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Its been awhile since we last checked in with our old pal Marco Rubio, hasn’t it? The “rising star” of the Republican Party has been overshadowed as of late by fellow freshman Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in terms of ambitious politicians who clearly are charting out a 2016 presidential run.
Rubio, on the other hand, has been doing something differently ever since his infamous sip-heard-’round-the-world that occurred during his rebuttal of the State of the Union. Rubio has actually been trying to write a bipartisan immigration reform bill alongside with several Democrats and Republicans. Imagine that, he’s actually doing his job as opposed to operating a self-service agenda.
But, of course, that’s in-between numerous visits to the set of Meet the Press and the wide variety of Sunday morning talk shows that John McCain has frequented throughout the years. So maybe he is not quite the hard-working Senator that is more interested in carving a legislative record rather than one more interested in espousing the usual rhetoric.
Well for those of you who were already convinced that Rubio was a man of rhetoric and not achievement, then yesterday’s news was perfect for you as the junior Senator from Florida stated that he would likely vote against the bill that he helped craft in the “Gang of Eight” unless “changes” were made.
Precisely, Rubio stated this to radio host Hugh Hewitt:
Rubio said the Senate should “strengthen the border security parts of this bill so that they’re stronger, so that they don’t give overwhelming discretion to the Department of Homeland Security.” He said he was working with other senators on amendments to do just that.
Then Hewitt asked: “If those amendments don’t pass, will you yourself support the bill that emerged from Judiciary, Senator Rubio?”
Rubio answered, “Well, I think if those amendments don’t pass, then I think we’ve got a bill that isn’t going to become law, and I think we’re wasting our time. So the answer is no.
Of course, Rubio wants to do this though; its so thinly disguised as political opportunism that I almost have an inkling that Rubio has planned this from the moment he agreed to join the Gang of Eight. Its not too shocking that Republicans want more and its certainly not the most shocking that Democrats have already done their fair share of compromising including the removal of a key amendment that would allow American citizens to sponsor same-sex couples for green cards.
However, as per most news items that we see, we after look at the future ramifications of what Rubio is doing and what exactly his angle is. Immigration reform, much like what healthcare reform was in the past, is legendary for being almost impossible to pass. In fact, George W. Bush said that one of his biggest regrets was not pushing for an immigration reform bill (yeah, I know THAT is his biggest regret).
Immigration reform, and creating a pathway to citizenship, is hugely important for both the Democrats and Republicans. Democrats need to find a way to keep the Hispanic vote from Republicans and Republicans just simply have to avoid losing it forever.
However Republicans need immigration reform by 2016 (when the next presidential election occurs), BUT they can’t let Democrats and President Barack Obama take sole credit for it. If immigration reform is somehow passed and signed into law, I doubt history will remember it as “Marco Rubio co-wrote the bill” instead of it being one of Barack Obama’s chief pieces of legislation.
Still, what could be the Republicans loss would be Marco Rubio’s gain. Rubio can tell the masses that he tried to pass immigration reform, made an earnest effort but Democrats didn’t go far enough to help curb undocumented workers from coming into the country. Rubio can even stress that he has worked “across the aisle” (a phrase that gets rehashed every four years and gets more nauseating as time passes) which always pleases a few independents.
Nonetheless, Rubio is trying to have his cake, eat it too and distance himself from ever putting it in the oven. He’s not doing a good job at it either which reminds me of what I stated earlier in my belief that Marco Rubio is simply too amateur for the national spotlight as of now. Maybe by 2020 he’ll be savvy but he still comes across as the guy who crammed too much the week before a high school debate tournament.
But then again, who else will the Republican Party nominate and who will carry them into the future?