MAKING HONEST CITIZENS

The peerless Michael Barone makes a classic, conservative case for a Mexican illegal immigrant amnesty in the Journal today. No quibbles here. UPI’s Steve Sailer, however, cautions against this as a purely ethnic political move. Mexican-Americans only made up 3 percent of the voting population in 2000 – and most were concentrated in Texas and California, two states that are largely out of electoral play for the foreseeable future. But Sailer misses, I think, the broader political point. Such an amnesty wouldn’t just please Latino voters. It would be a bold statement of a compassionate conservatism that would resonate with centrists and suburbanites. Even Paul Berman in Slate describes the move as “immense” and rightly thinks that “on this one very important question, Bush has gone a lot further than Gore would ever have gone.” In short, it’s a master-stroke, playing to Bush’s strengths. I hope the administration doesn’t get spooked by its paleo wing and sticks with this one.