So…after again behaving with arrogance during a private meeting with Senate Republicans yesterday, and giving them the impression that he wasn’t interested in sending troops to help secure our southern border, President Obama waltzed out of the room and immediately announced that he’s sending up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the border as well and $500 million for “enhanced border protection and law enforcement.”

He hadn’t said a word to the Republicans, even though they had been discussing this very thing with him. In fact, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said that he and Sen, McCain (R-AZ) had told Obama that McCain was introducing an amendment that very day that would send 6,000 National Guard troops to the border and would be paid for with unspent stimulus money.

 “Sen. McCain spoke to it…and then I stood up. One of the things I said was we were going to the floor in a few minutes to request additional money for sending troops to the border. But that was the end of the conversation.”

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), who described the meeting as “testy,” said the president

wasn’t embracing” the call to secure the bordersbefore pressing forward with a comprehensive immigration policy overhaul.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) put it a little more bluntly:

“The more he talked, the more he got upset. He needs to take a valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans and just calm down, and don’t take anything so seriously. If you disagree with someone, it doesn’t mean you’re attacking their motives — and he takes it that way and tends then to lecture and then gets upset.”

What?  What is wrong with Obama?  Maybe the Republicans weren’t questioning his motives, but I sure am. Why doesn’t he seem able to sit at a table with his opponents and behave with any kind of openness and sincerity?

The last time he has a real meeting with Republicans, he did the same thing.  He goes in, puts on an anemic show of bipartisanship, all the while arrogantly keeping Republicans at arms length - and making sure he doesn’t do anything that will give them any credit.  So insecure in his authority, he is loathe to give any appearance that he’s not totally in control. So he leaves the meeting intending to do only that which will prove to Americans that he’s the one on top.  

Last time, after the health care ‘summit’, he continued on with his own plans despite every good idea and point made by his opposition.  This time, it was “get to the people and announce a border guard surge before McCain gets to the Senate floor.”

His announcement came just as several Republican border security amendments, including McCain’s, were being introduced on the Senate floor. Amazing…

McCain, whose re-election depends on appearing firmly conservative, said from the floor that he appreciates Obama’s decision …but there needs to be more.

“I think it is a recognition of the violence on the border which has been really beyond description in some respects,” McCain said. “But it’s simply not enough.”

But will his “surge” do any good?

A White House official, who claimed Obama’s announcement was “part of his comprehensive plan to secure the southwest border,” has confirmed that the National Guard will “provide intelligence, surveillance,” “training capacity” and support for “reconnaissance” and “counter narcotics enforcement” until more Border Patrol officers can be hired. The additional funds are to improve security technology and increase the number of agents, investigators and prosecutors for the area.

Essentially, according to Sen. Jon Kyl, (R-AZ),

…”the 1,200 border patrol troops are, in effect, desk jobs…They aren’t boots on the ground at the border, they were not intended to be deployed to the border.  Rather they’ll be investigating, administrative support, maybe training. Now that’s all fine…but the real value of the National Guard is to be seen.”

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer gave a response that we hope Obama can learn from; she spoke with courtesy  regarding the deployment, even though he is an opponent and has mocked her, and even though it’s obvious the deployment is simply a political gesture. She applauded his plan as a “very significant and important shift in the president’s immigration and border security policy.”

“I am pleased that President Obama has now, apparently, agreed that our nation must secure the border to address rampant border violence and illegal immigration without other pre-conditions, such as passage of ‘comprehensive immigration reform…I am anxious to hear of the details that have not yet been disclosed of where, how, and for how long additional forces will be deployed.  With the accountability of this election year, I am pleased and grateful that at long last there has been a partial response from the Obama administration to my demands that Washington do its job.”

But the CATO Institute had no trouble summing it up;

President Obama is deploying 1,200 National Guard troops to the border and requesting $500 million more for border security. With due respect to Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, who want even more troops and money, this approach is neither here nor there. (And it echoes Obama’s split-the-baby decision on Afghanistan, not willing to go for a whole-hog escalation but also not willing to rethink the overall policy.) Half-measures won’t do it here, Mr. President (and Congress). If you lack the heart (or have too much of a brain) for a full wall-and-militarization of our southern border — and perhaps mass rounding up and deportation of 12 million people — it’s time for a fundamental reorganization of the immigration system.

U.S. immigration (non-)policy is nonsensical and unworkable. We’re beyond the point of perestroika; it’s time for regime change.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, (D-AZ), who, with others, had requested more border security after a rancher, Robert Krentz, was murdered in March by an illegal immigrant, kept her party face on and praised Obama for the deployment. She said that Arizona residents,

“… know that more boots on the ground means a safer and more secure border. Washington heard our message.”

Apparently no one told her that those boots won’t actually be on the ground.

Lisa Blogs at Mid-West Voting Mom

Quotes from – May 25, 2010

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