MINOT, N.D. — To hear some Democrats tell it, including the North Dakota Democratic-NPL, the efforts to secure America's southern border amid a surge of illegal crossings — 180,000 in May! — is little more than political theater.
"Instead of ensuring that North Dakota businesses, workers and communities fully recover from a once-in-a-generation pandemic, Gov. Burgum and the NDGOP are playing politics with the National Guard," the Democratic-NPL fumed in a recent news release.
"Our servicemen and women dedicate their careers to protecting North Dakota and the United States of America. They did not make that commitment to be used as a pawn in a rich, elitist Governor’s political playbook, who only cares about raising his national profile," the release continued.
Let's pierce that cloud of smug partisanship, shall we?
Earlier this week, Gov. Doug Burgum became "the seventh Republican governor to commit to sending troops or law enforcement to the border in the last few weeks," as Adam Willis reports, though as of this morning, that effort has become bipartisan. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, announced that approximately 125 members of his state's National Guard would be traveling to the southern border to assist Customs and Border Patrol personnel.
Is he also guilty of using the National Guard as "pawns"?
Democrats are trying to paint this effort to secure the border as some act of rabid Trump-tainted extremism, but Burgum is hardly some myopic Trumpist. Hell, the rabid Trumpists are trying to recall him from office.
As Jim Geraghty points out at National Review today, Burgum is joined in this endeavor not only by Evers, a Democrat, but other moderate Republican governors like Ohio's Mike DeWine and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas.
It's unfortunate that South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who is a myopic Trumpist, has undermined this needed push for border security by allowing a billionaire to pay for her state's deployment, but the propensity for the Trump movement to step on their own feet is beside the point.
Let's not forget, President Joe Biden's administration is on board with this strategy too. In May, the Department of Homeland Security requested that the Defense Department “extend DoD support to Customs and Border Protection into fiscal year 2022.”
Just a few days ago, the Pentagon confirmed that Biden's Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin "approved extending the use of up to 3,000 DOD personnel to support the Southwest-border mission into the next fiscal year," Geraghty writes.
Serious-minded policymakers and commentators on the left and the right recognize that there's a crisis at our southern border, and the situation needs to be secured.
The bomb-throwing cranks working in cable television, and writing press releases for state political parties, are obscuring this bipartisanship.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com.