Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The President is out of touch

By Aussiegirl

In her usual gentle, yet incisive and unerring way, Peggy Noonan lays her finger on so much in this situation that feels so, so wrong, and is so upsetting. It does seem like the White House simply does not like the base and is trying to fire us. And Peggy gives two possible reasons for this action. A legacy of Hispanic voters grateful to a Republican party in the future (good luck, why is Kennedy so happy?) -- or, more likely, a sense of superiority and brotherhood with an elite that knows better than us mere underlings who have to live with these decisions and these immigrants. Tony Snow on a radio interview tonight said that the only thing that his neighbors complained about was the fact that the illegals coming to work in the neighborhood started work to early. The implication was clear - Americans are lazy. And when the host complained that his legal immigrant gardener had a hard time matching the prices of the ones that employed illegals, Tony scoffed and said "Are you opposed to low prices?" Sorry, Tony - that won't wash.

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan

Out of Touch
What the president's immigration speech and "The DaVinci Code" have in common.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

What was missing in the president's approach the other night was the expression, or suggestion, of context. The context was a crisis that had gone unanswered as it has built, the perceived detachment of the political elite from people on the ground, and a new distance between the president and his traditional supporters. The president would have done well to signal that he knew he was coming late to the party, as it were; that he'd come to rethink his previous stand, or lack of a stand, and had begun to consider whether there was not some justice in the views, and alarm, of others.

Without an established context the speech seemed free-floating: a statement issued into the ether, unanchored to any particular principle and eager to use, as opposed to appreciate, whatever human sentiment flows around the issue of immigration. It was a speech driven by an air of crisis, but not a public crisis, only a personal and political one. [...]

What was needed was a definitive statement: As of this moment we will control our borders, I'm sending in the men, I'm giving this the attention I've given to the Mideast. [....]
I continue to believe the administration's problem is not that the base lately doesn't like it, but that the White House has decided it actually doesn't like the base. That's a worse problem. It's hard to fire a base. Hard to get a new one.


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