Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It Pays To Gripe!

Anyone who enters the United States illegally should be expelled without exception, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a Senate hearing today.

"Our goal at DHS is to completely eliminate the 'catch and release' enforcement problem, and return every single illegal entrant, no exceptions," he said.

"It should be possible to achieve significant and measurable progress to this end in less than a year."

{Read Full Story Here}

Ever since President Bush nominated the stealthy Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, conservatives have been in an uproar! "WHY?" chimed the Right! "Why did the President need to nominate a stealth candidate to the Supreme Court when Republicans control the Senate?" In the wake of the John Roberts confirmation, the President proved that Republicans no longer need to settle for stealth candidates. They can nominate judges with proven conservative track records, display them for all the world to see in the confirmation hearings, steamroll over the Democratic opposition, and get them confirmed. So why all the stealth now? Harriet Miers was a complete nobody in the political world. Her positions are largely unknown. The last time a Republican President nominated a stealth candidate to the Supreme Court we got David Souter, a liberal activist. In other words, conservatives have been burned before.

So in light of this history, conservatives hit the airwaves on talk radio from coast to coast. What initially began as a gripe session about the Harriet Miers nomination quickly degenerated into a full blown Bush-bashing blowout! Conservative talk-show hosts and callers voiced every frustration they had with the Bush administration from education reform to the new Medicare drug entitlements. For five years conservatives bit their tongues, knowing that any criticism of Bush might jeopardize his reelection, and conservatives needed that reelection in 2004 because Bush promised to nominate strict constructionists (i.e. "conservatives") to the U.S. Supreme Court. Everything hinged on those nominations. So conservatives kept it zipped when Bush got squishy on core conservative issues. With the Roberts nomination, it seemed that their silence was beginning to pay off. They got the best Supreme Court nominee they could possibly ask for. Anticipation mounted as conservatives awaited Bush's second Supreme Court nomination. Who would it be? Would it be Priscilla Owens? Would it be Edith Jones? No. Bush stunned conservatives by nominating his personal lawyer Harriet Miers. For many, that was the last straw! Conservatives have waited years for this moment! It seemed that everything they've worked to coordinate since the 1994 takeover of Congress was thrown to chance in the form of a stealth nominee to the Supreme Court. It was like the nomination of David Souter all over again! Conservatives were fed up, and so they complained, and complained, and complained! Some conservative radio talk-show hosts tried to stay above the fray, others joined right in. For a whole week it was a conservative Bush Bash-O-Rama! Chief among all of the complaints was Bush's lack of boarder security in the war on terror. Yes, that age-old problem of illegal immigration surfaced again, and in this post 9-11 world, it has become a matter of national security. This one thing all conservative Bush critics had in common. "Why hasn't Bush sealed our porous boarder with Mexico!?!" It was the one common thread of complaint that tied all the conservative Bush bashing together.

For the first time in at least ten years, conservatives were flexing their muscles again. They began demanded that Republicans in the Whitehouse and the Congress start acting like Republicans again by appeasing their conservative base. Is it no wonder that on the same day the Bush administration decided to "relaunch" the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, it simultaneously sent Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to the Senate with an important message. "Our goal at DHS is to completely eliminate the 'catch and release' enforcement problem, and return every single illegal entrant, no exceptions."

The Whitehouse strategy worked. Conservative talk shows all across America quickly focused in on this historic 180 degree turn in national boarder policy. The Whitehouse was throwing conservatives a bone to gnaw on -- and what a mighty large bone it was! This has been a pet peeve of conservatives for years. It's been four years since 9-11, and the Bush administration has done virtually nothing on this issue. Now, when the administration is in danger of loosing its base, this suddenly becomes a central issue.

All I can say is THANK GOD! Finally, it looks like a major national security flaw, and enormous economic drain, is going to be fixed. It's about time! Granted, it does look like this decision was politically motivated, but that's okay, because it was the right decision. America will be stronger and safer because of it. We still need to watch and make sure the administration follows through with action, because actions speak louder than words. Yet, there is a lesson to be learned in all of this. If you're a conservative, it pays to gripe so long as Republicans are in power.