Bait and Switch (Great Wall edition)
It looks like it's not a not a good week to be a Minuteman or Minuteman sympathizer (Minnie-symp?). Not because those kids at Columbia were mean to Aliso Viejo's own Minute-Grand Wizard Jim Gilchrist– when you're working the xenophobia racket, you really don't expect to get much love from Ivy League ephebes– but because their champions in Congress are playing them for chumps.
The Washington Monthly's Political Animal (and Irvine's own) Kevin Drum explains:
I see that the Republican Party is busily continuing its usual electoral strategy: pretending to pander to the base during election years but simultaneously doing their best not to actually deliver anything. It might lose them votes elsewhere, after all:
No sooner did Congress authorize construction of a 700-mile fence on the U.S.-Mexico border last week than lawmakers rushed to approve separate legislation that ensures it will never be built….
Shortly before recessing late Friday, the House and Senate gave the Bush administration leeway to distribute the money to a combination of projects — not just the physical barrier along the southern border. The funds may also be spent on roads, technology and "tactical infrastructure" to support the Department of Homeland Security's preferred option of a "virtual fence."
….In this case, it also reflects political calculations by GOP strategists that voters do not mind the details, and that key players — including the administration, local leaders and the Mexican government — oppose a fence-only approach, analysts said.
Hooray! The rubes, who party bigwigs hope aren't "minding the details," think they're getting something like the Great Wall of China, but in reality they'll get a few miles of showpiece fortification plus a billion dollars worth of "tactical infrastructure" and "virtual fence."
Sorry, Minnie-symps. Maybe if you dangled a few alluring young pages in front of your Republican allies, they might… no, I guess now would not be the best time to try that strategy.