesty. It's important, and right, that law-abiding Americans understand that law-breaking isn't being overlooked or condoned. Again, there is some devil in the details, but the overall principle the President articulated seems right to me.

And, in my view, it was fitting that President Bush alluded at the end to the inherent dignity of all mankind, legal or not. It was a timely reminder and a clarification to those on the left and the right that this debate isn't about animus against illegal immigrants as people or as workers -- it's about America claiming the right and fulfilling the duty of securing its own borders, the prerogative of every sovereign nation.

11 Comments:

Blogger wrabkin said...

Inherent dignity of all mankind, except those we don't like. Them, we put snatch off the street, bundle into a secret plane, and torture in a foreign prison.

5:57 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

wrabkin believes the MSM. I am sceptical of the MSM. Regarding the President's speech, better slow and steady then rush and regret.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Charlie said...

I thought his speech was excellent. He articulately laid out arguments for both security and dealing with those immigrants already here. It seemed like his points very closely matched the Hagel-Martinez compromise bill now in the Senate.

7:40 PM  
Blogger The Flomblog said...

We have a president that does what he believes is right in spite of the polls. I'm quite happy. Did I get everything I wanted? No. But I respect and admire the man

8:21 PM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

Yes, I believe the MSM over Bush.

I also believe the world media... the world leaders... the eyewitness accounts... the plaintiffs in court case who have testified that they were abducted and tortured only to see the administration NOT deny the charge, only to say they can't confirm or deny a secret program.

Stackja believes whatever Bush says. No matter how many times he has lied.

And somehow, I'm the idiot for believing the "MSM."

When I should be clapping my hands and hoping for Tinkerbell to live.

8:42 PM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

We have a president that does what he believes is right in spite of the polls.

Unfortunately, we also have a president that does what he believes is right in spite of the constitution.

And when there's a conflict between his personal belief, and 200 years of law, he does it his way.

Torture. Spying on Americans. Lying this country into war.

He is not a king. He is not a priest. He is not a god. He is subject to the same laws as any other American.

No matter what "he believes."

8:49 PM  
Blogger Alan Kellogg said...

Wrabkin and reality are not on speaking terms.

Wrab my boy, Al Gore did his best to get George W. Bush elected President of the United States, and you have to accept that.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

The National Guard to the border is too little too late, in my opinion. I'm glad it is happening, but what about all the law breakers already here? We are still a nation of Law, aren't we? And dispite the "I'll follow the MSM anywhere" mentality of wrabkin, the President that lied the most was Bubba.

Interesting letter to send to your editors, explaining things in easy to understand clarity, is found on Neal Boortz' web site this morning.

"To the Editor:
Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that the U.S. might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and once here, to stay indefinitely.

Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests.

Let's say I break into your house. Let's say that when you discover me in your home you insist that I leave. But, I say, "I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors: I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hard-working and honest ... except for that part where I broke into your house.

"According to the protestors, not only must you let me stay, you must add me to your family's insurance plan and provide other benefits for me and my family. My husband will do your yard work because he too is hard-working and honest ... except for that breaking in thing.

"If you try to call the police or force me out I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my right to be here. It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself. I'm hard-working and honest .... ummmmm .... except for that breaking in thing.

"Besides. What a deal it is for me! I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of selfishness, prejudice and being anti-housebreaker!

Did I miss anything? Does this sound reasonable to you? If it does, grab a sign and go picket something. If this sounds insane to you call your senators and enlighten them because they are stumbling in the darkness right now and really need your help.

(Name? _______________)"

Can you understand, now, wrabkin?

6:40 AM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

wrabkin, what flavor of Kool-Aid do you prefer?

9:07 AM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

What flavor of kool-aid?

Apparently the same flavor as the vast majority of this great nation, as 75% of us now believe this president is bad for America.

1:03 PM  
Blogger -Sabry- said...

I have a better or at least a more accurate version of that letter:

Imagine that the woman that lives in the house next to you enter illegally to your house, and when your wife sees her she says (obviously knowing that she doesn’t live in your house):
- “Hey can you clean my house, wash my dishes, make my food, clean the floor, in fact do all the chores I don’t like to do?...I only do it because it is too expensive for me to pay somebody to do it, but as you came into MY house illegally I will shut my mouth and pay you very little OK?

As the next door woman knows she doesn’t bellow to your house she accepts….

After 5 years, your husband had never “seemed” the woman finds her and yell at her:

-Who are you? What are you doing in my house? I didn’t let you in!!!...you are a criminal you should go back to your house right know, you are eating my food and drinking my water!!!!

Surprised with your attitude your maid (the next door neighbor) says:

-Actually I do belong to your house, I have 5 years cleaning it and cooking your food, your wife pays me very little because I came without permission, but after 5 years I actually want you to include me on your health insurance because I can not afford it with the money she pays me and I am a person and I do get sick and I do have to eat, in fact that’s why I came here, because I need to eat.

(Name? _______________)"

I don’t mean that illegal people have the right to enter here illegally, but since America is using them they should be a little more comprehensive with the two sides…I really think that if Americans don’t give jobs to illegal people they shouldn’t be here.

11:41 AM  

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