Then Krauthammer takes his potential breakthrough plan and … throws it all away, claiming, “Regrettably, there appears to be zero political will to undertake this kind of definitive solution.” He winds up semi-endorsing the Rubio/McCain scheme, wrapping himself in the fig leaf it offers: That even if legalization is instant, those legalized won’t be getting “green cards” and citizenship until some enforcement targets are met.
A few obvious questions:
1) Why is there “zero political will”? Has Krauthammer forgotten about the House? Why is he suddenly in awe of President Obama’s ability to mobilize public pressure on Speaker Boehner to bring an across-the-board amnesty bill to the floor when Boehner’s caucus prefers a step-by-step (Dream Act + high-tech visas, etc.) approach? I’m reminded of the 2007 amnesty debate, when a Beltwayish pessimism gripped conservatives–’There’s going to be a bill,’ they told themselves. ‘We might as well make it as conservative a bill as possible.” But there wasn’t necessarily going to be a bill. The bill could be stopped–and it was stopped, by an outside-the-Beltway outcry. “Moving the bill to the right” only made beating it a bit more difficult.
That’s the alternative Krauthammer misses: If there’s “zero political will” for his (rightly) preferred solution now, there might be if the current amnesty-first push fails again. Granted, it won’t be as easy to stop it this time, given GOP-elite hysteria over the Latino vote. But last time it failed to even get a majority for cloture in the Senate. This time it will be closer–but Krauthammer is throwing in the towel when the game is tied at the half. (And of course, by rationalizing the Rubio bill, he makes it a little bit more likely the game will be lost.)