Sunday, May 27, 2007

Giving the President His Props

I was home sick the other day and had the opportunity to watch President Bush conduct his apparently 35th (according to CNN) press conference in the Rose Garden outside the White House (transcript available).

I was not surprised at all at his continued stubborn insistence in the belief that the world is safer without Saddam in it (it's not; see "Iraq"), nor his repeated attempts to link 9/11 to the need for the Iraq invasion (there are no such links, though he's done a good job of giving al Qaeda an opportunity now to set up camp in Iraq).

Where I was pleasantly surprised, though, is in some of the language that he was using (I think for the first time in some cases) to praise some of the elements of the Iraq Study Group Report and in even (I couldn't even believe my ears) liking to "see us in a different configuration at some point in time in Iraq". I'm not saying "we've turned the corner" on Bush's Iraq policy, but I was at least heartened by the slight change in tone.

Where I think the President deserves the most credit, though, is in actually making some articulate, reasoned arguments for a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Here's a sample:
People will come here to do work to feed their families, and they'll figure out ways to do so. As a result of people wanting to come here to do work to feed their families, there is an underground industry that has sprung up that I think is essentially anti-humanitarian. It is an industry based upon coyotes -- those are smugglers. Good, hardworking, decent people pay pretty good size money to be smuggled into the United States of America.

There is a document forgery industry in America. There are people who are willing to stuff people inside temporary shelter in order for them to evade the law. I don't think this is American. I think the whole industry that exploits the human being is not in our nation's interests. And the best way to deal with this problem is to say, if you're going to come and do jobs Americans aren't doing, here is a opportunity to do so, on a temporary basis.

I would much rather have people crossing the border with a legitimate card, coming to work on a temporary basis, than being stuffed in back of an 18-wheeler. And I would hope most Americans feel that, as well.

I'm not saying President Bush has all the answers, or that there are not serious flaws in the immigration bill that need to be addressed. I'm just saying that at least on one issue, President Bush has taken the time to think about some of the alternatives, and has realized and articulated that the ones espoused by the most conservative people on this issue in Congress are simply not workable. Hopefully some of those conservatives were listening.

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