Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The National Guard flipflop

What is it with President Bush and the National Guard, anyway? As a candidate, he got ambushed by all the reports about how he'd never finished his youthful tour of duty; and now, as president, his conservative base is skinning him alive for his largely symbolic decision to send a few thousand guardsmen to the border for backup duty.

Well, not to add to his woes on the Guard decision, but just take a look at these remarks, uttered last December on Fox News. The question, from Bill O'Reilly, was: Why not send National Guardsmen to the border to back up the border patrol?
Answer: "Well, the National Guard is really, first of all, not trained for that mission. I mean, the fact of the matter is the border is a special place. There are special challenges that are faced there...I think it would be a horribly over-expensive and very difficult way to manage the problem."

Care to guess who made those remarks?
The much-maligned Homeland Security director, Michael Chertoff.

So, on the issue of dispatching the Guard, I guess the administration was against it before they were for it.

The conservative activists don't mind the flipflop, per se. But they apparently detest the idea of sending only 6000 Guardsmen, which strikes them as wimpy and (the worst insult of all) "Clintonian." Some of today's highlights:

Mark Levin, a conservative legal activist, says today on his blog: "I didn't spend 35 years in the conservative movement for this. . . . This is pure idiocy, and (Bush's guest worker idea) has the potential of being far more damaging to this nation than any big-government power-grab perpetrated by any previous president and Congress."

Minneapolis lawyer and conservative blogger John Hinderaker: "He had his chance, and he blew it...President Bush doesn't have many chances left to salvage his second term. After (last night), he might not have any."

For a more complete roundup of today's right-wing Bush-bashing, check here and here.