October 21, 2010
As we all remember, the question of illegal immigration reached a fever pitch back in the Spring of 2006.
The situation exacerbated after the job market further deteriorated in late 2005, as the price of oil reached $92 per barrel.
Tempers were hot to be sure.
Things didn’t get much better as the housing market collapsed and the “democracy in Iraq” floundered after the massive wave of suicide bombers from Iran infiltrated. I still have nightmares about that damned gloating Osama video after that final devastating wave of bombs.
And, of course, George W. Bush did not make things any better with his choices of Alberto Gonzales as Supreme Court Chief Justice and his replacement of Justice O’Conner with Harry Reid of Nevada.
Democrats rejoiced as the GOP imploded, bitter and divisive, into the 2006 elections.
Illegal immigration had only been the first spark in the GOP’s fall from power. But the fervor continued to build, as conservatives and other citizens realized that Bush MEANT to allow the illegals into the country.
Some speculated that Bush was attempting to help his corporate buddies water down wages and benefits, others saw a master plan to integrate the nations of Mexico and Canada with the United States, still others believed that it was a political plan to gain voters for both parties.
We know now (thanks to Dubya’s book) that it was for all three reasons.
As constituents across the country reacted to the invasion from the south by contacting their representatives, I remember being amazed at Bush’s tin ear on the issue. It sure did seem that Bush was telling his conservative base to, well, “piss up a rope.”
Congress-critters and US senators – ever mindful of vengeance from voters back home – caught on (albeit, far too late) that they could be in trouble if they followed the president’s lead on the issue and allowed the invasion to continue without a semblance of action.
Now it’s easy to see that what happened is what always happens with any issue: The elected paid lip service to an issue, in the hope that it would go away, only to hurry and catch up to their promises after the voters deluged them with warnings and threats.
And that’s what finally happened. The issue of illegal immigration did not “go away.”
I couldn’t believe that Bush DID NOT seem to catch on. All the while he kept harping on how “helpless” the US was to act and how “wonderful” the ones who were crossing illegally into the US were. He even regurgitated his famous catch phrase of “they are only performing the jobs Americans don’t want to do.”
Later, members of his own party who were promoting the border legislation were shocked when Bush referred to them as “amotinadors.”
Senators and Congressman – under growing outrage from constituents – angrily answered Bush with “simplÃ?Â³n.”
Bush countered with “tostadora,” which confused everyone at odds with him.
Although it was late it’s apparent now that the House and the Senate were miles ahead on the issue compared to the president, and legislation for action began appearing in debate.
Bush threatened to veto.
In his now-legendary speech in Spanish to America’s Hispanic population, he promised aid against “the vigilantes.” He promised a new department to deal with Hispanics that would put them on the fast-track to “ciudadanÃ?Âa.”
This move only served to further outrage those wanting “border security.”
Into the campaign season the issue continued to ratchet up, as Bush stalled those attempting to make headway. The Democrats salivated at the implosion in the GOP and even began to integrate the issue of illegal immigration into their rhetoric, which garnered increases in the polls due to the citizens’ desire to see it addressed by any means.
Meanwhile, conservatives – still angered by the Supreme Court debacles – began to turn on the president in droves. Many threatened to stay home or vote for a third-party on election day.
Bush picked that precise moment for a visit to Mexico, where he planned to promote his original plan to allow “temporary-workers” to apply for US citizenship.
It was while Bush was on his “Helping-Hand in the Americas” tour when the horrid “May Day Attacks” occurred in Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago, killing 27,629 people.
Bush’s appearance at Chicago Shriners Hospital, with the children as a backdrop, rang hallow for many.
As the death toll mounted from the vicious germ attacks – and it was learned that members of the “Al Qaeda-America” group had been the perpetrator, supplied and directed across the easily-accessible US border by agents in South America and by mercenaries with ties to a violent MEChA group – the public’s outrage at the border situation reached critical mass.
What was left of the president’s support evaporated and Democrats called for investigations and even impeachment. The president hunkered-down for this event… left with no country to blame except his pals in Mexico (which he stubbornly refused to do) and no person such as Osama to attack in retaliation.
Bush’s popularity rating dipped to the low 20s in percentage.
The Democrats were able to make hay with the issue all the way up to the elections and were able to capture both houses, as those who were even perceived to be supporting Bush suffered at the hands of voters.
I still remember that particular famous commercial: The countless body bags with the quote superimposed over the scenes in the three cities, “we’re fighting in Iraq so we won’t have to fight here at home.”
That was damned effective.
On through 2007 and into 2008 the recriminations flew, the hearings commenced, the Democrat majority in Congress passed legislation and the White House “negotiated.”
The president suffered still more setbacks during this time, unrelated to border security… the “Halliburton Hearings” and Dick Cheney’s resignation. Bush was further humiliated when he lost the Supreme Court decision that disallowed him from letting Alberto Gonzales serve as Supreme Court Chief Justice and vice-president simultaneously (Gonzales was forced to recuse himself in advance of the 8-0 decision).
Some immediate relief to the border situation was finally passed and even signed by Bush in early 2007 with the “Patriot-Security Act”… which DID place many National Guard troops, returned from Iraq, on the border as they were allowed to “volunteer” for border security. The Minuteman Project grew to a formidable force politically as many citizen-volunteers joined and donations poured in from concerned citizens.
As the Democrats further entrenched themselves, heading into the election of 2008 – and as Americans were lured by the belief that they were at least “doing something” about the problem – the GOP continued its fracturing and I pondered just what it was that started this roller coaster, ending with the failed Bush Presidency.
Why had conservatives pinned their hopes on a Republican who demonstrated no conservative leanings? How had they not recognized the problem before the death of the conservative movement and before those who had believed in them ended up leaving for the Constitution and Libertarian Parties? How had conservatives lost the ones who now found it futile to support them?
At least the nation didn’t have to endure another impeachment proceeding, even though everyone knew who was to blame. That was something at least. No… Bush ceded any semblance of governing from a conservative standpoint and handed the Democrats everything they asked for during the rest of his term; the beginning of nationalized health care, the slow and agonizing pullout from Iraq… the “Partial Tax Rollback for the Rich.”
The Democrats weren’t grateful for these retreats, of course, and the Democrat leaders in the House and Senate kept the fires stoked with May Day hearings and panels and threats all the way through the Summer and up to the election.
The further deterioration of the economy, the deficit, the wars and subsequent smaller terror attacks all took their toll on a president who never had listened to any conservative voice from his own party or any other source.
This, naturally, led to the wholesale electoral slaughter in the 2008 Presidential Election, as no GOP candidate asked for or wanted support from “Borderless George.”
As I look back now I wonder what conservatives could have been thinking by supporting Bush and his double-speaking, corporate-backing, one-world agenda. And, then, there’s all those things he put into place that are now being used against us; Homeland Security, The Patriot Act, The Religious Initiative, etc.
Those, of course, need to be overcome somehow. But, I don’t see how it’s possible to accomplish this in the same country that now outlaws speaking of God and religion in public, allows Gay Marriage, has termed the Boy Scouts a “racist organization” and has declared that Aztlan has “a fundamental right to exist” (thank you Chief Justice Gonzales and Justices Reid and Souter).
I wonder if there will ever be another “conservative movement” again.
Frankly, as the crackdowns on “right-wing extremism” and “domestic terrorism” continue…
I don’t believe President Hillary will tolerate any more of that nonsense.