July 20, 2007
Border fence buyer's remorse for Cornyn

Welcome to our world, Senator Cornyn.

Frustrated by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's decision to start construction of a controversial border fence in Texas this year, Sen. John Cornyn pledged today to fight any effort that proceeds without community input.

"I assure you there will be local consultation," the Texas Republican said in a call with state reporters. "There will not be ... unilateral actions on the part of the Department of Homeland Security without local input."

With border communities up in arms about the fencing, Cornyn is ramping up his criticism, saying he's very frustrated by what he termed the department's "ham-fisted" handling of a highly controversial matter.

"This could not be mishandled any worse, as far as I'm concerned," said Cornyn, who voted last year for legislation mandating the construction of 700 miles of double-layered fencing at the Southwest border but insisted that local leaders be consulted.

Apparently, our junior Senator hadn't yet noticed that the Bush Administration turns everything it touches into mud. I mean seriously, who would have guessed that they'd screw this up while being "ham-fisted" and arrogant about it? What were the odds?

It's nice, even a bit touching, to see Senator Cornyn, however belatedly, stand up for the border communities whose interests he supposedly represents. It would have been even nicer if he had actually advocated for them (or hell, just listened to them) while the fence was being debated and voted on. Since we can't go back in time, the question I have now is what does it mean when he says he will "fight any effort that proceeds without community input"? Does that mean he'll take specific actions to stop Homeland Security if it tries to do something unilateral, or is this just another example of wavering in name only? Talk is cheap, Senator. What are you actually going to do about this mess you created?

(I know what I'm going to do about it, but I rather doubt Cornyn will endorse that approach.)

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 20, 2007 to National news

I have a compromise proposal for relocating the border fence in south Texas, which I have offered to Senator Cornyn and anyone else who has shown any interest in the matter. The environmental as well as aesthetic impact of winding a border fence along the north bank of the Rio Grande would be devastating. Why not move the fence back from the river, as far back as the highway from Baffin Bay on the coast to Laredo. A fence built along highways 285 and 359 would reduce the fence's length by two-thirds, be much cheaper to build and pass through a much less populated area.

Posted by: Richard R. Brown on July 21, 2007 10:52 AM