Tony Blankley

I've always found that avoiding insanity is useful in life -- which in American politics sometimes puts one in the minority. As a second proposition I would argue that when in negotiations, if he with whom you are negotiating is moving in your direction -- don't walk out of the room. As a final proposition: In politics, as in life, you can't always get what you want, but sometimes you can get what you need (with apologies to a detestable rock group who wrote those words, more or less.)

 I have in mind the immigration issue and the response of some conservatives to President Bush's speech Monday night. As a proud and outspoken member of the movement that opposes illegal immigration and residence in America, I believe the time has come to decide whether anything useful to the cause can be accomplished this year, and whether we are likely to get more by waiting until after the November election. My answer to those questions are maybe and no.

 For me, the single highest strategic objective is to secure the border for two equally important reasons. First, because in its current condition, the border is an open door for terrorists into America. It is almost inconceivable that the terrorism threat has almost completely dropped out of public consideration. The president mentioned it in one word after mentioning drug smugglers and criminals. The media seems to have ignored the topic entirely. Secondly, the border must be secured to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants to at most a trickle.

 Ultimately, this country of 300 million can absorb the current 10 to 20 million illegals in the country. It probably cannot absorb and culturally integrate the further scores of millions who inevitably will come if the border is not soon secured. Thus, for me, the central question is whether we can negotiate a sufficiently secure border. 

 The president has moved measurably, but insufficiently, toward that position. He has offered about 6,000 new Border Patrol agents. That number is insufficient by a factor of about four -- the probable need is between 20,000-30,000 agents. He has, for the first time agreed to some structural barriers and sensor technologies -- but his vagueness on the details suggests that we will have to bargain hard for substantially more than he has in mind. The 6,000 National Guardsmen that he proposed for one year in limited roles are essentially rhetorical window dressing. But if we get sufficient permanent forces, structures and technologies mandated and fully funded in law -- that will suffice.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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