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Rubio’s One-Man Offensive to Sell Immigration Bill to Conservatives

How is it going to play out for the 2016 hopeful?

by
Bill Straub

Bio

May 4, 2013 - 11:05 pm

WASHINGTON – The glow may be dimming on the halo conservatives positioned over the head of Sen. Marco Rubio as he pushes ahead with immigration-reform legislation that has been almost universally panned by the right wing of the Republican Party.

Once considered the frontrunner for the 2016 GOP nomination, the Florida lawmaker has run into a buzzsaw wielded by the Tea Party and others who condemn anyone for straying from what they consider conservative orthodoxy. Many now view Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the son of Cuban immigrants who was charged with introducing the Republican nominee Mitt Romney at the Tampa convention, as better presidential timbre than Rubio.

Rubio has staged a full-court press over the past month, appearing on various right-wing radio talk shows and Fox News to explain his position and firm up his conservative bona fides. His Senate staff has issued numerous statements countering what they consider erroneous or unfair comments about Rubio and the legislation.

The effort hasn’t been totally successful. National Review, the magazine launched by the late William F. Buckley that sparked the conservative movement, offers an unflattering look at Rubio in its May 20 edition. The cover photo shows him positioned between Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), two allies on the immigration endeavor, with the headline “Rubio’s Folly” prominently featured.

On Thursday about two dozen protesters gathered outside the site of the Lincoln Day Dinner, a fundraiser Rubio was attending in St. Lucie County, to voice opposition to his involvement in the immigration legislation.

“He was the Tea Party darling. Until he went to D.C. and played us,” Christine Timmon, a Tea Party supporter, told WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The Tea Party Patriots, a major conservative movement group, took aim at Rubio by staging what was termed a “D.C. intervention,” consisting of disgruntled representatives from the organization protesting at his Florida offices.

In a release the group characterized Rubio as “the star spokesman for a secretive, small group working on a bill that purports to address illegal immigration and the entire US immigration system as a whole.”

“Not only might the legislation be bad policy, it has already gone outside of the normal process,” the group said.

Rubio responded to the group by saying, “Immigration reform is a difficult issue. It represents the kind of broken government that Tea Party members across our country were fed up with in 2010, and an issue that inspired me to run in order to change the way Washington works.”

Daniel Horowitz wrote on Red State that Rubio’s position is counter to what he said during his successful election campaign in 2010.

“Look, there’s nothing new about politicians ‘evolving’ shortly after being elected to Congress, but how could someone evolve so profoundly in such short order?” Horowitz asked.

Speaking to loyal Republicans in Pasco County, Fla., on Wednesday, Rubio acknowledged “there will be no parade for me on this issue” but indicated he remains unwilling to abandon the fight.

“I ran because I wanted to fix things that I thought were hurting America — that’s what I tried to do on this issue,” he said. “To people who don’t like that solution, all I ask is, ‘What’s yours?’”

Rubio is part of what has been dubbed the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group working to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws. The legislation, issued on April 16, permits undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before Dec. 31, 2011, and remained exclusively in country thereafter to apply for what is being called provisional legal status. That would allow them to remain and work in the U.S. although they would have to wait more than 10 years to attain full citizenship.

About 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the U.S.

The measure also spends billions of dollars strengthening border security, concentrating on what are considered high-traffic zones. But conservatives opposed to the bill, which is slated for initial consideration before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 7, consider it an amnesty that violates conservative principles.

Rubio has expressed some qualms about the legislation, particularly the sections dealing with border security that he would like to see strengthened. Regardless, speaking to radio host Mike Gallagher on Tuesday, he acknowledged the Senate bill wouldn’t make it through the House in its current form, a factor that doesn’t faze him.

“The bill that’s in place right now probably can’t pass the House,” Rubio said. “It will have to be adjusted, because people are very suspicious about the willingness of the government to enforce the laws now.”

Despite the apparent political stumble, Rubio has a leg, albeit short leg, up on the rest of the 2016 GOP field, according to a recent poll. A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released April 30 showed him attracting 18 percent of the Republican primary vote with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who also has attracted conservative thunder for praising President Obama’s reaction to Hurricane Sandy, coming in second with 16 percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was third with 14 percent.

And while many conservatives have assumed a jaundiced view of Rubio, talk radio seemingly remains firmly in his corner despite claims by pollster Frank Luntz that several powerful hosts are “destroying” him. The big three – Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin – continue to heap praise on Rubio throughout the debate while simultaneously raging against the immigration bill he’s championing.

Hannity, who follows only Limbaugh among talk show hosts, remains particularly effusive, telling Rubio during a May 1 appearance on his program, “I have faith in you. I think if you were in control…I’d trust you!”

“I’ve gotten to know you and your family and I hear your conservative message and I think you have all the right intentions,” Hannity said.

Limbaugh acknowledged that Rubio is “a little naïve on the immigration stuff” but characterized him as “a good person” on his April 30 show.

“The reason I say he’s a force, there’s no question this guy is one of the few real conservatives in elected office today, folks,” Limbaugh said. “There’s no question about that.”

Washington freelancer Bill Straub is former White House correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
David Vitter (R-La) has been tweeting what he is finding on this bill, page by page. Basically, it hands over total control to Janet Napolitano, including a $50,000,000.00 grant to help illegals become legal, paid for by dumb taxpayers.

This insanity has to end. We should be accepting those immigrants who contribute to our nation, not leech off it. With our failing school systems all across this nation (yeah, Chicago and LA, I'm looking at you) we do not need millions more who have less than a high school education with many having less than an 8th grade education.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The bill being put out by the Gang of 8, or more accurately known as McCain Shamnesty II, claims it is all about "immigration" reform. Were they, the Gang of 8, honest, they would tell us that it is about "illegal" immigration reform. But what can you expect save more smoke and mirrors from John McCain and Lindsay Graham?

Here is a novel idea for that bunch of political hacks, including Rubio: enforce the laws that are currently on the books. Hiring an illegal immigrant is a crime. Prosecute those companies that do so (like the poulty industry in Arkansas) to the max. Make the fines for violating federal law so great that no employer will dare hire someone here illegally. That's the first action.

Secondly, refuse any federal funds to any state, or city, that is considered a "sanctuary" city; Houston, Austin, all of California, Chicago, New York. If any of those cities, despite state laws, give social welfare benefits to illegals, they lose their federal funding totally.

Despite the fact that Pew Hispanic Research found that citizenship is on the bottom of the priority list for illegals, the rocket scientist in D.C. still push that meme. But the truth of the matter is that illegals come here not for citizenship, but for a pay check/welfare benefits. The Mexican government currently advises its citizens on how to collect welfare once they have reached El Norte. Our own government has advised the Mexican government on what to tell its citizens on how to collect food stamps once they are here.

If illegals cannot survive here because they a) have no job and b) cannot get welfare, they will not stay. We hear to constrant drone "You cannot deport 11 million people." Well, since we did not import them, as they came here on their own power, if they are jobless/moneyless, they will self deport.

The Gang of 7 needed a Hispanic face to hit the Sunday talk shows and represent them in their attempt, again, to force this down our throats. There was no shortage of Hispanic faces they could have chosen; Congressman Bill Flores (R-Tx) or Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) but instead they chose Marco Rubio. Ask yourself why. Because Rubio could be flipped from his campaign promises and Flores and Cruz could not.

Rubio is dead in the water for 2016. And while he might carry Florida and California, he'll never carry Texas, or the heartland.

One other thing: as the Hispanic numbers continue to grow, legalizing 11-20 million more will do one thing; totally destroy any clout held by black activists such as the NAACP, Black Congressional Caucus, et al. Why? To paraphrase one Tejano friend of mine: Hispanics don't suffer from white guilt.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think Rubio's decision to morph into John McCain with a better tan has moved him into a solid position to be the director of H.U.D. in the next Democrat administration. Or, who knows...maybe he is thinking big and shooting for the Secretary of Token Fake Republican spot.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (72)
All Comments   (72)
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If Rubio has one short leg up for election, we need to make sure that that leg is chopped off because we do not need any more like Rubio. These people are basically Democrat-lite. Much is said about Rubio's superior intellect, however I question that. It seems that Rubio would understand that if you lie with dogs, you get fleas. The dogs that he has been lying with (McCain, Schumer, et. al.) are flea-infested and now Rubio is, too.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As a registered republican in FL. with strong Constitutional Tea Party connections, I am done with Rubio and the republican party "whacko birds" of McCain and Grahmnesty. If the Repubs can find no better then let them join the Whigs and the sooner the better. There is just ONE big Progressive Party in DC and it's time we wised up.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Constitution Party, look into it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is such a bizzare turn of events. Every Conservative knows that Amnesty is nothing more than a votes bonanza for the Dems. So, why would Rubio, an alleged Tea Party Conservtive, risked his entire career and reputation by pushing it?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Check out the disgusting Latino Identity Politics pandering during the Republican National Convention.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Rubio has shown his true colors -- fifth columnist for a flood of Hispanic intruders. Now, why would Marco Rubio want to flood this country with Hispanics?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Marco Rubio for president
http://www.zazzle.com/rubio_for_president_2016_t_shirt-235052657188735221

T shirt only 17.95. (I implore you as I today do not wear this around right wing militia gone Galt- they get one for target practice some may say
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Marco Rubio is dead to me.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“To people who don’t like that solution, all I ask is, ‘What’s yours?’”

Seal the damned border and deport the illegals - and no - at this point I don't care if it's 70 millions people rounded up and dumped over the border.

What part of that don't you idiots understand?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually " Miss Lolly," in a sane world you just laid out the solution, 'seal the border and deport illegal aliens.' This is not a sane world. I ask what is wrong with sending these people back to their homes? Also wither or not you want to admit it these illegals cause problems both in law enforcement and social services, as far as employment let me recount a true story.

I got out the Navy in 1985. I needed a job. I saw on local TV, the INS had conducted a raid at the horse racing track there in San Diego. They deported a bunch of illegals who were hired to clean out the stables.

The news announcer stated the track was paying these people $10 an hour not bad money in 1985. Hell, I can shovel horse pop for that! I tried to apply and was told there was no way a legal resident would be hired.
I guess it was just another job an American would not do. What was funny I was not alone that day.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think it's because we don't tell the employer we'll take pay under the table. They (employers) save a lot of money (health care, unemployment insurance to name just two) if they pay in cash under the table.

Employees would also save a lot of money. No taxes payed (including FICA) for one. Had you said you'd take pay under the tabe I bet the job would have been yours.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
He's offensive all right.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Adios Amigo!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Rubio is finished as a conservative. He should just pull a Crist and switch to the Democrat Party.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I could have voted for Suntan Charlie Crist instead of Rubio and gotten the same result and Charlie would have stayed a Repub instead of evolving into a Demoncat like Rubio did. Wait... I'm confusing myself, Who or What did I vote for or against? It turns out to be the same but.........not like me. I am a stranger in my own country or former country?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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