Give it to Ted Cruz. However the Saturday night debate in Greenville, South Carolina affected his fortunes or those of Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, John Ellis Bush, John Kasich, or Ben Carson, he made known what he wished about illegal immigration.
"I studied nearly every word the Texas senator uttered during the immigration shutdown," Slate's William Saletan wrote last month." He may be the most spectacular liar ever to run for president," the point Ben Carson, Doanld Trump, and Marco Rubio are trying to make, though it's a trait which should aid him in the GOP primaries.
As Saletan demonstrated, we still don't know what Ted Cruz believes about legalization, Still, if "to the victor go the spoils," in a GOP primary, to the candidate who most often utters "amnesty" goes the victory (video below). Linking your opponent to Democrats doesn't hurt, either. "When Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and establishment Republicans," Cruz maintained, "were leading the fight to pass a massive amnesty plan, "I stood with Jeff Sessions and Steve King and the American people and led the fight to defeat that amnesty plan."
He hit the Republican sweet spot when he asserted
The Rubio-Schumer amnesty plan passed the Senate and it was on the verge of passing the House.
House leadership intended to take it up and pass it with the Democrats overruling most of the Republicans. And the question for anyone on illegal immigration is where were you in that fight? Where did you stand?
It's obvious, though, where Kasich and Bush both stand, and it's for legalization and not citizenship. Kasich explained
I'm for a guest worker program. People can come in, work, and go back home. We haven't closed the border because special interests, I believe, blocked it. Then, we have 11 and a half million people here. If they have not committed a crime since they've been here, make them pay a fine, and some back taxes, and give them a path to legalization, never to citizenship.
Bush added that he favors "controlling the border, dealing with the visa over-stayers, making sure that we have a path to legal status, not to citizenship, for those that come out from the shadows and pay a fine, learn English, don't commit crimes, work and pay taxes."
For Kasich and Bush, if immigrants are model, law-abiding citizens, speaking English, working, and paying their taxes, they get the right not to be deported. Not to be citizens, of course, and expecially not to vote. They can't be Americans but they have earned the right to be paid sub-standard wages to serve the rich and powerful. Great guys, those "moderates"!
By contrast, Rubio Marco Rubio advocated being "reasonable, but responsible" about an individual "who can pass a background check, who pays a fine and starts paying taxes and all they want is a work permit. But you can't do any of that until you prove to people that illegal immigration is under control once and for all."
Too many Republicans hear that as "amnesty," though even if it means citizenship (which most Democrats want), it is not amnesty which, as Rubio noted, means "the forgiveness of wrongdoing without consequence."
Facts being optional in a GOP contest, the candidate who most often mentions amnesty (as Cruz did twice) gains the political high ground.. If Ted Cruz doesn't promptly run a commercial using Marco Rubio's words in Saturday's debate to imply the latter favors "amnesty" for "illegals," it will constitute campaign malpractice.