In light of today’s announcements by Senators Hillary Clinton and Sam Brownback, National Review has freed from the digital archive John J. Miller’s May 2006 profile of the latter. Here is an interesting passage in light of all the current chatter over how Sen. Brownback is the “true” conservative candidate in the race:
Immigration may pose an especially thorny problem. In March, Brownback broke with most of his fellow Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to vote for the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, which would put today’s illegal aliens on a path to citizenship. The senator has likened his own position to Reagan’s, though it is hard to believe that many conservatives view the 1986 immigration law (which granted amnesty to nearly 3 million illegal aliens) as a high point of Reagan’s presidency. “I see tension in our party between showing compassion and enforcing our laws,” says Brownback. “We also have to recognize that there is a lot of work where it’s hard to find Americans who will do it, such as meatpacking, which is a physically demanding and dangerous job.” He therefore believes a guest-worker program is necessary. His approval of the McCain-Kennedy bill in committee unleashed a torrent of conservative criticism: Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, a restrictionist group, dubbed him “Amnesty Sam,” and Human Events Online, the website of the weekly newspaper, declared in a headline, “Brownback Can Kiss ’08 Run Goodbye.”
Immigration is not my favorite issue. And Sen. Brownback is quite obviously a good man. But for him to claim that he should be the darling of the conservative base even while he bucks it on immigration, that he was basically born marching for life even though he has morphed on the issue just like Governor Romney, and that he should be commander-in-chief even though his current position on Iraq is deeply troubling–that’s a bit much.
UPDATE: Here’s more on the conversion issue from reader/blogger Bill.