I had the strangest dream last night. I dreamed that a guy known nationally for being the second-most dedicated amnesty shill in the Republican Party, who once stood up before the National Council of La Raza to pander about “bigots,” had now actually embraced an enforcement provision so controversial that it qualified as news when Rand Paul dared to mention it a few months ago. And in my dream, not only did this guy turn up on Fox News to push the idea, he actually clipped the segment and posted it to his own YouTube account to make sure that it would spread far and wide. Ever have a dream like that, that’s so crazy you wake up wondering what you possibly could have experienced during the day to generate something so preposterous? I’ve had a lot of them lately.
Seriously, I’m not sure how to read this. Either he’s now so terrified of a serious primary challenge — and rightly so — that he’s going to push mighty uncharacteristic base-pleasing policies over the next few years or, more intriguingly, he thinks that the country has shifted far enough to the right on immigration that something like this will now have to be included for any comprehensive bill to pass. In other words, The Great Compromiser may have surmised that any compromise now requires enforcement measures above and beyond merely sealing the border or building the hugely popular fence. That’s an amazing turn of events if so, and likely to be influential among Republicans in the next congressional term given Graham’s status as a benchmark of how far towards the center a GOPer can reasonably be. No one but no one wants to hear it said of him/her by grassroots conservatives, “They’re worse than Graham is!” Susan Collins and Scott Brown, take note.