First, of all, let me say that, at first glance, I think I support this immigration bill. Once I really sit down and understand it, I will have something more detailed to say. But I was struck by Ed Morrissey’s argument about it, as it applies to Mitt Romney:
Will this mollify the hard-liners? It’s unlikely. Hugh Hewitt has called for a grassroots operation to stop the agreement, even though it pretty much matches what his preferred candidate outlined during the last debate: … Well, if this bill has the touchback provision, and it has the Z-visa and the formal guest-worker program, and really secures the border, then it meets his requirements … doesn’t it?
For Romney, this is really going to be an important test. Does he believe what he says? Or is it just political positioning? My money is on just political positioning. But I look forward to being surprised.
Ed continues with a longer critique of the "hard-line" position:
Here’s the problem with the hard-liner arguments, which amounts to "they’ll never engage the border-security and workplace enforcement portions." Well, that could be true of any immigration bill, even if it completely matched the conservative position on immigration. It’s an argument that only supports no action whatsoever on illegal immigration, including border controls. In fact, it applies to everything Congress passes. If that’s our concern, it’s an argument for non-engagement in the legislative process — which necessarily works through making compromises that the majority in the end can support.
Ed nails it. To win back the majority, Republicans have to stand for something positive. Being the "caucus of no" doesn’t win elections. And it doesn’t demonstrate leadership.
I will write more on the immigration bill, both the policy and the politics later.