What is it with our best-paid friends in the conservative media these days? They seem stuck on doom-and-gloom no matter the facts. Do they not know what is in the spending bill Congress just passed? Or is there just some playbook of pessimism they follow to keep their audiences? Or are they so lazy they just follow along with fake newscasters that since Trump is getting a mere bollard fence, it isn’t a “wall”, even though the Border Patrol experts favor this design, as it allows them to see through the other side for potential climbers? (I still kind of like Herman Cain’s electric fence, though)
Ann Coulter’s last column is typical, where she ridicules Mr. Trump’s OMB director for somehow agreeing not to build the Trump Wall in the just passed Continuing Resolution deal with Congress.
But in reality, there is plenty of money in this year’s CR as even one liberal source grudgingly confirmed for Trump’s border wall -- both to repair 20 miles of existing steel pedestrian barrier (important, as illegals have cut holes in the most desirable locations) and to replace another 20 miles of the worthless “vehicle barrier” with the good bollard designs. Many more miles will be added this fall as well when Congress does next year’s full budget.
What most people don’t know is that virtually all the 700 miles of the land border from San Diego to El Paso already has a fence. The problem is, only about half of that is the substantial kind, and the feds have only been slowly improving it. (Even President Obama upgraded miles of the insubstantial parts, but then lied about the extent of it.) Trump can finish this job in a few years and have a powerful barrier to entry at all the most important crossing regions.
The CR also has more money for the border in several other categories from drones to Coast Guard boats to more immigration judges and ICE interior enforcement.
This is a decent win for the Trump immigration policy which is already seeing big drops in illegal crossings and fewer illegals filing taxes to garner refundable tax credit money; something past administrations wouldn’t bother to check. If President Trump and AG Sessions keep up the good work with an “all-of-the-above” strategy throughout their time in office, we will finally get a handle on the illegal immigration problem, along with the attendant drugs and violent crimes.
Now, I have very modest hopes for Mr. Trump. I am sure his daughter and son-in-law will constantly be tugging his administration to the left. And none of us need George Will to discover how poorly read he is, or how unpolished his rhetoric can be. But he also has an effective “thinking out loud” style of communication that connects well with ordinary people and reveals a very American sort of optimism. A style that can keep adding to a voting coalition and make his administration a success.
But I am sorry to say similar optimism cannot be found among a lot of the “get-off-my-lawn” grumps who currently speak for American conservatives. Again, Ann Coulter, in her recent column complained of school choice as an “obsession of Washington wonks that is hated out in America.” Really? Certainly not with all the middle-class black parents who have fought so hard for it, or the massivemajority of millennials who know how bad public schools are today. School choice is how we finally get the toxic teachers’ unions out of the classrooms and Western Civilization back in. School choice and the accompanying parental responsibility is how we build strong families and break government dependency among minority and immigrant communities.
Conservatives who are interested in winning elections have to deal with the country as we find it. That means not abandoning principles, but doing a better job of bringing our ideas to a wider audience. Failure to do so is why the GOP is in such lousy shape in California. Even when we had Republican governors there, from Deukmejian to Schwarzenegger, they were too frightened to take on the public unions or do anything radical on schools. Worst of all was Pete Wilson’s Prop. 187 fiasco, that needlessly alienated so many first and second generation immigrants.
Now, I understand how the Hispanic immigrants to California the last decades were overwhelmingly poor and uneducated and thus highly attracted to the Democrats. But what about all those high-income, family-values Asians? They were loyal Republicans in the Age of Reagan, but their kids have left the GOP in this era of the sourpuss conservative.
Tucker Carlson is only a few years younger than Miss Coulter and lot of the other conservative commentariat but I notice on his Fox News show he has a much fresher take on the need for immigration enforcement, much of it based on the work of Harvard economist George Borjas. The professor maintains illegal immigration badly hurts the economic prospects of poor and minority American citizens who are here right now. That’s a powerful idea a lot more voters need to hear about in the next election. Not the sloppy analysis of a four-month continuing resolution.