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Savvy Politicians and politics

Liza Mundy on the political background of Barack Obama. Just a great piece of journalism! This random youtube video from a news network shows why Obama is so deft politically: shooting a free throw, and turning an interview question about basketball  into a pitch for better schools. Score!

Have I indicated a preference for president on the blog? I’m a fan of foreign policy wonk Chris Dodd and generally support Obama. But every time I tune on the presidential debates, I decide that Ms. Clinton would also make a fine candidate. Here’s Chris Rock’s take (from SNL) on the Obama vs. Clinton thing.

David Sirota has the best tactic for a legislative push to remove troops from Iraq: redeploy National Guard to defend our borders:

Think for a moment about which issue Republicans have been trying to one-up and out-conservative each other on…Got it in your head? Right – it’s illegal immigration. On that issue, the least offensive Republican proposal from a racist/xenophobic perspective has been the effort to beef up border security. A look at recent congressional votes shows that beefing up border security has the widest bipartisan support among all the immigration-related proposals being considered.

So here’s the concept (which, though I’m not 100 percent sure, I don’t think has been tried yet in Congress): How about when Congress reconvenes in September, Democrats bring a bill to the floor of the House and Senate mandating that, say, 25,000 National Guardsmen be taken out of combat in Iraq and be immediately redeployed to guard America’s porous domestic borders – both southern and northern? If Democrats wanted to get even more creative, they could additionally mandate that some of these National Guardsmen being redeployed be immediately sent to forest fire emergency zones – many of which are in Republican states right now.

Think this through for a moment. All of a sudden, the illegal-immigration-obsessed Tom Tancredo wing of the Republican Party, which also happens to be the most reflexively pro-war wing of the GOP, would be forced to choose either the Iraq War or beefed up border security. All of a sudden, we would be having a debate about two very real, very pressing priorities, rather than theoreticals and hypotheticals, and we would be discussing exactly how the misuse of our National Guard as a wing of the regular Army harms our ability to deal with the domestic challenges the National Guard was originally established to deal with.

With the war so unpopular, far-right, law-and-order, “tough on immigration” conservatives would be hard-pressed to vote against this kind of bill, potentially providing a veto-proof majority in support of it. And if they didn’t vote for it, Democrats would have a flip-flop campaign ad all set for 2008. You can just hear the voiceover: “The Republicans who told us they support border security voted against Democrats’ bill to secure our borders.”

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Brian 8/24/2007, 2:09 pm

    Maybe I’m not Republican enough – deploying troops on the border in the manner implied is dumb.

    25,000 troops is five brigades, give or take. Call it two divisions. Are we going to line them up in a defensive posture as if they’re expecting the Warsaw Pact? Setup patrol bases and run Cav patrols on the border?

    Canada? Say farewell to a centuries long tradition of an open border.

    It also ignores that the problem isn’t one of ‘porous borders’ but also laws and customs in the interior.

    Smart pols on the Right are going to go into depth on this one – if it’s deployed – and tear it shreds and make the guys proposing this look like tools.

  • Robert Nagle 8/24/2007, 5:47 pm

    Of course, having troops stationed here for internal security is not exactly reassuring to Americans either.

    Let’s give the National Guard members a choice: would they prefer to be in Iraq or to occupy some lonely position on the Canadian border?

    I have never seen so many people afraid of being called “cut and run-ers.”

    Mark Kleiman wrote : “More Iraqis will probably die of violence just after a U.S. withdrawal than are dying violently now,” but “that’s not a good enough reason to hang around, unless at some point it stops being true: that six months, or a year, or two years, or five years from now we would be able to withdraw and not have civil war and massacre follow. If all we’re spending blood and treasure on is postponing a catastrophe we can’t prevent, the “humanitarian” argument against a fairly rapid withdrawal collapses.”

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