To be sure, Bush is under fire from the left as well, but their opposition has little to do with national security concerns and everything to do with partisan politics.
Most conservatives, I think, see Bush as enormously committed to America's national security and the Global War on Terror (GWOT). But many find themselves scratching their heads over his perceived "open borders" policy. Why, they wonder, is he so genuinely clear-sighted about the evil of terrorists and the global threat they pose to the point of fashioning his legacy-making foreign policy doctrine around an unprecedented preemption strategy, yet seemingly oblivious to the potential threat in our back, front and side yards? Why the disconnect?
Actually, to call it a disconnect is a major understatement. It's more like a gargantuan gap in an otherwise fully coherent policy. If his driving ambition is to make America safer from our terrorist enemies, why does he risk sabotaging that objective by making us more vulnerable right at home?
Frankly, I'm not sure the president has a blind spot on immigration, because I'm not sure I even understand what his policy is. But if in fact his borders policy can be reconciled with his general policy against terrorists, he hasn't yet made that case to the American people, much less to his base.
It is not just fringe groups who take umbrage at the president calling Minutemen border patrol groups "vigilantes." A large segment of conservatives remain mystified about the president's border policy and consider it the Achilles' Heel in his GWOT policy.
I submit that if the president had previously convinced his base that his immigration policy augmented, instead of undermined, his campaign against the enemy, he would be experiencing far less fallout over the ports issue.
Of course, it doesn't help matters that the president reportedly wasn't apprised of the proposed transfer of the ports until after it had been approved by his staff. But since he has failed to persuade his political allies on the border issue, many of them are not willing to trust him implicitly on an analogous issue that strikes them, instinctively, as unnecessarily risky. If they fear he's lax about foreign people entering our borders illegally, couldn't he be equally so concerning foreign goods entering through the ports?