Air Slowly Going Out of Rubio Balloon
The fading Marco Rubio campaign is foundering on the one-term, soon-to-be-has-been Florida legislator's leading role in the Gang of Eight immigration fiasco. It's about time:
Senator Marco Rubio made a big bet on an immigration overhaul that failed — and he has been running away from it since. Now his past is catching up with him, stoking old grievances from conservative rivals who are reopening one of the most vulnerable episodes in his past.
The anger toward Mr. Rubio on the right has only grown in recent days as he has taken to aggressively questioning Senator Ted Cruz’s toughness on illegal immigration, a line of attack that some Republicans say they find disingenuous. On talk radio, on the campaign trail and on television in states like Iowa, Mr. Rubio is suddenly facing a torrent of criticism from his own party unlike anything he has faced so far in the presidential race.Mr. Cruz’s campaign, which was initially rattled by Mr. Rubio’s attacks, is retaliating with a new ad arguing that the 2013 immigration bill Mr. Rubio helped write would have left the country exposed to attacks from Islamic State infiltrators. It shows Mr. Rubio standing with Democrats and conservative boogeymen like Senator John McCain as Mr. Cruz says: “Their misguided plan would have given Obama the authority to admit Syrian refugees, including ISIS terrorists. That’s just wrong.”
Mr. Rubio’s struggle to mollify Republicans who believe he betrayed conservative principles for political convenience — two years of outreach and labored professions of a lesson learned — has never had higher stakes: He is trying to break out beyond the third- or fourth-place spot he holds in many polls by peeling away support from conservative favorites like Mr. Cruz and Ben Carson. Yet his recent attacks on Mr. Cruz carry a fair amount of risk, as some influential conservatives are now rallying to Mr. Cruz’s side and denouncing Mr. Rubio.
The sooner the Rubio candidacy is dispatched in the early primaries, the faster the GOP electorate can decided between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.