Trump: I'm open to comprehensive immigration reform *and* bringing back earmarks

He’ll be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos too, arguably the single most elitist and “globalist” event on Earth. Damn, that’s good MAGAing.

Note to POTUS: You do not want “all the heat” comprehensive immigration reform can generate. That heat could melt diamonds.

Easy prediction: Nationalists will rewrite history to claim that Trump’s interest in amnestizing DREAMers and other illegals began only after the divine influence of Steve Bannon was excised from the White House, leaving POTUS to be manipulated by “globalist” traitors. (That history’s being rewritten already, in fact.) In reality Trump has been chattering about DREAMers and comprehensive reform since the first few months of his presidency, when Bannon was still the chief strategist. If you believe BuzzFeed, Bannon himself supported a deal legalizing DREAMers on the theory that they’re incidental to nationalist concerns about illegal immigration. DREAMers have been here since they were kids; they’re already largely assimilated. It’s the new illegals you need to watch out for. Besides, long before Bannon was a political glint in Trump’s eye, super-hawk Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Stephen Miller, were both part of Team Trump. If you don’t like which way Trump’s policy is going, don’t absolve them of blame by pinning everything on the shadowy influence of “Javanka.” Either Trump’s not listening to the border hawks around him or those border hawks aren’t being nearly as vocal as you’d expect.

Or, always a third possibility, he’s either pandering to the Democrats and media around him in praising “comprehensive immigration reform” or, uh, has no real idea what that term means. Apparently he got confused during today’s summit when Dianne Feinstein proposed a standalone amnesty bill for DREAMers:

A “clean” DACA bill with no security attached, only promises from Democrats of security to come, might be the one thing Trump could do on policy that would deeply shake MAGA nation’s faith in him.

Or … is their something else? Watch this:

Who’s been whispering in the president’s ear about earmarks? He’s not mentioning this out of the blue. It’s on the minds of some House Republicans who are tired of the faint gestures towards fiscal responsibility of the tea-party era and are eager to get the ooze flowing fully again.

[T]here has long been an argument that, despite their abuse, earmarks served an important legislative function in lubricating the processes of government. (See Jonathan Rauch’s thoughtful 2014 piece “The Case for Corruption.”) After the 2016 election a group of House Republicans who advocate a return to earmarks demonstrated they had enough support to force a vote on the matter. House Speaker Paul Ryan convinced them to back down at the time, but according to the Washington Times, some lawmakers are hoping to move forward on the effort in the coming days…

Members pushing to restore earmarks, such as Texas Republican John Culberson, argue that the corruption of the past could be avoided this time around through changes—for instance, requiring earmark spending to be requested by local officials in advance. And that such provisions would have to be included in legislation from the beginning of the legislative process—approved by committee in the first draft of a bill, rather than manifesting in last-minute negotiations on the House floor.

Small-government conservatives despise earmarks, seeing them as a “gateway drug to Washington’s spending addiction,” as Tom Coburn likes to say. But small-government conservatives make up, what — 10 percent of the electorate, maybe? Trump’s not part of that 10 percent. He’s a dealmaker, and the return of fiscal bribes would grease the wheels of dealmaking by enabling the congressional GOP leadership to purchase recalcitrant members’ votes on major legislation. I think Liam Donovan’s right that the potential effect of earmarks on restoring comity and compromise to Congress is grossly exaggerated, but you can see why Trump might like it as a symbolic gesture. Earmark-hungry congressmen are telling him, falsely, that the ban on earmarks is the only thing standing between him and endless “wins” in Congress. Well, then, bring back the earmarks! Try to imagine the reaction of the right-wing base had any other Republican, say, Mitch McConnell or John Boehner, made that case circa 2011.

Here’s Trump seemingly agreeing to Feinstein’s proposal of a “clean” DACA bill, only to have Republican Kevin McCarthy jump in to correct him: Security too, Mr. President! Exit quotation: “We don’t need a 2,000-mile wall.”