The White House Vs. The Fence

by John Hawkins | October 19, 2006 1:38 am

For the last few months, whether you’re talking about Republicans or Democrats, politicians in competitive races have fallen into one of two camps: politicians who are tough on illegal immigration and politicians who are pretending to be tough on illegal immigration.

Since that’s the case, it would seem to be a no-brainer to trumpet the building of a fence along the Southern border to the high heavens. But, if the latest article from the Washington Times[1] is to be believed, the Bush Administration doesn’t want to do a public signing ceremony for the wall and they’re also going out of their way to undermine everyone’s expectations that the wall will be built:

“The White House is pleading with Congress to send over the bill authorizing 700 miles of fence on the U.S.-Mexico border so the president can sign it immediately…

Congressional Republicans, though, are convinced the issue is a political winner and want to hold onto the bill so it will be signed closer to next month’s congressional elections. Once the bill is sent to the president, he has a limited amount of time to sign it before it dies as a pocket veto.

…Many blogs from across the political spectrum have speculated he is trying to scuttle the bill with a pocket veto, but Mr. Bush has said he will sign it, though in private, without a signing ceremony.

…The official rejected a signing ceremony, and said the White House doesn’t want voters to expect too much out of the wall.

“We’ve got to be careful,” the official said. “We are doing a lot on the border, and we cannot raise expectations that this bill of 700 miles of fence is going to happen immediately.”

The official said the Department of Homeland Security doubts the value of 700 miles of fencing, instead saying that between 316 miles and 377 miles makes the most sense.”

So again, if this article is to be believed — and the Times is a conservative paper, so there’s no reason to think that they’re trying to sandbag the White House — Bush is acting ashamed of signing onto the wall and White House officials are hinting that half the wall isn’t going to be built. This is the sort of political acumen you’d expect from the Carter Administration, not from the same guys who ran circles around the Democrats for the last three election cycles.

Someone needs to walk up to the bubble those guys are in, knock on it a few times, wait for someone to come to the door, and then yell, “Have a public signing ceremony, talk about how much you can’t wait to build that wall, and start acting like you’re the President of the United States, not the President of Mexico!”

  1. Washington Times:

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