"The president's speech on Monday night is a huge moment for him, a rare chance to recapture the momentum on the issue of border security and with it, renew the country's confidence in his commitment to national security, a confidence first shaken by the ports deal, and eroded by the long negotiations to form the Iraqi government.
Already the anti-amnesty forces are dismissing the speech as window dressing for the Senate debate to follow, arguing that rumored National Gaurd deployments are temporary and designed only to facilitate the amnesty that isn't called an amnesty.
The president needs to announce that the Guard will indeed be deployed in support of the Customs and Border personnel, but that the key to lasting border security is the dramatic expansion of border fencing in keeping with the House bill.
He should urge that the Senate adopt the House language in this regard (along with any other language necessary to assure that the construction of the 700 miles of fencing not be subject to any other law that might inhibit the quick start and completion of the projects.)
He must avoid the word 'virtual,' as in 'virtual fencing.' The White House isn't surrounded by a 'virtual fence,' and voters have no faith in 'virtual fences' except as supplemts to the real thing.
If the president comes out early and hard in favor of expanding the fences along the border which have already worked so successfully in urban areas, he will have met the American public where it is with what it demands.
The rest of the president's speech will not affect its impact one way or the other. The only other details that will resonate widely will be the assurance that no one becomes a citizen without command of English and then only after many years of productive residency in the U.S.
It is all about the fence because it is all about security, the next 11 or 12 million, not the 11 or 12 million already here.
The big close should be twofold. First, the announcement of the nomination of two score judges to replenish the federal bench, a demand that the Senate act quickly on these nominations, and a commitment to require --as he has of these nominees-- only what every oath sworn by every official requires: A commitment to uphold the laws of the United States.
In short, the president can put the agenda he has built back at the center of the political and policy debate:
Win the war.
UPDATE: Powerline points me to a piece by the New York Post's Deborah Orin on the outline of the president's speech Monday night.