Rich, it’s not just HuffPo and MSNBC attacking Scott Walker for his tentative and wholly commonsensical observations that the well-being of American workers needs to be taken into account when crafting immigration policy. Heck, he didn’t even actually call for reductions in future immigration (though he did name-drop Jeff Sessions), but the expansionists on the right have piled on in response to the mere possibility of future cuts.
Philip Klein writes that “Walker’s bizarre drift to immigration protectionism” is “a perversion of American ideals and a recipe for decline.” Jen Rubin warns that Walker is ”going to the extreme right in the GOP to warn against legal immigration.” Orrin Hatch says Walker’s concern for the wages of American workers is “poppycock.” And Walker’s former employee Liz Mair has apparently decided to get out of the Republican political consulting business by mocking, for the benefit of Mother Jones, her former client’s “Olympic-quality flip-flop on immigration policy.” No doubt David Brooks is already drafting his denunciation.
And it’s not clear what any of this means anyway. Here’s what a spokesman told Politico:
“Governor Walker supports American workers’ wages and the U.S. economy and thinks both should be considered when crafting a policy for legal immigration,” AshLee Strong, spokeswoman for Walker’s Our American Revival PAC said. “He strongly supports legal immigration, and like many Americans, believes that our economic situation should be considered instead of arbitrary caps on the amount of immigrants that can enter.”
The signs are encouraging and, as Rich notes, “Walker should take the shots as a compliment, and hopefully, the rest of the field will begin to think and talk about immigration the same way.” But there’s still a lot that needs to be fleshed out before we can be sure that this is more than just vaporware.