Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pledge To America: #2

On his program yesterday, Rush Limbaugh boasted "So yesterday I predict to you that the media and the Democrats are going to say that the Republican Pledge is not specific enough. Do I know these people or do I know these people?"

Perhaps, Rush, that was because the document is extremely vague, coupled with the timing of your "prediction" on September 23, the day after CBS News obtained, and released, the final draft of the Pledge. Or because approximately 61,238 liberal bloggers and mainstream journalists already had reported that the document would keep to themes and avoid specifics. A prime example is the warning, in the subsection "Establish Operational Control of the Border," a section of "To keep our nation Secure At Home And Abroad" that

We must take action to secure our borders, and that action starts with enforcing our laws. We will ensure that the Border Patrol has the tools and authorities to establish operational control at the border and prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from interfering with Border Patrol enforcement activities on federal lands.

The GOP does not clarify "prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from interfering with Border Patrol enforcement activities on federal lands." Although there is no explanation, there might be unjustified "interference"- or it may be an attempt to foster fear of an unlikely eventuality, not unlike an imposition of sharia law that has Newt Gingrich in a lather.

Sometime during the past six weeks, perhaps those who framed this document forgot, as The New York Times then reported

President Barack Obama on Friday signed into law a $600 million bill to beef up security on the U.S. border with Mexico, and his aides pressed lawmakers to set aside election-year politics and work toward broader immigration reform.

With illegal immigration seen as a key issue in the November congressional elections, the Obama administration touted the border enforcement plan as laying the groundwork for a revived effort to overhaul the U.S. immigration system.

Congress passed the measure this week and sent it to Obama, who sought the extra funding amid complaints from southwestern U.S. states that the government was failing to seal the border from illegal immigrants and drug traffickers.

Less notable than what was said is what wasn't said. There was no mention of a (hard) border wall, deportation, or workplace enforcement. The GOP did not come out against comprehensive immigration reform, with or without a path to citizenship. Nor did it, oddly, voice support for Arizona's SB 1070, widely popular in a nation which sees it (accurately or otherwise) as a response to a federal government unable to control its borders. It may have been part of the GOP's avoidance strategy, or an aversion to risk any controversy on an issue the party once believed it could ride to electoral victory.

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