When Bill Kristol Wanted Immigration Reform

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

When Bill Kristol Wanted Immigration Reform

778421
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.

Advertisement

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

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?