Jeff Flake for Senate: This'll Get Ugly When the Immigration Restrictionists Wake Up

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 14 2011 11:29 AM

Jeff Flake for Senate: This'll Get Ugly When the Immigration Restrictionists Wake Up

Jeff Flake's campaign for U.S. Senate is the first real test of intra-conservative tension of 2012. There's not much difference on policy between, say, Ted Cruz and Michael Williams in Texas. But there are big differences on some issues between Flake, who's been a libertarian and fiscal conservative hero for a decade, and the vanguard of Arizona conservatives.

In 2006 and 2007, Flake was a congressional supporter of comprehensive immigration reform. In 2007, he was part of a coalition that introduced the STRIVE Act. Like all immigration legislation, it went nowhere. But go back and read it -- it included visas for undocumented immigrations, and a pathway to legalization for anyone who met employment requirements and citizenship requirements (like command of English), and paid a $1,500 fine plus application fees. Perhaps more importantly, it included the DREAM Act of 2007 as part of the bill. That's the legislation for legalization-through-public service that became anathema to conservatives in 2010.

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Another issue on which libertarians support Flake: Cuba. He's for ending the travel ban and trading with Cuba, as are a growing number of people. But most conservatives don't agree with him. Oh, and another: He voted to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And more, here , from Mike Mears of Concerned Women for America PAC, via Matt Lewis.

The Club for Growth beseeched Flake to get into the race and endorsed him one he entered. But don't expect him to clear the field.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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