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Send us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses; just no Mexicans, please

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One look at Bush's face on Monday night told the whole story. It was like he could hear the guillotine clanking down Pennsylvania Ave to its resting place on the White House lawn.

This is a whole new Bush; restless and hesitant, beads of sweat glistening on his brow, eyes blinking feverishly like the shutters on a broken camera.

Whatever happened to "Mission Accomplished Bush", the strutting barnyard rooster, glowing and confident; or flight-deck George blowing kisses to the troops while he strode to the presidential podium in a snugly-fitted jumpsuit?

Gone; completely gone.

Monday night we saw the new Bush; 29% George; his popularity retreating faster than the glaciers in Hudson Bay.

This is the Bush that Rove fished out of a saloon in El Paso and carved into the political locomotive of the new Republican century; the insecure, blue-blooded ne'er-do-well with a skull full of salmon row.

Bush never would have tackled "immigration" 3 years ago. He didn't have to. When he was on top of his game he could blow off his critics and do as he pleased; hacking away at taxes and flattening cities whose names he can't pronounce. Now at 29% he has to go on national TV to try to stitch together his ever-dwindling base appealing to the lowest instincts of his hard-right constituency.

Immigration is cleaver that will destroy the Republican Party. Just check out blood-lust every time a conservative mentions "our borders" or "illegal aliens".

Do they think we live in Valhalla?

If Bush had half a brain he'd disband the Border-guard and install a conveyor-belt between Nogales and Phoenix, that way we'd have a steady flow of new blood pumping into this country every day.

Militarize our borders?

Are these undocumented workers or enemy combatants?
These people pick our crops, clean our houses, edge our lawns, and change the diapers on our kids. They ought to get an award, not the back of our hand.

Bush should have recommended that anyone who wants to protest open-borders can do so by paying the adjusted rate on every head of lettuce and every tomato at the grocery store.

"That will be $5.50 for that tomato, sir."

Instead, Bush hemmed and hawed; backpedaling one moment then flag-waving the next.

Immigration is a "lose-lose" situation for right wingers. Liberals should steer-clear and let one reptile devour the other.

The Democrats should limit themselves to a simple plan for a citizen-swap so we can trade-away disgruntled conservatives for energetic Mexicans who want to make a better life for themselves and contribute to society.

Is there any chance that Vicente Fox could be persuaded into bartering O' Reilly and Limbaugh for a few eager Hispanics?

Bush never should have taken on immigration. The Republican Party has spent a decade trying to recreate themselves as the "party of new ideas". That whole travesty cracked and shattered into a million pieces last night.

What ideas; discrimination and greed?

Even now, with the rubble strewn from New Orleans to Baghdad, the hard-right is still fueled by two main issues; tax cuts and immigration.

Intolerance and gluttony; these are forces that need to be recognized and controlled, not lauded as political vision.

Bush's ramblings only dignified the chauvinism which is already running-rampant through the country.

"America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time. We will fix the problems created by illegal immigration, and we will deliver a system that is secure, orderly and fair."

Blah, blah, blah.

What nonsense. Bush thinks he can have it both ways; placating the nut-jobs on one hand while winking at the country-club set who want a steady stream of cheap labor on the other.

It won't work. He'll only embolden the vigilantes who are getting more audacious (and sanctimonious) by the day. Does he really think he can assuage the paranoia of fanatics by erecting "high-tech fences in the urban corridors" or by deploying thousands of troops to harass and detain undocumented workers?

Why not take the "high-road" and shed some light on the hardships experienced by vulnerable workers who struggle to survive while participating in a system that's little better than legalized slavery?

Why not elevate the national dialogue to one that focuses on human rights, civil liberties and social justice?
Why not appeal to "the better angels of our nature" by showing some empathy for the people who are forced to leave their homes and country to provide a better life for their families?

No way. Bush would rather feed the public hysteria while pasting together his broken constituency.

The country doesn't need another black-eye. The world already believes that we're a nation of Muslim-hating war-mongers. Do they need to see us as xenophobic-crackpots, too?

Militarize the border, indeed.

We should unhinge the gates, bulldoze the fences, and welcome anyone who wants to come in. We'd all be better off.
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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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