Bush Administration To Pander To Republican Base With Border Fence Ceremony

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Thursday morning, the American people will be treated to what I'm sure will be live news coverage of President Bush signing a bill authorizing a 700-mile fence of the U.S. - Mexican border.

The administration, which favors a more measured approach to border security has apparently decided it would be best to pander to the republican base with a public signing ceremony of this controversial bill less that two weeks before the election.

"The American people demand a secure border, and this Republican Congress has responded to the American people's demand for a secure border by increasing the physical barriers and infrastructure along the border and by providing state of the art monitoring technology," House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, said in a joint statement trumpeting the bill's official transmission yesterday morning.

They had held onto the bill in order to guarantee Mr. Bush's signature closer to the election, when it would have the biggest impact. Aides said they were also holding out for a signing ceremony, to use the presidential pulpit for maximum attention.

All this despite the Department of Homeland Security and Administration estimates that only 370 miles of fence will cover the border when coupled with ground radar, sensors, and manpower.

"You talk to the members of Congress about the 700 miles, and there's not a single member who can give you a plausible explanation of how they arrived at 700 miles," a senior administration official told The Washington Times last week. "We'll build every mile of fence that is useful and necessary to build, and if they tell us to build 700, we'll find a way to build 700 miles of fence, but let's not kid ourselves."

Make no mistake about it, this is a PR stunt.


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