Rudy backs slowly away from the amnesty abyss -- or does he?

Last Thursday’s prediction: “Expect Rudy to pronounce himself ‘troubled’ by the deal.” Today: he’s troubled. But on what score?

At an event Monday in New York City, Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said he did not support the “present version” of congress’ Immigration Bill.

The former New York Mayor said he would like for there to be a system or database that would allow the government to “know everybody who is in the United States, who comes here from a foreign country”.

“If you make that your goal then everything follows from that or leads to that,” he added. “There should be a tamper proof id card, biometric id card that everyone who comes here from a foreign country should have. In order to make sure you identify everyone, in order to be secure.”

Clearly that can’t be the crux of his plan, though, given that (a) what he’s talking about is considerably more lenient than the new bill, which at least imposes token penalties on illegals, and (b) per the White House fact sheet, the bill already contains something along these lines:

Illegal immigrants who come out of the shadows will be given probationary status. Once the border security and enforcement benchmarks are met, they must pass a background check, remain employed, maintain a clean criminal record, pay a $1,000 fine, and receive a counterfeit-proof biometric card to apply for a work visa or “Z visa.” Some years later, these Z visa holders will be eligible to apply for a green card, but only after paying an additional $4,000 fine; completing accelerated English requirements; getting in line while the current backlog clears; returning to their home country to file their green card application; and demonstrating merit under the merit-based system.

Anything more to his plan than what he mentioned? A quick check of the campaign’s “On the Issues” page predictably reveals squat. It sounds like he’s trying to turn this into a pure national-security issue, which conveniently plays to his strengths while ignoring the fact that keeping out terrorists is only half the equation. The rest of it is the political and economic question of what happens when you absorb massive numbers of mostly unskilled, unassimilated people. Rudy’s apparent answer: just make sure they have ID. Thanks for the input, buddy.

And so I edge ever closer to declaring my support for Mitt.

While we’re talking Rudy, InstaGlenn linked this Gallup poll about gun owners defecting from Giuliani to Fred — but only in small numbers (so far). 32% of all Republicans support Giuliani while 12% support Thompson; among gun owners the split is 26/18. I’m suspicious, though, about how much of that is due to their respective positions on the issue versus regional biases. Check the breakdown among Democrats and you’ll find that Edwards’s support increases most sharply among gun owners, from 12% among all Democrats to 17% among arms aficionados. Edwards does support the Second Amendment but he hasn’t made any kind of issue out of it; it may be that what we’re seeing here isn’t so much support from gun owners as greater support from southerners for the “southern” candidates, and since southerners are more likely to own guns it shows up here as “gun owners.”

Anyway. First up in the immigration debate: scaling back or getting rid of the temporary worker program, which businesses are relying on for quasi-slave labor. Blue Dogs like Byron Dorgan oppose it because it suppresses American wages; others appear to oppose it because they want to make those temporary workers permanent. We’re recording C-SPAN2 around the clock. Fun stuff.

Update: I saw this earlier at Ace’s but forgot about it. Kid from Brooklyn just e-mailed to remind me. Here’s how the Democrats are rewarding black voters for years of supporting them in numbers greater than 90%.

Trending on HotAir Video