Bordering on Ridiculous

There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) has plans, if he's the GOP presidential nominee, to balance his ticket with a prospective vice president who is an undocumented immigrant. I don't know where that one started.

However, if Tancredo did somehow become the Republican candidate, he'd be getting a huge boost from the Department of Homeland Security.

The geniuses at DHS have done it again. This time, they were so surprised by the number of prospective naturalized citizens who were applying to beat a fee increase, that there is now a huge backlog. The result is that thousands upon thousands will not be eligible to vote by Election Day.

Imagine that. They will not be able to exercise that basic right of citizenship and cast their ballot. Imagine how unhappy that will make most of the Republican candidates, not just Tancredo, who have made anti-immigrant zealotry such an article of party faith. How unhappy? Not very.

But for those who suspect that this is some sort of plot to give the GOP an advantage, I agree with the DHS spokesman who calls that "ludicrous."

It's not because I think they're above such political shenanigans, it's just that I believe they're far too incompetent to pull off anything that clever.

When it comes to matters of border control, our government has a record that is mind-bogglingly inept.

Most recently we witnessed the passport debacle, just a recent example. And it's not just the State Department and Homeland Security who provide a constant reminder that so much of our tax money is simply thrown down the toilet.

When was the last Pentagon project we heard about that didn't cost billions in cost overruns. When did the last major highway construction finish on time and on budget?

It seems that wherever we turn we witness one wasteful screwup after another.

If government were a consumer product, where we had any choice, we'd have stop buying it long ago. Of course we don't have any choice. We are legally required to pay taxes — at least those of us who don't manage a hedge fund must — and I'm not advocating that we refuse to. We have to have government.

But wouldn't it be nice if we had public officials who delivered what we were promised? And wouldn't it be great if they did their job to protect against the companies who have no social consciousness beyond the bottom line?

Maybe then the political demagogues wouldn't find it so easy to exploit everyone's anger and create scapegoats, like immigrants. Maybe then the Tom Tancredos of this world would be laughed out of the room.