Walker’s Nails on the Amnesty Blackboard

Gov. Walker’s spokesperson talks about what his (still vague) immigration policy might look like:

Yes, at the minimum, there needs to be penalties put in place. In addition to securing our borders, the federal government must enforce our laws, penalize those who break the law including paying back taxes … [E.A.]

“Back taxes”? Yikes. By now that is a reverse dog whistle that tells you a politician is out to con anti-amnesty voters by pretending to collect “back taxes” from soon-to-be-amnestied illegals. The claim is usually a fraud, as it was in the defunct “Gang of 8” bill. But even if it wasn’t, the back-taxes issue just isn’t that important. (Implementing E-Verify, building a fence and a visa-tracking system, and getting the courts to uphold them are important.) You wouldn’t bring up “back taxes” unless your top priority was crafting some kind of legalization plan and selling it to the Republican base with a few symbolic, poll-tested “tough” provisions.

A real anti-amnesty politician probably wouldn’t talk at all about what, exactly, illegals would have to do to get legalized. He’d focus on what it takes to stop future waves of illegal immigration. Put the Gang of 8 talking points in a drawer.

P.S.: In the he said-she said dispute between the Walker campaign and the WSJ — about whether Walker said at a dinner that illegals would “eventually become eligible for citizenship”– does anyone believe Walker didn’t say it? It’s not that bad if he did — depends on what “eventually” means (i.e. what has to happen between now and then). Even “Enforcement First” concedes that legalization may come second. Talking about “back taxes” and mocking Romney (which the WSJ also says Walker did) are much worse signs.

I’m under no illusions about where Walker’s heart lies. But I’ll settle for faking it. An insincere embrace of Enforcement First is better than no embrace, especially if it proves to be the key to Walker’s success. Insincere positions that get votes have a way of becoming, if not sincere positions, the actual positions that go into effect.

P.P.S.: Daily Caller‘s Neil Munro, for one, isn’t buying the recent Walker immigration toughening (largely because he leaves the door open for admitting the millions of additional legal immigrants and guest workers that businesses “job creators” want). …

P.P.P.S.: Munro seems to be leaving the Caller for Laura Ingraham’s new web site. Good get for her. The thing about Munro is that while he can talk your ear off in a near-unintelligible stream of words, he is an energetic reporter with an unusual nose for what the next angle of a story is, often seeing things that the herd (myself included) miss. And he’s really fast. …