Scott Walker has done a 180 on amnesty so fast and so furious it’ll make your eyes water.
Two years ago, he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he wasn’t even sure we needed border security. All we needed was a more streamlined system to open our borders to anybody and everybody in the world.
He has been a longtime supporter of amnesty, going back to the McCain-Kennedy bill of 2006 that the conservative grassroots had to beat back with a stick. So it’s not as if he has just begun to think about this issue. He’s had a position on amnesty for a long time, and it’s been the wrong one.
Now suddenly he appears to be a border hawk. With no prior warning, border security has become his mantra. He candidly admitted to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that he’s done pirouette on immigration (emphasis mine):
Host Chris Wallace said to Walker: "But you said you supported comprehensive reform.”
Walker: "And my view has changed. I'm flat out saying it. I'm -- candidates can say that. Sometimes they don't."
Wallace: "So, you've changed from 2013?"
“And then going forward, the way to enforce it is not through amnesty. I think the better approach is to enforce the laws and to give employers, job creators, the tools like E-Verify and other things to make sure the law is being upheld going forward.”
It looks from here like his change of mind is timed so that, when he officially declares for the presidential nomination, he’ll be in position to say that it’s old news. Never mind the nine years of vocal open borders advocacy; I’m a new man. Forget all about that amnesty stuff you’ve heard me talk about for the last decade.
It’s hard not to escape the impression that Scott Walker has had a battlefield conversion on this issue. He’s becoming aware of just how much the base despises amnesty, and he’s decided he wants to try to get out in front of that energy instead of getting left behind or run over by it.
The question then becomes what Walker will do if the winds change again. What if the big money guys, who all want amnesty, start making donations to his campaign coffers dependent on a another change of heart? Can we have any assurance that Walker won’t fold under that kind of pressure? Or can we have any assurance that he won’t tell us one thing and tell them another?
In fact, Walker may not have changed his mind at all. After telling Wallace he is flatly opposed to amnesty, here was their next exchange (emphasis mine):
WALLACE: The question [in 2013] was, ‘Can you envision a world where if these people paid a penalty that they would have a path to citizenship?’ and you said, ‘Sure, that makes sense.’
WALKER: I believe there’s a way you can do that. First and foremost, you have to secure that border, or none of these plans make any sense.
In other words, border security, then amnesty. Which means, of course, he still believes in amnesty. You can get dizzy.
A French politician once said, “There go my people. I must follow them for I am their leader.” Scott Walker, on immigration, is sounding suspiciously like that guy.
This naturally raises questions in the minds of discerning voters. If he is using a windsock to set his course on immigration, on what other issues might he navigate by the prevailing winds rather than the stars?
Can Scott Walker be trusted? This voter says no.
All things being equal, if I have to choose between a candidate who’s been wrong on this issue until yesterday, and one who’s been right all along, I’m going with the guy who’s been right all along.