Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has been spending too much time with John McCain. Over the weekend she came out in support of the Gang of Eight Immigration bill, despite her 2010 campaign platform promising to be tough on immigration. In her announcement she failed to address any of the problems with the bill that go against her campaign promises.
If Ayotte recognized any of the problems in the bill that she might have objected to in 2010, she didn’t say. Indeed, the striking thing about Ayotte’s endorsement was how little it engaged the substance of the Gang of Eight bill. For example, many of her conservative supporters object to its plan to grant legal status to the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants before any enhanced security measures are in place. Ayotte sides with the gang on that, but she never explained why.
Nor did she display even a whiff of skepticism about the bill’s reliance on a visa exit-entry system that has been mandated by Congress multiple times in the past decade and a half, but never actually put in place. And if she has any reservations about the bill’s lack of “triggers” to make sure new security is actually in effect before currently illegal immigrants embark on the path to citizenship, she didn’t say so.
“Ayotte shows no sign of knowing what the main objections of the bill’s critics are, much less of having grappled with them,” wrote the editors of National Review in a scathing assessment of her reasoning.
After Ayotte’s announcement, I sent a note to her office asking whether her support of the Gang of Eight bill is consistent with her 2010 campaign positions on immigration. “Senator Ayotte’s views are consistent,” answered spokeswoman Liz Johnson.
Yeah, her views are consistent with those of her buddies John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
I’m not sure if she made her announcement before or after Marco Rubio promised that legalization will not be tied to border security. But then, it probably doesn’t matter.