The Gang Lamar! Forgot

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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I Get to Drop One Issue, Right? Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander has written an op-ed addressing those on his right who think it’s time for him to go. Reid Wilson of WaPo and Chuck Todd of NBC call it “remarkable,”  and maybe it is. Alexander boasts that he “stood up to President Obama at the White House health-care summit” and “helped block” Obama’s labor board nominees. He’s fought for lower student interest rates, against “common core,” and for the “Freedom to Fish.” He wants to “reduce runaway entitlement spending by a trillion dollars.”

Impressive. But why do I have a vague sense of unease, as if there were some major issue Alexander isn’t addressing … you know, there was a big fuss about it a couple of months ago …Something that’s motivating his primary opponents …maybe even the first issue they raise. … A controversial major bill he recently voted for, perhaps–one of only, say, 14 Republicans to do so? …

If Alexander doesn’t even dare mention this mystery issue–in what is clearly supposed to be a candid, meet-’em-head-on statement–what does that say about the issue?

That he’s scared of it.


Still So Not Dead I wish Salon‘s Brian Beutler were right that GOP House Judiciary chair Bob Goodlatte’s opposition to “special path” to citizenship for illegal immigrants “signals doom for immigration reform.” Unfortunately, he’s not.

First, Goodlatte might be negotiating.

Second, just because there’s no “special path” to citizenship doesn’t mean there can be no non-special paths to citizenship–something Huffington Post pointed out weeks ago that Lawrence Downes still doesn’t seem to have realized. (At least Downes doesn’t write editorials for the NY Times. Oh wait …).

Third, and most important, odds are overwhelming President Obama would sign a Goodlatte-style bill that legalized immigrants without providing a “special” citizenship path. Democrats know they can go back and add it later (while in the meantime they beat up Republicans for advocating second-class status). I even think Obama would sign a bill banning illegals, including so-called Dreamers,  from ever being eligible for citizenship. A permanent ban can be changed too. …Meanwhile the “non-citizenship” approach is just the sort of tough-sounding gimmick that might let a majority of Republicans sign off on a legalization bill. … It’s what Nancy Pelosi would call a “poison pill” that’s “not lethal.”

Far more troubling, for Obama and the Dems, are Goodlatte’s occasional hints that legalization would only come “after you have the borders secure and these enforcement mechanisms in place.” That’s a dealbreaker for Dems, because it means they can’t pocket the legalization and then vitiate the enforcement. … But maybe all that has to be in place is a “pathway to a secure border.” There are plenty of ways for Goodlatte to fudge that requirement if he wants to. …

.P.S.: If you want a small taste of the visceral hostility to border enforcement among immigration activists are, listen to Clarissa Martinez of La Raza about 21 minutes into this Buzzfeed debate.  …

P.P.S.: TPM‘s Josh Marshall says the immigration bill “is dead or near dying.”  He’s wrong too.

Update: Conn Carroll, “The day amnesty died.”  The day Conn Carroll was wrong! He says:

Until immigration advocates give up their quest to confer citizenship on millions of individuals who entered the U.S. illegally, amnesty is functionally dead.

But of course they don’t have to give up the quest to agree to a Goodlatte-style bill. They pocket the legalization (wouldn’t their undocumented supporters be annoyed if they didn’t?) and start agitating for full citizenship.


New York Times Headline Writers at Work: When the NYT‘s famed headline skew-ers meet a story the Times didn’t write, wacky consequences ensue! This week’s favorite:

Associated Press lede:

PHOENIX — Requests for asylum in the United States along the border with Mexico have more than doubled over the last three years …

NYT hed:

Report Shows Modest Rise in Requests for Asylum


Mickey Kaus