In a far-too-late attempt to shore up his conservative base ahead of the 2006 massacre, President Bush sent 6,000 National Guard troops to the Mexican border, but placed major limits on what they could do. Now, with the immigration debate hot again because of the Arizona bill, President Obama is making a similar move and is sending 1,200 National Guard troops.
Even The Associated Press is reporting on the similarities:
“The 6,000 troops who were sent by President George W. Bush to the border from June 2006 to July 2008 were generally credited within law enforcement circles as having helped improve border security, but restrictions placed on the soldiers were denounced by advocates for tougher enforcement who are now leveling similar objections at Obama’s plan.
Some law enforcement officials along the border said they worry that Obama will repeat Bush’s mistake by limiting the troops to support roles, such as conducting surveillance and installing lighting, rather than letting them make arrests and confront smugglers.”
The very name of the National Guard proves that this is a task that they should be performing if Customs and Border Protection is unable. In a post-9/11 world, it is simply unthinkable that the border would be left open as it currently is—well, I guess it’s unthinkable until you think of the GOP’s need to win Hispanic votes. With the minority vote growing so quickly, and the Caucasian vote divided between the two parties, the GOP’s survival actually depends upon making progress among Hispanics.
It’s a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation for GOP politicians. If they do nothing, as Bush did, the conservative base will justifiably scream at them. If they do something, they contribute to a loss of support among Hispanics that not only threatens their careers, but the fate of their party. Man, I love not being a politician!