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Fred Barnes: Losing Friends and Influence (President Bush misjudges immigration and the ports issue)
The Weekly Standard ^ | March 6, 2006 | Fred Barnes

Posted on 02/25/2006 2:30:07 PM PST by RWR8189

Like few presidents before him, President Bush was poised for a consequential and potentially quite successful second term. It hasn't worked out that way (so far). Bush made one strategic error in 2005, guessing wrongly that the country was adult and serious enough to reform Social Security. Now he faces at least two immediate challenges: immigration and the Dubai ports flap.

Let's start with immigration, which the Senate is slated to take up in late March. On immigration, Bush is not a conventional conservative or any other kind of conservative. His instinct is to sympathize with immigrants. Bush believes that whether they come to the United States legally or illegally, they come for the right reasons, chiefly for economic opportunity and the chance to shape their own destiny in life.

This has put the president deeply at odds with most Republicans in Congress and the army of conservative talk radio hosts and their listeners around the country. They regard Bush as a slacker on immigration. Their primary aim is to tighten security along the border with Mexico. And the legislation that passed the House last December would do exactly that, partly by erecting a 700-mile wall.

Bush had little influence in the House debate, though he wound up endorsing the measure. His mistake was having proposed in 2004, as his first major immigration initiative, a program to allow illegal immigrants to work legally in this country. Most Republicans and conservatives want stepped-up border security to come first. They're skeptical, at best, about a "guest worker" program.

Bush invited members of Congress and his cabinet, plus leaders of Hispanic groups, to his speech at the White House in January 2004 calling for more immigration into the United States. "The citizenship line . . . is too long and our current limits on legal immigration are too low," he said. But he devoted most of his address to illegal immigrants.

"Out of common sense and fairness, our laws should allow willing workers to enter our country and fill jobs that Americans are not filling," he declared. "We must make our immigration laws more rational and more humane. And I believe we can do so without jeopardizing the livelihoods of American citizens." His plan would "offer legal status, as temporary workers, to the millions of undocumented men and women now employed in the United States and to those in foreign countries who seek to participate in the program and have been offered employment here."

Note the size of the program Bush envisions: millions. It could conceivably cover all the illegal immigrants now living in America. This, of course, enrages Bush's Republican and conservative critics on immigration and makes them all the more dubious of his plans and of him.

How could this adversarial relationship on immigration have been avoided? "If we had to do it again, we probably would lead with enforcement," a White House official said. In other words, soften up the immigrant-bashers with dramatically increased border security and then, and only then, seek a temporary worker program in a year or two. That might have succeeded.

As things now stand, the president's hopes rest with the Senate. His strategy is to get senators to include a modest guest worker program in their bill--a program that could be expanded later. To get the House to accept it, the legislation would be larded with strong enforcement provisions. Who knows? This might work.

On the Dubai ports deal, the failure at the White House was in not seeing political trouble on the horizon. Foreign business deals involving American national security that are approved by the Committee on Foreign Investments normally draw little media or political attention.

But the purchase by a Dubai firm of the British company that manages terminals in six U.S. ports did. In fact, attacks on the deal for supposedly putting America's national security in jeopardy continued for more than a week before the White House responded. It had not consulted members of Congress about the deal beforehand.

The White House was firm and conciliatory in defending the deal but also tardy. The demagoguery on Capitol Hill had gotten out of hand by the time Bush intervened. Most of the criticism focused on the notion that an Arab country with past al Qaeda ties would be in charge of security at the six ports.

This isn't true. Security would remain in the hands of the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs Service. And the personnel operating the ports would be the same. Only the company owning the terminals would change.

But the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is part, was the home of two 9/11 terrorists and banks there had transferred money to al Qaeda. This alone was sufficient to bar the deal for what seemed like most of Congress. Bush countered that the UAE had become a full-blown ally in the war on terrorism since 9/11.

The surprise in all this and the most worrisome aspect for the White House was the eagerness with which congressional Republicans broke into revolt against Bush. Without checking with Bush or his aides, congressional Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, denounced the deal publicly and insisted it be reconsidered or blocked.

The revolt showed that Bush's strength in Congress has significantly eroded as he begins his sixth year as president. In effect, his Republican base is no longer secure.

One thing could revive his standing among Republicans and salvage his clout on Capitol Hill: a Republican triumph led by Bush in the midterm election this fall. He did this before in 2002. But it was a long shot then, as it is now.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2ndterm; barnes; bush43; bushlegacy; fredbarnes; immigration; ports; secondterm; term2
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1 posted on 02/25/2006 2:30:11 PM PST by RWR8189
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To: RWR8189
One thing W knows how to do right is spend money - he makes the 'Toon look like Uncle Scrooge by comparison.


2 posted on 02/25/2006 2:33:36 PM PST by skeptical_con
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To: RWR8189
Bush invited members of Congress and his cabinet, plus leaders of Hispanic groups, to his speech at the White House in January 2004 calling for more immigration into the United States. "The citizenship line . . . is too long and our current limits on legal immigration are too low," he said. But he devoted most of his address to illegal immigrants.

Fred Barnes needs to learn the difference between a legal immigrant and an illegal alien.
3 posted on 02/25/2006 2:37:06 PM PST by GarySpFc (de oppresso liber)
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To: RWR8189

What also hasn't helped it Specter coming out with a very lax immigration proposal...with liberal "guest worker" provisions...

Which Bush might like, but since the "base" are not big fans of Specter or the guest worker program...it will hurt more than help..

I blame the Republicans in Congress for escalating the hoo-ha over the ports issue....THEY are ones that made the process what it is....but now are blaming Bush for playing by the rules they set up....cowards.


4 posted on 02/25/2006 2:37:08 PM PST by Txsleuth
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To: RWR8189
How could this adversarial relationship on immigration have been avoided? "If we had to do it again, we probably would lead with enforcement," a White House official said. In other words, soften up the immigrant-bashers with dramatically increased border security and then, and only then, seek a temporary worker program in a year or two. That might have succeeded.

Notice, this White House offical did not say one word about helping the millions trying to immigrate legally. Only the illegal aliens appear to matter to W.
5 posted on 02/25/2006 2:39:35 PM PST by GarySpFc (de oppresso liber)
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To: RWR8189

The immigration thing did it for me.

I was sure this would be on the agenda after he was re-elected.

What a disappointment.


6 posted on 02/25/2006 2:40:28 PM PST by Mears (The Killer Queen-caviar and cigarettes.)
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To: RWR8189

Bush has a penchant for just "not getting it". Staggers the imagination.


7 posted on 02/25/2006 2:45:47 PM PST by jwh_Denver (Don't ask me any questions, I've lawyered up.)
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To: RWR8189

Well i voted twice for him and support him but on immigration I just disagree.


8 posted on 02/25/2006 2:50:01 PM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: Txsleuth; All
As things now stand, the president's hopes rest with the Senate. His strategy is to get senators to include a modest guest worker program in their bill--a program that could be expanded later.

What also hasn't helped it Specter coming out with a very lax immigration proposal...with liberal "guest worker" provisions...

See also this article.

Specter is slime.

9 posted on 02/25/2006 2:50:11 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: GarySpFc
Fred Barnes needs to learn the difference between a legal immigrant and an illegal alien.

Do you mean substituting illegal alien bashers in place of immigrant bashers.

In other words, soften up the immigrant-bashers with dramatically increased border security and then, and only then, seek a temporary worker program in a year or two. That might have succeeded.

10 posted on 02/25/2006 2:50:45 PM PST by Capt. Tom (Don't confuse the Bushies with the dumb Republicans - Capt. Tom)
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To: RWR8189

People like Fred Barnes are the reason why the GOP gets labeled as the party of greed.


11 posted on 02/25/2006 2:51:30 PM PST by SC33
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To: GarySpFc

A waste of bold type isn't it? The operative word is illegal. Fred was correct in its usage.


12 posted on 02/25/2006 2:56:49 PM PST by em2vn
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To: em2vn
The correct terminology is illegal alien, NOT illegal immigrant.
13 posted on 02/25/2006 3:00:12 PM PST by GarySpFc (de oppresso liber)
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To: RWR8189

He is reaping the fruit of being driven by compromise rather than principle. In the end, everyone hates you. And what have you accomplished? Nothing, because every step forward had at least one step backwards, but usually more. Outcomes end up making no sense and pleasing nobody; they are not cohesive or productive when built on sellouts.


14 posted on 02/25/2006 3:03:33 PM PST by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light..... Isaiah 5:20)
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To: Joe Boucher

I disagree with him on immigration (I'd allow lots of legal and ZERO illegal), ports, spending, profiling, Iraq, etc., but I still support him a lot and love him. It is unbelievable and astonishing that he got Alito and Roberts on the Court. I remember watching a mainstream news show in 2001 that was saying that with a 50-50 Senate (at that time) Bush would be unable to get a pro-life justice on the Court. And they were stating it as fact, not opinion. Those of us who worked to get Dr. Coburn (and Thune, Vitter, etc.) in the Senate in 2004 and 2002 sure got what we worked for!


15 posted on 02/25/2006 3:04:16 PM PST by guitarist
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To: RWR8189

Even if he assures us no amnesty, the very next liberal to take the presidency will buy future illegal votes for the Left by granting amnesty.


16 posted on 02/25/2006 3:05:06 PM PST by Rockitz (After all these years, it's still rocket science.)
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To: RWR8189

While I like the article by Fred Barnes I think he is about 3 years late with his opinion on immigration.

On the Dubai Ports deal he talks of 6 Ports while World Net Daily puts the number of Ports at 22.

Big difference.



Posted: February 24, 2006
3:00 p.m. Eastern


By Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D.
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com



Port of Miami Bridge

Dubai Ports World is scheduled to take over operations at 22 U.S. ports, not six as previously reported by most major media.

According to the website of P&O Ports, the port-operations subsidiary of the London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P&O), DPW will pick up stevedore services at 12 East Coast ports including Portland, Maine; Boston; Davisville, R.I.; New York; Newark; Philadelphia; Camden, N.J.; Wilmington, Del.; Baltimore, Md.; and Virginia locations at Newport News, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.


17 posted on 02/25/2006 3:08:00 PM PST by chatham
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To: skeptical_con
Maybe we have more to spend. It hasn't changed your life one iota.
18 posted on 02/25/2006 3:09:33 PM PST by Coldwater Creek ("Over there, over there, We won't be back 'til it's over Over there.")
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To: RWR8189

If this guestworker bill goes through, I want the education and medical bills sent to the wealthy business owners who employ them. No more freeloading on my tax dollars.


19 posted on 02/25/2006 3:09:47 PM PST by Rockitz (After all these years, it's still rocket science.)
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To: RWR8189
>>>>How could this adversarial relationship on immigration have been avoided? "If we had to do it again, we probably would lead with enforcement," a White House official said. In other words, soften up the immigrant-bashers with dramatically increased border security and then, and only then, seek a temporary worker program in a year or two. That might have succeeded.

Wow. Is the Bush-WH finally getting it? Doubtful. LOL

20 posted on 02/25/2006 3:17:34 PM PST by Reagan Man (Secure our borders;punish employers who hire illegals;stop all welfare to illegals)
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To: RWR8189

Don't forget about the Side by Side terrorist Palesinian State issue... This one could be the death of us all by going against Almighty God!


21 posted on 02/25/2006 3:21:32 PM PST by winker
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To: guitarist

Good post.
The most important thing this president can do is to fill the supremes with good pro conservative strict constitutionalist jurists. As opposed to disgusting rags like ginsburg.
He is doing a great job at so many things, I just disagree with his idea of allowing every damn illegal.


22 posted on 02/25/2006 3:21:32 PM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: Rockitz

Illegal immigration and the utter intransigence of our President on it is political suicide. It was always was his Achilles Heel and it has come to pass.

Bush is finished.


23 posted on 02/25/2006 3:21:36 PM PST by CBart95
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To: RWR8189
>>>>>The revolt showed that Bush's strength in Congress has significantly eroded as he begins his sixth year as president. In effect, his Republican base is no longer secure.

The Bush fatigue factor is setting in, a bit early, but setting in nonetheless.

24 posted on 02/25/2006 3:22:39 PM PST by Reagan Man (Secure our borders;punish employers who hire illegals;stop all welfare to illegals)
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To: RWR8189
His instinct is to sympathize with immigrants Mexicans.

George loves Mexico and Mexicans. He's plugged in deep with the few billionaire families who run that corrupt dump and he'll wheel and deal how it best helps the aristocrats, Americans can go to hell.

Bush believes that whether they come to the United States legally or illegally, they come for the right reasons, chiefly for economic opportunity and the chance to shape their own destiny in life.

I've never liked Barnes or the other corporate eunuchs we see on TV. He's an empty suit and a non-intellect. He should not be stating in such excruciating detail exactly what President Bush thinks about things which President Bush has never commented on in detail. Did Bush say he believes the way Barnes says he does? I don't think so.
25 posted on 02/25/2006 3:25:45 PM PST by starbase (Understanding Written Propaganda (click "starbase" to learn 22 manipulating tricks!!))
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To: The Ghost of FReepers Past
brought to mind the country music song
"you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything"

Bush's attitude about pulling the world up with the "cash" of the United States and doing so with monstrous increases in the national debt ... is not a good road to be on now.

The whole one world concept, the trade debacle, the supporting of the Palestinians and "the road to peace" he is forcing on Israel is astonishing. How can he possibly believe and think it is going to work?

He seems to have lost touch with reality. Living in a world of good intentions just will not work as President of the U.S.; however much he wants to give democracy to the world.

He is a good man. His strength on defense and military is proved and necessary. Otherwise he is spending money for the tax payers like a drunk sailor in port. He is saying we are going to help Iraq rebuild their mosque. And he ignores this nations strong belief about immigration and the necessity for changes.

People that grow up in wealth have a skewed view of the working man and money. Unfortunately most candidates for major offices are from wealthy families. Is is a casual or even disdaining attitude about money. Of course not all ... just many. IMO
26 posted on 02/25/2006 3:32:55 PM PST by Countyline (God loves you ... He wants you to love Him back; and learn of Him and obey Him.)
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To: jwh_Denver

Bush has a penchant for just "not getting it". Staggers the imagination.



On the contrary, Bush gets it. What we don't 'get' or want is the globalist future he is pushing us towards.


27 posted on 02/25/2006 3:33:17 PM PST by dmanLA
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To: RWR8189

..commerce over security--a very bad trade...


28 posted on 02/25/2006 3:40:58 PM PST by WalterSkinner ( ..when there is any conflict between God and Caesar -- guess who loses?)
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To: GarySpFc

I believe either one is accepted. You will go broke betting against Fred Barnes.


29 posted on 02/25/2006 3:43:28 PM PST by em2vn
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To: skeptical_con

oh no not clinton


30 posted on 02/25/2006 3:50:36 PM PST by italianquaker (Democrats and media can't win elections at least they can win their phony polls.)
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To: mariabush

"Maybe we have more to spend." - mariabush

Not enough. Look at the increasing deficit.


"It hasn't changed your life one iota." - mariabush

Deficits affect the private and public sectors, current and future.


31 posted on 02/25/2006 3:59:48 PM PST by mdefranc
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To: skeptical_con

now you better do this right. All the pork and BS legislation is the fault of the Congress not W.


32 posted on 02/25/2006 4:37:54 PM PST by snowman1
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To: dmanLA

"What we don't 'get' or want is the globalist future he is pushing us towards."

I'll go along with that.


33 posted on 02/25/2006 4:48:42 PM PST by jwh_Denver (Don't ask me any questions, I've lawyered up.)
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To: CBart95
Illegal immigration and the utter intransigence of our President on it is political suicide. It was always was his Achilles Heel and it has come to pass.

One of his consultants must have told him it was a win-win for the GOP:

1) reward big GOP donors who hire them with cheap labor.

2) endear illegals to the GOP in hopes of getting their votes in the future.

I'm tired of paying their infrastructure, auto insurance, tuition, and medical costs. Cheap lettuce and lawn care isn't cheap when this is considered.

34 posted on 02/25/2006 4:50:24 PM PST by Rockitz (After all these years, it's still rocket science.)
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To: RWR8189
The revolt [over the UAE ports deal] showed that Bush's strength in Congress has significantly eroded as he begins his sixth year as president. In effect, his Republican base is no longer secure.

His Republican base is no longer secure because President Bush has done so many things that are NOT conservative.

With all due respect, most times I feel like we've got a RINO in the White House.

35 posted on 02/25/2006 4:51:58 PM PST by upchuck (Wikipedia.com - the most unbelievable web site in the world.)
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To: RWR8189

What is happening here is that the Bush administration is no longer being given the benefit of the doubt. This is wrong, the Bush administration is a good administration and Bush is a good man. Things go a lot smoother when we give each other and the President the benefit of the doubt. I am still undecided on the sell, so lets just wait for the hearings.


36 posted on 02/25/2006 5:18:49 PM PST by FreeRep
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To: RWR8189
It hasn't worked out that way (so far). Bush made one strategic error in 2005, guessing wrongly that the country was adult and serious enough to reform Social Security. Now he faces at least two immediate challenges: immigration and the Dubai ports flap.

Probably the country is not "adult and serious enough" to keep borders open and to trust emirs or sheiks with the national security.

37 posted on 02/25/2006 5:34:32 PM PST by A. Pole (Thomas Jefferson: "Merchants have no country.")
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To: FreeRep
This is wrong, the Bush administration is a good administration and Bush is a good man. Things go a lot smoother when we give each other and the President the benefit of the doubt.

"each other"? Who is this "each" and who is the "other"?

38 posted on 02/25/2006 5:36:22 PM PST by A. Pole (Thomas Jefferson: "Merchants have no country.")
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To: GarySpFc; Travis McGee; PhilDragoo; Jeff Head; potlatch; ntnychik; Czar; Spiff; doug from upland; ..

I saw Fred Barnes on Brit Hume's FNC show recently.

Fred Barnes called everyone who opposes illegal aliens invading the USA "racist" on live TV - and he was quite strong when he said that.


Check the transcripts - I cannot give a date but it was recent and Brit Hume did not question Fred Barnes on his comment.

GW is not the only one "out of touch" on this!

39 posted on 02/25/2006 5:51:55 PM PST by devolve (<-- (upload to free image accts at Photobucket & Imagecave)
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To: devolve

40 posted on 02/25/2006 6:09:31 PM PST by potlatch (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: devolve
The surprise in all this and the most worrisome aspect for the White House was the eagerness with which congressional Republicans broke into revolt against Bush. Without checking with Bush or his aides, congressional Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, denounced the deal publicly and insisted it be reconsidered or blocked.

The revolt showed that Bush's strength in Congress has significantly eroded as he begins his sixth year as president. In effect, his Republican base is no longer secure.

I worry about it, too.

42 posted on 02/25/2006 6:49:53 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: Txsleuth

You can blame Copngress, but only person has the bully pulpit and chooses not to use. I have never understood why this administration is so adamant that the media should be the ones to lead the countries thoughts on every issue. I never thouight the Iraq War was a failure, but the WH's PR about the War was a failure. He never wants to present the facts that would portray his decisions in a good light. It's almost masochistic. Karl Rove is probably the dumbest policitcal adviser in history.


43 posted on 02/25/2006 7:01:51 PM PST by nickcarraway (I'm Only Alive, Because a Judge Hasn't Ruled I Should Die...)
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To: nickcarraway

I posted on another thread..that President Bush needs to take Karen Hughes from whatever she is doing now, bring her back and put her in charge of public relations..

And hire Torie Clark back...and use her for spokesperson for all of the military aspects of his agenda.

Those two women would definitely put Dan Bartlett and Scott McClellan to shame.


44 posted on 02/25/2006 7:06:45 PM PST by Txsleuth
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To: devolve

If that's true, Fred Barnes just dropped off my radar. He was a Jack Germond character to me prior to that--I might have disagreed politically with the guy, but I respected his insight. F him. I won't be called racist for wanting all immigration to the U.S. to be legal, not criminal border-hopping, and I'll be writing Fox about it.


45 posted on 02/25/2006 7:08:12 PM PST by LibertarianInExile (Freedom isn't free--no, there's a hefty f'in fee--and if you don't throw in your buck-o-5, who will?)
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To: RWR8189

Bush is (sorry) idiot.


46 posted on 02/25/2006 7:08:40 PM PST by Icelander (Legal Resident Since 2004)
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To: nickcarraway
Nick, I've come to the conclusion that the White House staff and cabinet is mentally and physically exhausted. While the President may retire for the evening at 9:30, everyone who's been working for him since 2001 has been working 80-100 hour weeks.

They're running on fumes now, and their inability to press on with their agenda will hurt come November.

47 posted on 02/25/2006 7:11:04 PM PST by Night Hides Not (Closing in on 3000 posts, of which maybe 50 were worthwhile!)
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To: Countyline

"Bush's attitude about pulling the world up with the "cash" of the United States and doing so with monstrous increases in the national debt ... is not a good road to be on now."

That's the road built with our sweaty tax dollars and he is pissing on us. I don't respect him anymore.


48 posted on 02/25/2006 7:14:27 PM PST by B4Ranch (No expiration date is on the Oath to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.)
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To: Countyline

"Bush's attitude about pulling the world up with the "cash" of the United States and doing so with monstrous increases in the national debt ... is not a good road to be on now."

That's the road built with our sweaty tax dollars and he is pissing on us. I don't respect him anymore.


49 posted on 02/25/2006 7:14:28 PM PST by B4Ranch (No expiration date is on the Oath to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.)
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To: RWR8189
But the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is part, was the home of two 9/11 terrorists and banks there had transferred money to al Qaeda. This alone was sufficient to bar the deal for what seemed like most of Congress. Bush countered that the UAE had become a full-blown ally in the war on terrorism since 9/11.

Full-blown ally - OK, prove it. How many ships, how many men, what are they doing to push democracy in Iraq? What is "full-blown" anyhow? My guess is not much past money, secrets and jailing. Not much else. Oh yeah, they host various eliets in our government and military. And Arabs know how to treat a guest. If I'm wrong here, will someone please set me straight... I have no clue about "full-blown"?

50 posted on 02/25/2006 7:20:06 PM PST by GOPJ (Hollywood has jumped the shark...)
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