He makes a few sound arguments about the benefits of the bill, and he shrewdly ties them to Conservative goals, mostly economic.
In the main, I think he's right. But like so many other issues, he's right "...all the way from B to Z". It's the A to B step he misses.
Republicans want REAL border security, not the kind that is so riddled with holes and provisos as to render it feckless. THAT is what the bill brings. Brooks acknowledges as much, saying "The first conservative complaint is that, as Kristol and Lowry put it, “the enforcement provisions are riddled with exceptions, loopholes and waivers.” If Obama can waive the parts of Obamacare he finds inconvenient, why won’t he end up waiving a requirement for the use of E-Verify. There’s some truth to this critique, and maybe the House should pass a version of the Senate bill that has fewer waivers and loopholes. But, at some point, this argument just becomes an excuse to oppose every piece of legislation, ever. All legislation allows the executive branch to have some discretion. It’s always possible to imagine ways in which a law may be distorted in violation of its intent. But if you are going to use that logic to oppose something, you are going to end up opposing tax reform, welfare reform, the Civil Rights Act and everything else." No David, you're wrong. Quite wrong. This is a valid argument, especially when one considers the relationship between the two main goals of this legislation--border security and some path to legality for illegals. Why in God's name would Republicans roll over on the latter part, and then provide the President with endless options to stymie their main political goal in the legislation. Brooks simply doesn't get the depth of commitment Conservatives have to doing a better job of closing our border.
That said, Conservatives are still blowing this. They are blowing this because of an unrealistic, dogmatic, and ultimately self-defeating stance on how to handle those already here illegally. Truth be told, there are plenty of Republicans on the Hill whose approach to immigration reform would be to close the border and then do nothing else. That's not realistic. So how to move forward?
Republicans and Conservatives need to change the both the ideology and the rhetoric. We must publicly and sincerely identify with the forces which drive someone to hazard their lives in crossing the border in order to find a piece of our American Dream. We have to begin to use the language of understanding, the language of empathy. "Yes. We get it. We understand why you came here, and while we find the circumstances of your arrival to be wrong, the circumstances of your presence must be dealt with. We want you to participate fully in the blessings of this exceptional country. We want you to live and work and pay taxes and raise families proudly in our country. We will put aside our aversion to the illegal act that brought you here in order to ensure your full integration into our great civilization."
But there must be a cost for this concession. A political cost. And that is, Democrats MUST agree to measures that more appropriately protect our borders. Real ones. Without loopholes. With means for the ways to do so. David Brooks wants Republicans to roll over on what to do with those already here for the dubious promise of an administration that has double-crossed time and again, one whose approach to its own power is of growing concern. Republicans must stand their ground on border security, and make it the cost Democrats pay for a new Republican approach to legalizing those already here.