Sam Brownback Ends Quest to Become Even Vaguely Interesting


There was a very brief time—right before his volunteers shouted down Mitt Romney's attempts to talk with a child at CPAC—when I thought Sam Brownback had a chance to impact the GOP primary. Three months ago Brownback was the only Republican candidate who was both amenable to citizenship for illegal immigrants and opposed to the Iraq surge. But since then he's walked back his anti-surge comments and, now, his immigration stance.

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Sam Brownback said yesterday he no longer supports the immigration overhaul bill that he helped pass in the Senate.

"I would not vote for the same bill," Mr. Brownback told reporters yesterday morning, saying that after the bill passed the Senate he had a chance to study its effects and decided it led to too much immigration.

It's a major reversal for a man who is listed as one of seven original sponsors of the bill, along with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, who spearheaded the bill.

This is just weak. Brownback never used to nitpick about whether a bill had the right safeguards and gimmicks to legalize immigrants—he just wanted them legalized already. He said so with what sounded like great sincerity.

At the turn-of-the-century, critics said that Italians and East Europeans would never become Americans. Today, the same arguments are made against Latinos, Asians, and other immigrants. Behind the rhetoric, the critics' arguments boil down to this: Immigrants aren't good enough to join us and America is not strong enough to absorb them. History teaches us nothing could be more wrong.

When the Pilgrims set out for America they sought a land where they could work hard, pray in peace, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Nearly 400 years later, the same can be said of today's immigrants.

C'mon: Either that can be said or it can't be said. Is there really no room in the GOP primary for a candidate who holds the majority viewpoints on immigration and the war?