Walker on Immigration: Malice Towards All

Going into the invisible primary for 2016, there were two widely-held concerns handicappers had about the very well-positioned Scott Walker (there were less-widely-held doubts, such as Charlie Pierce’s belief Walker may be brought down by corruption charges). One was that he was simply too boring for a conservative “base” that expects to be entertained with belligerent gestures towards the partisan foe. And the second is that he had failed to extricate himself from the former party line on immigration, much as Rick Perry failed to do so in 2012.

As of the end of 2015, Walker’s shown himself to be entirely capable of delivering a red-meat speech, specializing in gloating over the mangled corpse of labor rights in Wisconsin, even as he shows conservatives the stigmata of death threats against him by the defeated but still dangerous and treacherous liberal vipers. And now, in one quick move complete with boasting over its audacity, he’s discarded his inconvenient positioning on immigration, per CNN’s Eric Bradner:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Sunday that his “view has changed” on immigration and he no longer supports reforms that would allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States.

The Republican, who surged to the front of 2016 presidential primary polls in recent weeks, admitted the flip-flop from a stance he’d taken in 2013 during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

“My view has changed, I’m flat-out saying it. Candidates can say that, sometimes they don’t,” Walker said….

“I look at the problems we’ve experienced for the last few years. I’ve talked to governors on the border and others out there. I’ve talked to people all across America,” he said. “And the concerns I have is that we need to secure the border. We ultimately need to put in place a system that works — a legal immigration system that works.”

“And part of doing this is put the onus on employers, getting them E-Verify and tools to do that. But I don’t think you do it through amnesty,” Walker said.

Now that he’s foresworn “amnesty,” he’ll eventually be asked to clarify that “amnesty” includes legalization (i.e., the “guest worker” approach Jeb Bush has settled on), and like the rest of the GOP, will have to answer or dodge questions about what, exactly, should happen to the 11 million undocumented people already in the country. For now it suffices that Walker views them with undisguised malice.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.