My hunch about Rand has always been that he believes very much like his father.* but he is playing a political game because he wants to be President. But unlike some, I don’t think Rand is all that good at playing the game unless his game is to just secure campaign money now by kissing up to the cheap labor lobby and deal with the base later. The drone filibuster was a political masterstroke, but his other attempts to split the difference between the GOP base and his father’s base on foreign policy and other issues have always struck me as pretty ham-handed.
What other than bad instincts or a desire for campaign loot could explain his flirtation with the cheap labor lobby right in the wake of Eric Cantor’s defeat because he was trying to have it both ways on immigration? Too much flirting with “reform” and you pass the point from which you can walk yourself back.
If your goal is to not sound like an “extremist” on immigration, then just repeat boilerplate about illegals being here illegally (go figure) and the need to secure the border. That is a position which people can disagree with, but for which it is hard to fault someone. Only the cheap labor lobby and the leftist multicult uber alles fanatics can fault it.
A lot of people want to play word games with the term amnesty, but if you support making people who are currently here illegally legal, then that is by definition amnesty, and if you argue otherwise you are either guilty of a failure to understand the language or sophistry. Take your pick. It doesn’t matter whether you want to put them on a path to permanent residency or citizenship, it is still amnesty because it is not deportation, which is the current law, hence the term illegal.
The only benefit of a “path” to legal residency vs. a “path” to citizenship is that the legal residents won’t be able to vote stupid Republicans who obviously can’t do simple math out of office right away. Instead, their birthright citizen children will just vote them out a generation later. Way to fight the good fight there Rand.
There is nothing to be gained politically (other than donations from fat cats) by flirting with immigration “reform,” which always means some form of amnesty and increased legal immigration. The reform argument is based on a premise that the American immigration system is broken and must be fixed, so, in the current climate, endorsing the need for “reform,” As Rand Paul does, is tantamount to accepting the self-serving premises of the “reformers.” But if you have any concern for the future viability of the GOP and the conservatism it allegedly stands for, the only thing that is broken is our border security and our will to enforce existing law. And the real reform that is needed is a moratorium on legal immigration, where our laws are already exceptionally generous compared to most countries in the world, and an end to the insanity of birthright citizenship.
Rand Paul doesn’t seem to get that resisting a demographic deluge of voters for the other party is kind of a existential issue for his party and the liberty movement he supposedly represents. I would have thought that he would have learned basic math prior to his admission to Duke University Medical School, but apparently not. But apparently he did learn how to count campaign cash, because that is the only thing that can explain the lunacy of playing footsies with the import more Democrat voters lobby.
*Rand’s father is an ideological libertarian, and ideological libertarianism can lead to an open borders mentality, but Ron Paul initially represented the right-wing populist element of the libertarian movement and understood the sensibilities of his base. He was very strong on immigration and was even the only candidate (as far as I recall) to endorse ending birthright citizenship, an absolutely essential measure, until his 2012 campaign book which arguably muddled his stance.
Update: After I finished this article, Rand Paul’s office issued a strong denial that the Senator supports amnesty in response to an inquiry from World Net Daily. To be fair, I do think it is possible that the lobby group he participated in a conference call with exploited his participation and the Washington Times headline was hyperbolic. The denial is mildly reassuring, but this incident illustrates why Paul and others should just not flirt with the “reform” lobby at all to begin with. That game is fixed. Just leave well enough alone and pound the pulpit for border security.