Ready for the kicker?
— Jan Brewer (@GovBrewer) June 24, 2013
Stupidity or something worse? Border security doesn’t “come first” in the Gang of Eight bill, of course; it comes before green-card eligibility but after probationary legalization, which is why Rand Paul, for instance, can’t support it. Illegals are granted a legal claim to staying here before anything happens on the border. Which leaves three possibilities. One: Brewer’s confused about what the bill says. That seems … doubtful. She’s the governor of a border state; almost no one is more interested in finding out precisely what the bill says than she is. Two: Brewer’s deliberately misleading the public at the behest of national Republicans who need prominent so-called “border hawks” like her to reassure low-information (a.k.a. dumb) GOPers that the bill is awesome. That seems likelier, although I believe Brewer’s term-limited as governor and therefore doesn’t really need anything from the national leadership. She could go her own way if she wanted to. Which brings us to number three: She supports the bill on the merits because, like Marco Rubio, she’s not as much of a border hawk as she pretended to be when running for office three years ago. By the same token, how many conservatives who voted for her thought she’d be a fan of ObamaCare? We have, it seems, been misled. Again.
Which brings me to the larger point. I honestly can’t believe how many Republican pols backing the bill lied, and lied brazenly, about being stalwart border hawks as candidates in order to get elected. Rubio, Dean Heller, Kelly Ayotte, Jan Brewer — hell, even McCain ran, ridiculously, as some sort of immigration hard-ass to get back to the Senate in 2010. Before the party tears itself apart over immigration reform in the House, can we have a moment of unity at least over the fact that immigration moderates shouldn’t lie about their moderation as candidates? Right? Respect your constituents enough to give them a fully informed choice in the booth by stating your opinion about a momentous issue of policy honestly. As it is, we’re being asked to believe that somehow every one of these people, from Rubio on down, has had precisely the same epiphany about what needs to be done on immigration, and in each case it was only after being safely elected that they had it. That’s some coincidence. No one but no one on the GOP side ever sees the virtue of “legalization first” policies and “comprehensive” reform in the middle of the campaign; only afterward, when they’ve gained incumbency and the support of monied national Republican interests, do they somehow attain enlightenment. Virtually no one talks about the status quo being “de facto amnesty” until after they’ve made it to Washington; as candidates, you’re much more likely to hear them say that an “earned path to citizenship is basically code for amnesty,” as Marco Rubio once infamously did. If you take these very conveniently timed reversals at face value (which you shouldn’t), then at best it means the people now leading the GOP effort on reform simply didn’t think deeply or at any length about this subject as candidates. Candidate Rubio thought earned citizenship equalled amnesty, but that’s only because he cared so little about the nuts and bolts of the issue that he didn’t spend 10 minutes thinking hard on it until he got elected, whereupon he suddenly discovered that amnesty is actually what we have now. This is the guy we’re supposed to follow on this issue?
These people lie to you, shamelessly, to get elected, and then betray your interests while in office to stay elected. They have the sheerest contempt for your opinion. Keep that in mind when the champagne corks are popping on the Hill today after the big Senate vote.
Update: Imagine the phone calls her office must have been getting since this Fox segment to prompt this:
For the record, I have not endorsed the Gang of 8 #immigration bill.
— Jan Brewer (@GovBrewer) June 24, 2013