May 26, 2010

How's that pandering working out for you President Obama? Sen. Get-Off-My-Lawn McCain is never going to be happy even if he sent the 6000 troops he's demanding. As Digby pointed out "it's paranoid, wingnut crap that has no bearing on reality". I agree with her here as well:

Mean Old Man McCain says we need 6,000 troops on the border, so I'm guessing President Goldilocks will say his "compromise" on this is "just right." But hey, ratcheting up xenophobia is so good for everyone right now, why not just pretend there's a huge problem that doesn't really exist? We don't have enough real ones apparently. After all, there are some Democrats who apparently think they need to show how much they hate Mexicans in order to win, so it's all good.

(Oh, and remember that while there's a huge "appetite" for expensive, stupid bullshit like this, there's none for extending unemployment benefits to the lazy bums who want to live like kings on 250 bucks a week from government rather than get a non-existent job.)

That money would be better spent doing something about this disaster in the Gulf as well. Arizona's Attorney General Terry Goddard on the other hand seemed pleased with the decision and was critical of the tone of McCain's rhetoric. I'm sure he knows full well we wouldn't see McCain acting like this if he didn't have wingnut J.D. Hayworth for a primary challenger.

Transcript via CNN below the fold.

SANCHEZ: Welcome back. The breaking news is this. The Obama administration is requesting $500,000, so they can send an additional 1,200 National Guardsmen down to the border between Mexico and Arizona. We understand that John McCain is on the Senate floor right now talking about this. Let's take that live, Rog, if we can.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: -- of the Guard, as well as additional $500 million. But it is simply not enough. We need 6,000. We need 3,000 across the border, an additional 3,000 -- 3,000 National Guard troops to the Arizona/Mexico border.

And, Madam President, I say that because of my many visits to the border, my conversations with the Border Patrol, and the time it will take to train an additional 3,000 troops just for the Arizona/Mexico border.

Now, I have colleagues waiting with other amendments, but I hope that my colleagues appreciate the extent of the violence and -- on the Mexican border and the dramatic increase in that violence that's taken place over the last several years.

There was a time not that long ago that someone wanted to come across our border illegally could do so, if they were fortunate, and would come across by themselves. That's no longer possible. We now have highly organized human smuggling rings and drug cartels that are working together. They are using the same routes. And, unfortunately, the so-called central corridor, the Arizona/Mexico border, has been where a great degree of violence and certainly a preponderance or majority of human smuggling and drug smuggling.

I would refer to my colleagues two numbers. Last year, in the Tucson sector of the Arizona/Mexico border, there was over 1,200 million pounds of marijuana intercepted on that border, to the point where I was told that the U.S. attorney didn't prosecute anything less than 500 pounds of marijuana intercepted.

One other number. Last year in the Tucson sector of the Arizona/Mexico border, 241,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended trying to cross the Mexico/Arizona border. If you figure that we catch one out of four, one out of five --

SANCHEZ: All right, John McCain, who we just happened to be hearing reacting to the Obama administration's initiative to send $500,000 to the border, 1,200 -- I think you heard him there at the beginning. Now he is talking more in general about what he believes or perceives the needs are there on the border.

But, at the very beginning, you heard him say that it wasn't enough. I mean, he wants even more money and more troops going to the border.

Terry Goddard is the attorney general from Arizona and he is good enough to join me now to bring me up to date on what this is.

Is this -- is this -- are you seeing this as welcome news?

TERRY GODDARD, ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL: It absolutely is welcome news.

I mean, it shows that the administration is listening to the pleas that I have been making and others have been making from Arizona for months, for years to focus on border crime.

SANCHEZ: Now, to be fair to the administration, they had already increased the federal response at the border. Arguable whether it was enough or not, but this is on top of that, correct?

GODDARD: This is at -- we still don't have all the details, but this is 1,200 troops, $500 million in the supplemental budget request. In anybody's game, that's a significant increase, but it's focused in the right place. It's focused on the border criminals.

Senator McCain seems to be late to this party. We have been working from local law enforcement for the last 10 years on this problem of the cartel incursions in Mexico. They are highly sophisticated, highly organized, highly violent. And, yes, they are bringing lots of people and lots of drugs into the United States. We need to focus on them. And that's what the administration is doing with this increase.

SANCHEZ: You just said Senator McCain is late to this party. He seemed to be very critical even of this initiative. Most people would look at that and say, well, he's Republican and this is politics. He is criticizing a Democratic president. Do you think there is more to it than that?

GODDARD: More than -- well, A, I have been beating the bushes for a long time in the last administration and now in this one, saying that we have a criminal problem on the border. Let's get serious about it. Let's go after the cartels, wherever they happen to be, both in the United States and Mexico.

There have been some efforts. The Merida Initiative is a significant piece. And this last announcement by the administration I think adds tremendous firepower to that effort to put boots on the ground at the border.

And, you know, if the senator is supportive of that, great. It's just he has been around a long time and we are now hearing new level of rhetoric from him.

SANCHEZ: That's interesting. I think I and most people listening to you understand what you are saying with that.

One final question. Will this act by the White House in any way affect your new immigration law signed by your governor, which probably will be taking effect sometime in the next 60 days or so, if I recall?

GODDARD: It takes place on the 29th of July. I can't see a connection. I think what the administration is doing is what I have been pleading for, and that is focus on border crime. Focus on the very organized criminals that are operating on both sides of the border right now and for the last many years, and --


SANCHEZ: Well, let me just --


GODDARD: -- let's get rid of them.

SANCHEZ: Let me just -- Attorney General Goddard, let me just interrupt you for a moment and suggest this. If -- what we constantly hear from folks in Arizona is, we are going to have to have our police officers do the jobs that a lot of these agents would have had to do because they are not getting the job done.

And we have seen cases where these people have crossed across the border, come across the border and they have been captured in the central parts of the state. Well, here is the federal government saying, OK, fine, we will give you 1,200 officers and maybe some more on top of that. Would the next part of that logical enthymeme then be, if we do that, would you get rid of the law where you're going to make or deputize, federally deputize your police officers?

GODDARD: Well, I think it would make a lot of sense to do two things, one, secure the border, make sure that it is not possible for these organized criminals to bring people and drugs across, and, number two, have immigration reform, which I hope is the second half of this, which basically says those people who are working in the United States don't have any criminal record otherwise, except for the illegal crossing, can get on a path citizenship.

SANCHEZ: At the federal level?

GODDARD: That's number two. At the federal level. The federal government's responsible for both of those issues. And, frankly, they have failed.

SANCHEZ: But -- well, what about your law? What about your law? Would you go back to your governor and suggest, you know what, Governor, maybe we don't need that law after all, that the federal government is now coming forward and supplying us these 1,200 troops? Or will you say to her, as you just seemed to intimate, no, they have to go a step further; they have got to get some kind of comprehensive immigration reform?

GODDARD: Oh, I think that is absolutely critical --


GODDARD: -- or -- we still are fighting this war on two fronts, but the most serious is at the border. It is the organized criminals that threaten the United States in many different ways, not just the state of Arizona, but the Justice Department has said 230 cities have cartel presence. It is time to get serious.

And I think the heartening thing about this announcement from the administration is that they are listening, that they are finally getting serious about fighting the border crime where it is, on the border. That's -- that's a huge step forward.

SANCHEZ: Attorney General Goddard, it has been a delight to have you on. Thanks for hustling, sir, grabbing a phone, and getting on the air, and sharing your perspective on this with the American people. All right, thank you.

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