The media has been reporting on a recent meeting between presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) as evidence of Corker being screened for the job of vice president on Trump's ticket. Certainly a number of other Republican lawmakers jumped on the possibility with some enthusiasm, although Sen. Corker himself was typically politician-coy about the subject of the meeting afterward.
This latest speculation follows earlier chattering from weeks ago that Trump might be considering failed presidential candidate Marco Rubio as his running mate — which Rubio quickly quashed, saying he wasn't interested. Trump has also allegedly considered Scott Walker and John Kasich, Republican governors and, like Rubio, failed candidates this election season.
It's perhaps too early to take the Corker speculation any more seriously than the earlier hot air, but it is worth a quick comment or two. Corker, like Rubio, Walker, and Kasich, is part of the more-immigration-is-better camp. To pro-enforcement types such as myself, Corker's name is indelibly tied to the miserable, deceptive, and ultimately doomed Gang of Eight amnesty bill from a few years ago (see here, here, and here).
One wonders whether this latest duck-and-feint is something that came out of the meeting a few weeks ago between Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who famously said he was not ready to support Trump with the flimsiest of prompting (speaking of politician-coy). This faux reticence seems to be the go-to ploy for Ryan, who used a similar tactic when protesting (much too loud methinks) that he didn't want, really didn't want, to be elected speaker when John Boehner was unseated. We're left to ask: Is Ryan trying to squeeze Trump into the "proper" mold before he gets the blessing of Republican elites at the upcoming convention by encouraging him to choose an acceptable open-borders running mate to take the edge off of Trump's earlier tough talk about immigration?
Ryan himself is notoriously open-borders minded, although like Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and many other elites, how he lives and what he preaches for the rest of us are in stark contrast.
Many people in the pro-enforcement/less-immigration camp are understandably nervous Trump supporters. They're wondering whether he'll walk the walk, as well as talk the talk. They are not unaware of his own business flirtations with use of "H" visa workers at his Mar-a-Lago resort and elsewhere.
Right now, polls show him surging against Hillary Clinton (another "do what I say, not what I do" type, where immigration and lifestyles are concerned) in any head-to-head matchup. My guess is that could change in an instant and his support among key groups, including independents, would quickly fall away, if Trump falls into Ryan's trap in a foolish effort to lure establishment conservatives. It would be proof of the worst kind that he was simply pandering all along.
If, as the pundits suggest, the key issue for Americans voters is the economy, then let's hope that Trump and his advisers are smart enough to know that ordinary Americans do link their economic well-being to the ability to get and keep decent jobs, which inevitably leads us into the discussion of how to curb the overabundance of cheap foreign labor, legal or otherwise. There is just no escaping that connection.
So the question, vis-a-vis Trump vs. establishment conservatives such as Ryan, many of whom are squishy on the question of rolling back immigration, is: Will Mohammed go to the mountain or will the mountain come to Mohammed? And which is the mountain? The presidency hangs in the balance.