Thursday, January 2, 2014
Comments from Ruben Navarette:
In the spring, it looked as if [Senator Marco] Rubio was the designated quarterback of the Senate's Gang of Eight. These were the four Democrats and four Republicans who pieced together an immigration reform compromise that was called too lenient by conservatives and too harsh by liberals.
On the weekend before the bill was unveiled in April, Rubio appeared on seven Sunday talk shows, discussing - in English and Spanish - the specifics of the legislation. He seemed to be everywhere, including on just about every list of front-runners for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. The consensus in much of the media was that this well-spoken and telegenic young man was going places, and that defusing the explosive immigration issue just might be his ticket.
I thought that despite Rubio's wrongheaded support of the Arizona immigration law, which unapologetically promotes ethnic profiling of Latinos, the senator had at least come down on the right side of the discussion over comprehensive immigration reform. I also thought that if he were successful in forging a legislative solution, he might just help bring more Latinos to the Republican Party. That would benefit both Latinos and Republicans by giving the former more options and giving the latter new life. Finally, I thought, this guy was a profile in courage, standing up to right-wingers in his own party. Here was a Cuban-American willing to brave the idiotic hate mail telling him to "Go back to Mexico!"
It didn't turn out this way. Rubio has become a colossal disappointment. His critics, and his own presidential ambition, got the better of him.
He has dropped support for a comprehensive approach - one that enforces the border, gives employers guest workers, and provides legal status to the undocumented - and undermined his own bill. Through a spokesman, he returned in October to advocating something that he supported a year earlier, before all this started: a piecemeal approach that tries to solve at least part of the problem by, for instance, ensuring that agriculture has workers or offering legal status to young people brought here by their parents. Read more...