Will Mitt re-flip?

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Will Mitt Flip Again? Many smart Republicans are convinced Mitt Romney won’t change his new, conservative positions back to his old, less-conservative positions after the November election. I agree. I think he’ll change them before the November election. On at least one issue, anyway. On immigration, I fully expect a post-Tampa “pivot” to a message that dangles the prospect of near-term amnesty in front of the Latino voters for whom it is supposedly a central concern. The sort of advisers a moderate like Romney has will surely recommend this. It’s a big mistake, of course: the only way to really remove the incentive for illegal border crossing is to first kill the idea that there will always be an amnesty down the road somewhere. Which means no dangling! …

P.S.: You could say I dangled. I deny it. This is as close as I came (in my 2010 campaign):

Tell undocumented immigrants living here that they will have to wait. Amnesty isn’t happening anytime soon. Get control of our borders first …  If these measures actually work, survive the inevitable lawsuits, and send a clear message to the world that the game has changed — you’ve got to come here legally –then in a few years we can start talking about some sort of legalization illegal immigrants already here. Not now. [E.A.]

That seems a sensible compromise policy (though I now think it would be improved by replacing “a few years” with a hard number, like “8”). But it’s an ineffective pander to Latino voters, who’ve been conditioned to think all the talk of enforcement is at best a charade you have to go through to get the Democrat-sponsored amnesty that’s just around the corner. Which is why I suspect Romney will go further down the dangle road.

Mickey Kaus