I don’t mind hating on Ryan for his amnesty boosterism. But we, as a people, surely aren’t going to let our decision on the Speakership be steered by this tool’s obvious “how can we trust a man whom Harry Reid trusts?!” reverse-psychology mischief.
“He appears to me to be one of the people over there that would be reasonable. I mean, look at some of the other people. I’m a Paul Ryan fan,” Reid said. “I don’t agree with him on much of what he does. I think what he’s done with Medicare and Medicaid, what he’s wanted to do I disagree with, but generally speaking I think that … we’ve been able to work with him.”
Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., told CQ Roll Call he concurs with Reid’s assessment.
“His agreement with Patty Murray was excellent — bipartisan compromise — and we don’t see much of that coming out of the House Republicans. So, it’s understandable that … many of us are hoping that there will be a reasonable speaker,” Durbin said.
Breitbart’s been revisiting some of Ryan’s greatest immigration hits over the last 10 days, with the latest entry a statement he made at a townhall two years ago about U.S. legislators needing to put themselves in the shoes of various players on this subject — including illegal immigrants. Ain’t no denying that he’s not good on this issue, although he’s not a complete Gutierrez-ish sellout either. Watch below to hear his thoughts on border security from last year. What we’re really asking when we debate Ryan’s immigration record is how likely he’d be to push an amnesty bill on the House floor, knowing that conservatives are already promising war over the issue if he ends up as Speaker. In the near term, I think he’d avoid it entirely. A big Republican brawl over amnesty would cleave the party, conceivably propel Trump to the nomination, and wreck all of the healing within the caucus that’s supposed to come from naming Ryan Speaker in the first place. There’ll be no immigration reform until 2017 at the earliest, unless Ryan tries to polish his border-hawk credentials a bit by bringing a standalone security bill in the interim. What about in 2017 or thereafter, though? Be afraid, says Mark Krikorian:
I think it’s almost certain Ryan would bring an amnesty/immigration-surge bill to the House floor, which would pass with monolithic Democratic support plus enough Gutierrez Republicans to get to 218.
This is because for Ryan immigration isn’t a matter of appeasing corporate lobbyists, as with Boehner, or a response to changes in his district’s electorate, as with McCarthy. Ryan is a true-believer in unlimited employer-driven immigration, a devotee of Jack Kemp. John Fonte writes that Ryan is the leading figure in the faction he labels “neo-Kemp idealists” on immigration. Bob Costa’s long NRO piece in 2013 on Ryan’s central role in pushing for ever-higher levels of immigration, inspired by Kemp, cites an earlier Wired observation that Ryan’s “ties to the pro-immigration mafia ran deep.”
Gulp. The Republican conference is meeting tonight to discuss the Speakership; Ryan’s spokesman says there’ll be no final decision this evening about whether he’s running but we should have some sense afterward about how he’s leaning. What could go wrong? I’ll leave you with this teaser from WaPo: “Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is more open than ever to becoming the next House speaker, following a contemplative week at home with his family. But before he makes a final decision, friends say, he will seek assurance from Republican hard-liners that he will have their full support should he win the gavel.”