I've written about the fantasist nature of Donald Trump's purported immigration position before, and I'll reiterate it again here: Should all thirty-plus million illegals be deported? Absolutely. Can all thirty-plus million illegals be deported? Hell, no. First, there's no way they could all be located; second, even if they could, the magnitude of the law enforcement operation necessary would be way beyond the resources of even federal authorities; third, even the attempt would create such unimaginably hideous PR optics that no administration would even consider it for one, single, solitary moment - and that includes a President Trump.
It's all pandering mierda de toro, in other words. But it's what Tea Partiers wanted to hear, especially in the aftermath of the Kate Steinle slaying in San Francisco, and it's likely what they still want to believe can be done if only there's enough "FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!" will to make it happen. It's not a topic on which "pragmatism" will be tolerated - or even realism and acceptance of the physical and political limits of what can actually be done.
And Ben Carson has gone "there". I guess we'll see if he's destroyed himself, even though pretty much every other "hopeful" in the GOP field, including Ted Cruz, holds an illegal immigration stance that is more or less similar. [emphasis added]
- Me, earlier today
There are two possibilities: (1) Donald Trump's blood is in the water and all his rivals see it; or (2) Cruz and Rubio are shrugging and jumping into the deep end of the pool, following the lead of the frontrunner, hoping to exploit Carson's broaching of the heretofore unbroachable topic to their own ends.
There are, of course, more details beneath that glib surface:
Via the Right Scoop, enjoy six minutes below of Cruz laying Rubio out this morning on Laura Ingraham’s show, replete with a scriptural reference.
Not only was Rubio’s Gang of Eight bill the same old comprehensive garbage that screwed border hawks in 1986, Cruz says, but Rubio joined with the other seven members in opposing all of his amendments to strengthen the security parts of the bill. Which is true: Every time a comprehensive immigration bill comes together in the Senate, the bipartisan coalition behind it agrees to kill off amendments for fear that letting one through from either party will operate as a poison pill. If Cruz’s security amendments had been adopted, Democrats who would have otherwise supported the bill would have bailed and it would have failed. (For Democrats, stronger immigration enforcement is a dealbreaker.) Part of the deal in joining the Gang for Rubio, McCain, Graham, and Flake was systematically defeating any amendment that would upset the balance of the deal they’d struck with Schumer, even if it came from the right. So Cruz’s amendments went down the drain. And now Cruz is going to rub Rubio’s face in it.
But, of course, it's more complicated and, dare I say, nuanced than that. On the GOP side of the Gang of Eight, McCain and Graham, certainly, were and are pro-amnesty absolutists. Flake, I'm not sure about, although it looks that way. But Rubio? He was recruited in order to put a Latino face on the deal, the thinking from the rest of the "Gang" doubtless being that if they couldn't shove this crap sandwich down our throats in a taco shell with huge dollops of salsa, sour cream, and guacamole, they'd never be able to do it. And, of course, they couldn't, after which Rubes withdrew from the "comprehensive immigration reform" movement on the grounds that it clearly did not and would not have the votes to pass. "Pragmatism," in other words, not unlike the position Dr. Carson staked out this morning.
Does this mean rightwing Dezi isn't still open to a "pathway to citizenship"? Of course not. But so is every other Republican in the race (Trump is a closet Democrat, remember), including Ted Cruz. It's just a matter of degree and decorum. It's like the two freshman senators overall: both are conservatives, both have conservative voting records ranking at 90%+ according to Heritage or FreedomWorks or the ACU. Their differences are stylistic, not ideological; Cruz is the fiery, "populist" warrior, Rubio the sunny, optimistic, reasonable young statesman - with, of course, that one horrible rookie mistake.
A reality that Team Marco wasted no time in pointing out:
This is a more significant problem for Cruz than it might look at first glance. Rubio's immigration policy history is an open book; he screwed up, learned his lesson, and now holds what can be fairly described as a center-right position on the issue. Cruz does as well, but he doesn't want anybody to know that because of (1) the fiery "populist" warrior image he's spent the past nearly three years building up and (2) how he's sought to position himself as the heir to Trumpmania; Trump fades and that huge army of insanely energized foot soldiers ipso facto, no-braineredly flock to the Cruz banner as naturally as breathing. If it gets out that there's actually very little, if any, daylight between the Florida and Texas senators on illegal immigration, with Trump's overall credibility as a candidate dwindling and Cruz still badly trailing Carson AND the more electable Rubio still in his way, it doesn't leave the fiery "populist" warrior with a whole lot of options.
Could it be that the underlying tone and tenor of the 2016 Republican presidential race is slowly, inexorably turning back towards realism, rationality, and logic? Not entirely, or Scott Walker would already have run away with the nomination and be on his way to the White House. But it might be entering the realm of conceivability.
UPDATE: The Rubio video that shows Ted Cruz is a "slippery, insider, RINO cockroach" after all:
Hey, Cruz started it. Maybe he should have kept his proverbial powder dry instead; it might have been less likely to blow up in his face that way.