Is Bush going to veto the border fence? Update: Bill not formally presented yet; Update: Mexico to take up fence with UN?

Kaus explains it all to you.

Not that it matters. As previously reported, they’ve loaded up the appropriations bill with so many loopholes that they won’t have to build it even if he does sign.

In which case, why doesn’t he sign? Why would he do something as insanely antagonistic to his own base as torpedoing what’s already only a cosmetic gesture towards border security? It can’t be for Hispanic votes; the number of Republican voters he’d alienate by vetoing the bill would surely outnumber the Latino voters he’d pick up.

Captain Ed unpacks the legal nuances — in a nutshell, the current congressional recess is sufficiently short that the bill might be deemed passed, not vetoed, due to Bush’s inaction — but that’s besides the point. I’m with Derbyshire: if Bush insists on doing Mexico’s bidding again, if he can’t bring himself to endorse even a symbolic measure of border enforcement, then I hereby swear before the Hot Air readership that I’ll vote a straight Democratic ticket next month. I live in New York so it won’t matter, but one symbolic turn deserves another.

Update: Rob Port says this is the last day for Bush to sign before the pocket veto takes effect. Assuming that a pocket veto is what we’re dealing with here. Like I said, read Captain Ed for the nuance.

Update: Enough’s enough says the boss, who doesn’t want to say “I told you so” but…

Actually, I think she does want to say it.

Update: Patrick Ruffini says Bush will sign the bill. Yeah? When?

Update: Hold the phone. Has the bill been formally presented to Bush for signing yet? Reader Brian F. e-mails:

You will not see an announcement of a signing today. The bill has not been presented to the White House yet. The Constitution gives the President ten days to sign a bill after presentation. At “presentation” is explained: “In actual practice, the Clerk, or the Secretary of the Senate when the bill originated in that body, delivers the original enrolled bill to a clerk at the White House and obtains a receipt. The fact of the delivery is then reported to the House by the Clerk. Delivery to a White House clerk has customarily been regarded as presentation to the President and as commencing the 10-day constitutional period for presidential action.”

As of three minutes ago, reports the results for HR.6061 as “9/29/2006 Passed/agreed to in Senate. Status: Passed Senate without amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 80 – 19. Record Vote Number: 262.” The bill has not been officially/legally “presented” to the White House so the ten day clock has not started. I suspect the President is waiting for a more politically opportune time to sign this, closer to the election.

I think he’s right. Here’s the page at Thomas for H.R. 5631, the appropriations bill that Bush has already signed. Formal presentation is noted on September 29. Compare and contrast with H.R. 6061, the Secure Fence Act. No presentation yet. I don’t think he’s on the clock yet.

Update: Does Mexico have the stones to refer the border fence to the United Nations? Let’s hope so. Nothing, but nothing, would undermine American support for the UN as much as that usurpation of national sovereignty would.

Update: Captain Ed confirms with a Hill staffer that the GOP has delayed presenting the fence bill for signature until later this month for maximum electoral effect.

So we’ll get our symbolic gesture towards border security after all. Victory!