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Tuesday, October 5, 2004
What I Wish President Bush Had Said, Part II

In Thursday evening's debate Senator Kerry said, "The test is, are you doing everything possible to make America safe?"

President Bush responded heatedly, "Of course we're doing everything we can to protect America. I wake up every day thinking about how best to protect America. That's my job."

What if he said this instead? (Note that according to the rules, the candidates were not allowed to address each other, so he would address Jim Lehrer, the moderator.)

"Actually, Jim, I'm glad the distinguished Senator asked that question. A lot of people are working very hard to protect America, people both within our borders and abroad, people with widely divergent political views. We owe all of them our gratitude. I myself wake up every day thinking about how best to protect America. That's my job.
"But the fact of the matter is, there is a least one very important thing we're not doing well enough. We need to do a much better job of securing our borders. The first step is serious immigration reform. In January 2004 I will propose comprehensive immigration reform, consisting of these key elements:
"We should make it as difficult as we reasonably can for people to enter this country illegally or to remain here illegally.
"Because we welcome the people of the world to our shores, to our prosperity, and to our freedoms, we should make it as easy as possible for multitudes of good people from other nations, including many of the workers and others who come here now illegally - we should make it as simple as possible for them to be here not as undocumented, illegal aliens, but as documented, legal aliens on renewable work visas and so forth.
"As part of this reform, we'll need to make sure that people who are here now illegally are given ample opportunities to become documented and legal instead of being deported. We'll want to insure that, as long as they are here illegally, they are denied benefits from federal, state, and local governments. Those who choose to remain here without becoming legal and documented by a reasonable deadline should be found and deported. Those who comply with the law, after a certain period as productive, law-abiding residents of the United States, should have ample opportunity to become citizens of the United States.
"This is a nation of immigrants; it has always been a nation of immigrants. I think we should, for our own good and our own vitality, always be a nation of immigrants - but we can do it much more safely than we have been doing it."

I realize that the Big Media Acronyms (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NYT, etc.) and the rest of the Kerry Campaign would try to spin this as racism and jack-booted thuggery, which it isn't. But I think if the message were properly delivered, it would appeal to the majority of voters (legal and otherwise) within our borders. I think most of us can see the need.

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