When Bill Kristol Wanted Immigration Reform

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 9 2013 4:11 PM

When Bill Kristol Wanted Immigration Reform

Not the hypocrite you might think at first

Photo by Alex Wong/Newsmakers

This morning I pointed readers to the op-ed co-written by Rich Lowry and Bill Kristol, calling on the GOP to wise up and realize the short-term benefit of killing immigration reform for now. It took a while, but I finally found one of Kristol's 2006 missives offering Republicans basically the exact opposite advice. Keying off a press conference at which border hawk Republicans pounded the table, Kristol advised the party to get behind a reform bill.

GOP senators and congressmen--and presidents--have plenty of room to show leadership and to resist demagoguery. Most Republican officeholders know that the political--and moral--cost of turning the GOP into an anti-immigration, Know Nothing party would be very great. It could easily dash Republican hopes of becoming a long-term governing party. How many Republicans will have the courage to stand up and prevent the yahoos from driving the party off a cliff?

People like to attack Kristol for making wrong predictions, but this wasn't wrong, was it? In 2006 and 2008, Republicans lost elections as the Hispanic vote fell to the Democrats. It was far from the only factor hurting the party, but it was a factor. And now Kristol's telling Republicans to kick over the chessboard because they could, in 2015, use a new majority to pass a better bill, details TBD.


That's the caveat. The 2006 version of Kristol wasn't telling Republicans to pass just any bill. The 2013 version is telling them to kill one bill in particular, because the politics aren't lining up. That's basically what Gov. Bobby Jindal says in an op-ed that beggars common sense unless you realize he wants to run for president and needs to perform well at the Ames Straw Poll. He favors a bill that would "increase legal immigration, by a lot" and offer citizenship to those who "are willing to gain proficiency in English, pay a fine, and demonstrate a willingness to assimilate," both aspects of the Senate bill. Alas ...

... we find ourselves in a familiar cycle: Washington produces a massive bill full of pork and needlessly complex and unworkable rules and regulations that create more problems than they solve; then governors, businesses, and citizens are left to try to make sense of it and clean up the mess.

The "full of pork" bit is a nice addition, as the items he mentions include Nevada's seat on the border commission, which as far as I can tell costs nothing.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.