Via the Corner, he’s a little cranky today.
McCain goes after Neb Sen Deb Fischer on border security: "She's so ill-informed…I don't know where to begin."
— Todd Zwillich (@toddzwillich) June 25, 2013
This “Berlin Wall” talking point is a clever one for two reasons. One: It signals to amnesty shills that McCain and the Gang of Eight are still on their side, even though they’ve grudgingly agreed to extra border security to please wary conservatives in the House. By choosing this point of reference, he’s presenting the Corker/Hoeven border measures as something essentially sinister; he goes so far as to say that their amendment is “well over sufficient” in terms of how it’ll improve security, which is odd given that CBO estimated the original Gang of Eight bill would reduce illegal immigration by only 25 percent over the next decade. If he was desperate for a reference point he could have chosen Israel’s security fence instead, which is also an imperfect analogy but not as imperfect as maybe he’d like to think. Bottom line: The bill now contains all the improvements a border hawk could ever dream of and more, so how about shutting up and passing the bill through the House?
Two: He’s inadvertently revealing one of the core problems with Corker/Hoeven here. The reason Democrats preferred that amendment to Cornyn’s (also imperfect) amendment is that Cornyn demanded specific quantifiable results in border improvement. Corker/Hoeven doesn’t demand results, it demands greater resources for the problem, most conspicuously in hiring thousands more Border Patrol agents. Ask any border hawk whether they’d rather have a “militarized” border that still allows one or two million illegals through each year or some demilitarized means that keeps all but a few thousand out and they’ll choose the latter every time. If you’d rather throw resources at a problem than demand a solution by whatever means, then you probably also think the “solution” to a new terrorist attack is to hire more TSA agents and stick them at airport checkpoints. That might help at the margins, but it’s in no real sense a carefully thought through response. It’s a political solution insofar as it shows the public that the feds are willing to Do Something, even if what they’re doing won’t end up finally fixing what’s broken. Same here: Democrats categorically refuse to accept hard numerical targets that would make stages of legalization dependent upon actual results at the border, but they’ll happily throw more agents and drones at it if that’ll buy them Republican votes. That’s what McCain’s selling here. We’ll have a militarized border now, even if that doesn’t considerably slow the flow of illegals. What more do you wingnuts want?
Exit flashback quotation: “I am confident that Deb Fischer will reach across the aisle, because if we are in the majority, we will be able to change things.”