Profile in Spinelessness!

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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1) On Friday, the spokesman for GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor told the AP there would be no floor vote on the so-called ENLIST Act,  a seemingly narrow amnesty (for young illegal immigrants who serve in the military) that could nevertheless be expanded into a much broader immigration amnesty by the Senate, which has otherwise been unable to get such a bill through the House. The Cantor camp’s statement came after he had been (accurately) criticized for supporting amnesty by his primary opponent, Dave Brat.

“[Cantor spokesman] Doug Heye said no stand-alone vote on the measure would be permitted ….”

2) The next Wednesday, AP reported that “immigration advocates” were “angry” with Cantor for stalling “reform.”

“Eric Cantor is the No. 1 guy standing between the American people and immigration reform,” Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigrant group, said on a conference call …”

3) Later that day, Cantor tells Politico that, contrary to what his spokesman had said on Friday, he might indeed still bring the ENLIST Act up for a vote:

“Cantor, who controls the floor schedule, did not rule out a potential standalone vote on the ENLIST Act later this year, saying that the lawmakers involved with the bill are “still working on language” and that “no decisions have been made” on potential floor action.”

In other words,  after criticism from his underfunded challenger, Cantor ditches the ENLIST act. Then after a disapproving sentence from activist Frank Sharry, he tacks back and unditches it.  And they say he is a spineless positioner! Also a clumsy, obvious one.

P.S.: Cantor could have said, ‘I support the ENLIST Act to honor military service, but don’t want it brought to the floor when it could serve as a vehicle for a broader amnesty.”  He didn’t — perhaps because serving as a vehicle for a broader amnesty, once Cantor’s risky primary’s out of the way, is the whole purpose of the ENLIST Act, and of Cantor’s support for it.

If Dave Brat–who has already accused Cantor of flip-flopping–can’t make some hay out of this ….

P.P.S.: When pro-legalization activists, including Sharry, began criticizing Cantor, the clever theory on the Web was that it was Kabuki theater designed to help Cantor by giving him an opportunity to stand up against amnesty. If so, he didn’t get the message and caved instantly. …

Mickey Kaus