Rove & Co. have apparently decided that calling out the National Guard to patrol the southern border is the magic bullet that will reverse Bush’s dive-bombing poll numbers. Presumably they’re counting on the press to ignore the embarrassing fact that — in stunning contradiction to Bush’s current crisis emphasis on the border control problem — a mere 15 months ago he actually cut 9,790 new border patrol agents from the budget.
I wish I had more faith than I do that they’re wrong about the press.
Still, either way my prediction is that this whole thing is going to bomb politically:
First, people are acutely aware of how overworked National Guard units are today due to Bush’s Iraqi disaster. Piling on additional burdens will strike a large percentage of the population, including segments of society normally supportive of the GOP, as just plain wrong.
Second, just how many times do these people think they can get away with proposing what is obviously a political stunt in response to a real problem? This one will be a stunt too far.
Third, Bill Frist clearly thinks it’s good politics, so it’s virtually certain to be a political disaster:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he supported using the National Guard on the Mexican border. He said lawmakers who doubt that the National Guard, whose members have served for years in Iraq and went to the Gulf Coast after last summer’s hurricanes, could take on border patrol duty are “whining” and “moaning.”
I won’t guarantee what the instant polls will show (presumably, based upon recent experience, the Washington Post will come out with one favorable to Bush taken even before the plan is announced). But over the slightly longer haul, as all the problems this idiotic proposal would entail come to light, it will turn into yet another Bush political dog.
I really do think these guys have lost their touch.