Posted on March 22, 2013

Hello, Pols? Opening on the Right!

Mickey Kaus, Daily Caller, March 20, 2013

{snip} The current immigration debate always reminds me of the “guaranteed income” debate of the late 1960s. Here  was a pressing national problem (immigration poverty) that had been festering unsolved for too long. But a clear bipartisan consensus had emerged to break the gridlock! Instead of insisting on increasingly archaic distinctions (between legal and illegal working and not working), the government should adopt a comprehensive approach and just give everyone amnesty the cash they’d need to get by–a guaranteed income. Democrats were for it, Republicans were for it (President Nixon embraced it), libertarians were for it. (Milton Friedman was one of its originators). Journalists were for it.  Scholars were for it. Pat Moynihan was for it. A bill–the “Family Assistance Plan”–was drafted and seemed ready to slide through Congress. Sure, some of the facile assumptions of supporters seemed questionable, like the idea that amnesty wouldn’t act as a “beacon” for more illegal entries a cash guarantee wouldn’t encourage dependence or subsidize family breakup, but who was going to call BS on that?

Then an ambitious Republican gearing up to run for President dissented. Governor Ronald Reagan denounced Nixon’s plan as a “megadole.” The plan failed. Nixon pulled back. You know the rest.

Now that GOP presidential contenders Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and even Rand Paul have embraced some form of legalization for illegal immigrants, doesn’t that create a rather gaping hole for an ambitious Republican pol to run for President oppoing it? Even if you didn’t give a fig about the (to my mind) persuasive arguments against current amnesty proposals, the opportunity would be almost too juicy to pass up:  You could be the sole candidate championing the party’s substantial anti-amnesty wing against a vote-splitting array of candidates falling in line behind the elite consensus … Pointy-headed, Washington candidates, you might call them, who’ve never tried to find a good paying job in today’s economy competing against cheaper and hungrier undocumented workers from abroad …

Suppose you only got 25% of the primary vote–you might win, but in any case you’d have a big impact, make a big name for yourself and (unless you flaked out) give yourself a semi-permanent role in the debate.  It’s almost a lock. A “special pathway” to prominence. You get to jump the queue.

Any takers? Gov. Walker? Sen. Cruz? Sen. Sessions? {snip}