Notwithstanding my antipathy to the ersatz-monarchism of the State of the Union, I see the blogger Chillingworth heard a certain Steynian note in yesterday's speech.
Me six years ago:
In September, the 10th anniversary of a murderous strike at the heart of America's most glittering city was commemorated at a building site: the Empire State Building was finished in 18 months during a depression, but in the 21st century the global superpower cannot put up two replacement skyscrapers within a decade. The 9/11 memorial museum was supposed to open on the 11th anniversary, this coming September. On Thursday, Mayor Bloomberg announced that there is "no chance of it being open on time." No big deal. What's one more endlessly delayed, inefficient, over-bureaucratized construction project in a sclerotic republic?
(For more on that theme, see this excerpt from my bestseller After America - personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available at the SteynOnline bookstore.)
The President last night:
America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year -- is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road..?
Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process -- getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one.
The swamp is not just the dime-store Machiavels of a corrupt federal bureaucracy but a more generalized inertia and sclerosis. America certainly was "a nation of builders", and you can live off what those past generations built for a long time, but the obstacles to building anything new are enormous: in the Republic of Paperwork everything other than digital downloads now moves at molasses speed.
That ought to be as big a priority as a DACA amnesty. For as Trump reminded us:
My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans -- to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.
That's a classic Trump line, grabbing the left's cynical sentimentalization of immigration policy and shoving it down their throat. Good for him.
As for his actual legislative proposals...
The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age -- that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States.
Good luck with all that "education and work requirements" and "moral character" stuff. The first rinky-dink district court judge all those criteria run up against will immediately expand any narrowly drawn amnesty to cover not "1.8 million" but 1.8 gazillion and all their great-aunts and second cousins thrice removed.
For example, a judge called Katherine B Forrest has just discovered that the Founding Fathers cannily provided illegal immigrants with a constitutional right to say goodbye:
Illegal immigrants snared by deportation officers have "the freedom to say goodbye" to their families, a federal judge in New York ruled Monday, ordering the government to release a prominent activist to his family...
"In sum, the court finds that when this country allowed petitioner to become a part of our community fabric, allowed him to build a life with and among us and to enjoy the liberties and freedom that come with that, it committed itself to allowance of an orderly departure when the time came," she wrote. "By denying petitioner these rights, the government has acted wrongly."
The "prominent activist" in question - Ravi Ragbir - is a convicted mortagage fraudster who lost his residency claims after he was sent to jail in the year 2000. That's eighteen years ago. Upon his release from prison, he was turned over to ICE for deportation. ICE kept him in custody for a couple of years, and then in 2008 released him under "supervision", meaning he's required to check in every six months to see if that deportation's come through yet. 2008 is ten years ago. Which one would have thought would be long enough for a thousand choruses of "So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu, adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu..." But apparently there are a few yieus he hasn't had time to adieu ...what with him being "a part of our community fabric" and all.
Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown on October 19th 1781, and was back in England by January. But that was before the constitutional right to a long goodbye, when the permitting process (as President Trump noted) took a lot less time.
So Judge Forrest sprang Ravi Ragbir from the big house on Monday. Do you know where he was on Tuesday?
Why, that's right, boys and girls: attending the State of the Union! As an honored guest of two members of the House of Representatives - Nydia Velazquez and Yvette Clarke. Did he have time to exercise his constitutional right to say goodbye to all 435 congressmen and 100 senators? That's very unlikely. Just to make sure, he should attend the next twenty SOTUs, and he undoubtedly will.
This is what Trump is up against - in the entire Democrat Party, half the Republican Party, the untold legions of the bureaucracy, the media and seventy per cent of the judiciary.
I'll have more to say about all this when I check in north of the border with the great John Oakley at Toronto's AM640, live across the GTA at 5pm Eastern today. Hope you'll tune in.
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