I love him; he’s like a little border-enforcing elf. He’s also one of nine signatories to Jim DeMint’s letter to Bush raising a point that’s been raised in the blogosphere this week: if the “grand compromisers” really do believe it’s important to close the border, if they’re not just paying lip service to the idea to sweeten the pot for conservatives wary of amnesty, then what’s stopping Bush from implementing the enforcement measures already authorized by current law? A show of good faith on this point would go a long way towards convincing us that this isn’t, in fact, a railroading a la 1986 or, worse, a type of legislative extortion, as Newt has suggested.
He needs 14 votes, assuming Jon Kyl does what’s expected and switches his vote against cloture from last week. DeMint says he won’t get them.
Update: Howard Fineman calls Bush a “hacendado” and displays some of that left-wing interpretive nuance that had Tony Blair in raptures earlier today:
As always, conservatives, who thrive on alienation, are spoiling for a fight. Now they have found it. Among the branch of conservatism fixed on “Us v Them” thinking, the enemy for decades was Communism. After the fall of The Wall, the “neocons” found a replacement Them in jihadist Islam. The old America-Firsters—what we used to call “isolationists,” who distrust foreign commitments—now have a homeland Them, in the form of 12-20 million illegal immigrants, most from Mexico.
The domestic neocons want a fence, a big and real one; they want illegals sent packing to the extent possible. Mostly they want leaders to express outrage and concern. And they aren’t a fringe; they form the core of the GOP.