The President’s Dogs Won’t Hunt

Political strategists have been burning the midnight oil to come up with ideas to shore up the president’s conservative base and win over fiscal conservatives in both parties who are troubled by the huge growth in federal spending under his watch.

This is the plan:

  1. Defend the Iraqi war policy.
  2. Call on the Senate to pass the constitutional amendment to defend the flag.
  3. Reassert conservative credentials on spending by calling on Congress to enact the cuts his budget experts previously laid out in social spending.
  4. Sell plan for a temporary-worker program in terms of border security rather than as a practical and compassionate way of extending legal status to undocumented workers.

It was foolhardy to sit back and allow the Iraqi War to be defined by one’s political opponents. The problem has grown larger with each passing month.

Bush based his reasons for going into Iraq solely on weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, there was a mountain of evidence that Saddam Hussein’s fingerprints were all over the first attack on the World Trade Center and the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City – facts carefully covered up or (charitably) blatantly ignored by the Clinton administration. Bush simply would not go there. It may now be too late.

Political strategists have been burning the midnight oil to come up with ideas to shore up the president’s conservative base and win over fiscal conservatives in both parties who are troubled by the huge growth in federal spending under his watch.

This is the plan:

  1. Defend the Iraqi war policy.
  2. Call on the Senate to pass the constitutional amendment to defend the flag.
  3. Reassert conservative credentials on spending by calling on Congress to enact the cuts his budget experts previously laid out in social spending.
  4. Sell plan for a temporary-worker program in terms of border security rather than as a practical and compassionate way of extending legal status to undocumented workers.

It was foolhardy to sit back and allow the Iraqi War to be defined by one’s political opponents. The problem has grown larger with each passing month.

Bush based his reasons for going into Iraq solely on weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, there was a mountain of evidence that Saddam Hussein’s fingerprints were all over the first attack on the World Trade Center and the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City – facts carefully covered up or (charitably) blatantly ignored by the Clinton administration. Bush simply would not go there. It may now be too late.

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While Americans have long supported a constitutional amendment to protect the flag, this is not why Americans are unhappy with Bush. It is ludicrous that two or three U.S. senators can keep this amendment from being handed off to the American people and their representatives in the state legislatures. However, even if this logjam can be broken, Bush won’t get credit for it. A proposed constitutional amendment does not need his signature. By the time it is ratified by three-fourths of the states, the part he played will be forgotten. It’s a waste of political capital and time.

The last two points in the plan are important. However, the strategy is all wrong.

Mr. President, here’s what the American people want you to do:

First: Veto a spending bill – any bill. It doesn’t matter what you veto. Just show your resolve. The public needs to know that balancing the budget and getting a handle on runaway spending are real priorities, not cheap rhetoric.

There is a huge case to be made for enacting cuts in social spending, as well as reforming Social Security and the tax code. However, you simply cannot begin there! You must first declare war on the two “bridges to nowhere” in Alaska and all other unnecessary spending, especially excessive pork-barrel spending. Demand rescissions! This means sticking your finger in the eye of prominent party leaders in the House and Senate who are responsible. It means vetoing the bills that contain the spending mechanisms or appropriations for this excess. Until you veto a bill, your conservative leg is a wooden leg and it can and will be kicked right out from under you.

Second: Scrap your temporary-worker program. GOP leaders railroaded delegates into putting this thing into the party platform. It is not popular. It was never popular.

Border security is a priority with the American people from all political stripes. However, in the war against terror, you put the cart before the horse. If your castle is under attack, pull up the drawbridge! It’s an old war strategy, but it’s a proven war strategy.

Then, round up the 10 to 15 million folks who don’t belong here and send them home. Don’t take in any more foreign students until the crisis is over. In fact, freeze legal immigration until the crisis is over. Put a system in place to track all foreign visitors to make sure that, when there time is up, they go home. Put a freeze on all foreign visits until this can be accomplished.

To be sure, these are harsh measures, but if this is a war, act like it! Then, and only then, will we believe you. If you want to win over the masses, this is where you must begin.

You will never sell us on the idea that opening the floodgates to hordes of new foreign workers somehow will lead to secure borders. Just secure the borders! It’s not rocket science. We’ve got troops defending the borders of South Korea; we need them here at home.

One last thing: Fire your political advisers. They are giving you bad advice. To put this in terms any southerner can understand, their dogs won’t hunt!

Think your poll numbers can’t go down any further? Just keep doing what you are doing and your will see them tank.

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