May 31st, 2006

George and Martha: Nice, Nice, Nice

by Philip Baruth

Couple weeks back, Martha gave Big George some extremely helpful political cover. From the Rainville camp’s May 16 press release:

“Republican U.S. House candidate Martha T. Rainville announced her support of President Bush’s plan to send 6,000 National Guard troops to temporarily help secure the United States’ southern border against illegal immigrants.”

How embarrassing would it have been, VDB wonders, to have a Republican candidate, a former Vermont Guard Adjutant General in a left-leaning state, come out and denounce this new plan for the Federal boondoggle that it is? Especially with the President’s wife about to visit said Blue state three days later?

Pretty god-awful embarrassing.

bush in slippersSo we might reasonably expect that the White House folks got on the horn to Martha’s folks, especially since they had to iron out all the pesky details of Laura’s visit anyway.

Now, VDB has no proof of White House arm-twisting. But put that reasonable surmise aside. The long and short of it is that Martha has come out in full-throated support of sending Vermont Guard troops to patrol the Southern border — “temporarily.”

Of course, in the Bush lexicon, “temporary” means “until the cows come home.”

Last we checked, about 135,000 troops — many of them National Guard — are still playing IED-tag in Iraq, while another 10,000-20,000 battle a renewed and violent Taliban threat in Afghanistan. This year is shaping up to be the most violent yet for both military campaigns, and our deployments there are now discussed in terms of decades rather than months or years.

And stop-loss policies make certain that “temporary” continues to mean “semi-permanent.” But Martha Rainville expresses not a hint of concern.

This sort of smile-and-salute response to madness marked — and marred — Rainville’s last three years with the Vermont Guard. Other National Guard higher-ups spoke out against Bush’s depletion of their resources, most notably those in the Southern states hit hard by Katrina.

Not Martha. Martha goes along to get along. Which means hundreds more Vermonters headed out of state, to pursue another politically-inspired mission cobbled together by an inept civilian leadership.

For those of you still casually denying that there’s any significant difference between Rainville and Welch, or Republicans and Democrats, here’s an excerpt from Welch’s press release:

“Our Guard members are currently serving extended tours overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are providing critical relief in times of national disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. And, they continue to play a vital role in homeland security and local disaster relief.

“The Guard has met each challenge and fulfilled their duty with distinction. Still, we must ask how the Guard can continue to fill these vital roles, while adding another major responsibility. As many have noted, including Senator Leahy and Senator McCain, the National Guard is stretched thin.

“We must have a national policy that secures our borders, but the long-term use of the Guard for border patrol is misguided.”

Left to his own devices, Bush will break the National Guard. And Martha Rainville clearly plans to leave Bush to his own devices.

Look at it this way: George W. Bush, following in his father’s footsteps, clearly views the National Guard as his personal toy. And he has demonstrated over the last three years that once he has toys in his possession, he doesn’t play well with others. Far from it.

In such a case, you need an adult to enter the room, take the toys away, and put them back in their proper place.

Enough said.