Mickey Kaus, former at his blog the Kaus Files and now from the Daily Caller blog and elsewhere, has been one of the more persistent reporters on the subject of immigration reform. Earlier this week he reflected on the recent contradictions between the stories given by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) before different audiences. The text of the Daily Caller article appears below, with my slight editing for brevity:
Here is Rep. Paul Ryan talking about the Republican leadership’s immigration plan on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos last Sunday:
“[F]irst we have to secure the border, have interior enforcement, which is a worker verification system, a visa tracking program. Those things have to be in law, in practice and independently verified before the rest of the law can occur. … “So it’s a security force first, non-amnesty approach. … “And if we can get security first, no amnesty, before anything happens, we think that’s a good approach.”
When I saw that interview, I initially tweeted that Ryan “still pretends his plan is Enforcement-1st.” But that wasn’t really accurate. Ryan isn’t pretending his plan is an Enforcement First plan. He’s not spinning. He’s not obfuscating and he’s not shading the truth. He’s lying. I apologize for the error.
When Ryan went on ABC, he’d already gone on Chuck Todd’s MSNBC program a few days earlier and said, quite clearly, that the GOP leadership plan he’s talking about would give illegals a “work permit … while the border is getting secured, while interior enforcement [sentence trails off] …”
In other words, the border isn’t secured “before anything happens.” Something happens! Illegals get to work and live here legally (on “probationary” status that can later turn into permanent status). The border security measures do not have to be “in practice” before “the rest of the law can occur” – the part of the “rest of the law” that makes illegals legal occurs immediately, long before security measures are in place (reducing the political pressure, of course, to ever get them in place at all).
Ryan must have known all this when he falsely described the GOP plan to Stephanopoulos half a week later. In contrast to the GOP leaders’ written immigration “principles,” Ryan did not artfully leave himself Clintonian wiggle room. There is no wiggle room (“anything”). It’s a flat contradiction. He apparently didn’t care. The job of conning conservatives into supporting the leadership’s amnesty plan – by making them think it’s “security first” when it’s “legalization first” – takes precedence over conventional Spin Etiquette (‘deceive, distort, dissemble but don’t flat out lie’). Distorting and dissembling weren’t getting the job done, I guess.
That’s one reason why opponents of legalization suspect Ryan was trying to lull them into complacence when he suggested on ABC that the GOP leadership amnesty drive had stalled (“clearly in doubt”). If it’s stalled, it’s only a temporary, probationary stall. Amnesty is a zombie, as Breitbart‘s Jonathan Strong observes. The only way to keep it at bay – or kill it for the 2014 term – is for opponents to keep the heat on.
Ryan’s diligent work on budget plans in past years is certainly praiseworthy, but his deceitful conduct in pursuit of immigration reform has been a big disappointment. And we conservatives must keep this in mind when considering his appeal as a Presidential candidate.