A tale of two speeches

President Bush delivered two speeches for the price of one tonight. The second of his speeches pertained to the war on terror. It was a serious and well thought-out exposition. Bush again demonsrated that he understands what’s at stake in this war and how the various pieces fit together. He cogently explained why 2005 was a good year, why 2006 was a bad year, and why he’s decided to proceed as he intends to do in 2007.
The speech isn’t going to win over Democrats. They could hardly be arsed to applaud his call for us to “succeed” in Iraq, though they gave a standing ovation when the president asked for support of our troops. Apparently, the Dems support our troops while being indifferent to whether they succeed. The speech will also fail to move the American people; only good results in Iraq will accomplish that, assuming those results are fairly reported. Still, it’s reassuring to know that, for the next two years at least, the war on terror will be led by someone who understands it.
The other speech was about domestic policy. As usual with Bush, it was a mixed bag. And as will be the case from now on, only the bad parts matter because only they have a chance to be enacted. Tonight, it was the portion on immigration reform that mattered. The president called on Congress to “resolve the status of illegal aliens already in the country.” However, their status has already been resolved — they are illegal aliens. What Bush wants to do is permit them to change that status (and not by leaving the country). But why should we do that? Bush did not say. Those who broke our laws and entered the U.S. illegally had no reasonable expectation that they would ever become citizens — they decided that it was worth it to come and remain here without that enhanced status. Why then should we improve upon a bargain that was good enough when made and which the illegals could reverse by simply leaving the country?
Right now, we can’t control whether folks come into the country illegally; our only control consists of making sure that those who do so cannot profit to extent of becoming citizens. Until we prove that we can control our borders, it would be foolish to relinquish that control. But that’s what Bush and the Dems likely will do.
UPDATE: There were two important lines about Iraq that Speaker Pelosi (along with many her Democratic colleagues) declined to applaud at all. One was the president’s call for us to “find our resolve, and turn events toward victory.” The other was his statement that “nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East [and] to succeed in Iraq.”
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