Didn’t he say just four days ago that he opposed birthright citizenship for the children of illegals? Now this. If he hadn’t been so slippery on immigration (among other things) in the earliest phase of the campaign, it’d be easy to dismiss this as a case of him having misunderstood what he was being asked on Monday instead of him perpetually trying to feel his way towards whatever position he thinks will be the most electorally advantageous.
But wait. Is this sudden agnosticism about birthright citizenship really the most electorally advantageous position? What’s strange here is that Walker promised supporters this week on a conference call that he was going to be more aggressively anti-establishment on the stump and try to win back some of the supporters he’s lost to Trump. Birthright citizenship for illegals is as establishment as immigration policy gets; Trump naturally opposes it, and until a few days ago, Walker did too. Pretty logical for an anti-establishmentarian. Now he’s formally uncommitted. What gives?
Perhaps WaPo has the answer:
At the same time, Walker has veered to the right on abortion and other social issues, worrying some top backers. Stanley S. Hubbard, a conservative billionaire who oversees a Minnesota broadcasting company and has donated to Walker’s campaign, said the candidate has promised that he would not push a “social agenda” as president and is simply expressing his personal beliefs when asked…
Hubbard strongly opposes one immigration measure pushed by Trump this week: a call to stop giving citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States. Walker said in an interview Monday that he would support ending birthright citizenship, then said other reforms might make that unnecessary.
Hubbard said that he “might really quickly change my allegiance” if Walker pushed for such a repeal, and that he “did not get a real straight answer” from the candidate at his Tuesday lunch. But Hubbard, who came away ready write more checks to help Walker, added: “I got the feeling that he is not at all anxious to talk about taking away those rights.”
The donor class is centrist and pro-amnesty and Walker’s depending upon their cash to keep him running well into next summer. If he goes hard right to keep pace with Trump, some of his backers may abandon ship and move over to Rubio as the other electable guy in the race who’s not named “Bush.” What you’re seeing in the clip below, with Walker emphasizing border security as a solution to the problem of birthright citizenship while remaining undecided on the merits of the issue, is his way of trying to balance what donors want to hear with what Trump fans want to hear. His bankrollers will cut him some rhetorical slack in pandering to border-hawk rubes on the right like me (so long as he has no intention on keeping his promises as president, of course), but once he starts hinting about amending the Fourteenth Amendment, that’s when they start looking at Rubio as the obviously superior retail politician. Walker’s trying to make everyone happy, which usually means making no one happy.
Speaking of which, did you see yesterday’s new poll of Wisconsin? Gadzooks:
Looking ahead to possible general election preferences of Wisconsin voters:
Clinton 47, Bush 42.
Clinton 52, Walker 42.
Clinton 50, Cruz 38.
Clinton 51, Trump 35.
Walker, the state’s thrice-elected governor (including the recall), trails Hillary by double digits, and his deficit against her is twice what Jeb Bush’s is. He does only a bit better than tea-partier Ted Cruz does in this otherwise reliably blue state, thanks in part to Walker’s dismal 39/57 job approval. The whole argument for Walker in 2016 is that, as a soft-spoken midwesterner, he can play in states like Ohio and even Wisconsin where the GOP’s struggled over the last 10 years. If he can’t deliver his home state at a moment when poll after poll shows that no one trusts Hillary anymore, what’s the argument then?
Update: Team Walker responds.
AshLee Strong, National Press Secretary, Scott Walker for America: “Despite the best efforts to mischaracterize Governor Walker’s position, he has clearly and consistently stated that we need to enforce the laws on the books, keep people from coming here illegally, and enforce e-verify to stop the jobs magnet before we address the issue of birthright citizenship. By addressing the root problems – in the right order – we will end this collateral issue that only exists because we have a border that is not secure and a broken system.”
That’s fine spin, but even the toughest border enforcement won’t succeed in keeping all illegals out. The birth-tourism industry won’t be dismantled overnight. It’d be nice if he had a position on what to do about kids born here to parents who manage to evade President Walker’s new security measures.