Republicans, have mercy on your presidential candidates. Just get this immigration debate over with so your presidential candidates don’t have to flip-flop anymore.
Gov. Scott Walker is the latest in a long line of Republican immigration flippers, though at least he had to decency to cop to it.
“My view has changed. I’m flat out saying it.” said Walker to Fox News yesterday. As recently as 2013 Walker said a pathway to citizenship “makes sense.” Now as he gears up to run for president, that’s out the window.
Walker is not the only 2016 Republican presidential hopeful to get tripped up over immigration. When Jeb Bush wrote the book “Immigration Wars,” he turned against his past support for a pathway to citizenship, only to partially flip black in a subsequent interview, saying if “there isn’t an incentive for people to come illegally, I’m for it” but “I don’t see how you do it.”
Sen. Rand Paul has been all over the map once telling Politico he supported an “eventual path” to citizenship and said he’d support the 2013 Senate bill if it had beefed up border security provisions. Proponents obliged, but then he voted against it anyway.
Gov. Chris Christie’s flip-flop is in what questions he will answer In 2010, he told ABC that he supported national legislation with a “commonsense path to citizenship.” But last fall he said he wouldn’t answer any immigration questions because “there’s no upside to me at this moment, to be candid, to discuss it. I’m not a candidate for president.” Edging closer to declaring, he still dodged two immigration questions last week during his Q&A at CPAC.
Sen. Marco Rubio might have the greatest immigration flip-flop of all. As the Washington Post once reported, “Rubio currently opposes own immigration bill.”
All of this dancing around the immigration question is standard operating procedure for a Republican presidential primary.
2012 featured Mitt Romney, for whom immigration was just one of many flip-flops. In 2005, he called Sen. John McCain’s reforms “reasonable.” In 2007, he said although they were reasonable, he didn’t support them. But he did say the undocumented “should be able to stay sign up for permanent residency or citizenship.” Four years later, he said he supported “self-deportation.”
In the 2008, all of the top-tier candidates were hiding the past immigration positions from their primary. Michelle Malkin attacked Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain as “GOP Immigration Drag Queens.” She charitably left out Romney and Fred Thompson, who went from saying we need “a deal where they can have some aspirations of citizenship” to running “No Amnesty” ads.
Republicans, ask yourselves: Why torture these people?
Only the most virulent haters think you can deport all 11 million undocumented. Anyone who has a shot at actually becoming president will, deep down, support some form of immigration reform where the undocumented stay.
Why not just accept that reality, and stop making them pretend they are steadfast opponents of “amnesty”? You know they’re lying anyway!
Whaddya say we make this whole process less painful for everybody? You can start by letting the House fund the Department of Homeland Security.