Unlike Ted Cruz (see below), the bloom is already off Marco Rubio, the rose that was once the rising star of the GOP. (How’s that for a poetry-slam of mixed metaphors?) At least according to Josh Marshall:
As I’ve noted elsewhere, I believe immigration reform is quite likely dead, unless its biggest supporters accept that fact and take the fight into the political and campaign arena rather than letting it die a slow death of opacity on Capitol Hill.
But it’s not too soon to note the main political fatality: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Rubio’s vulnerability is so great in part because he staked so much on immigration reform as a way to loft himself to the top tier of 2016 GOP candidates. But the other part is because there was so little to the man in the first place absent his fortuitous would-be positioning as the young new Hispanic face of a Republican party reeling from a reputation for having little to no traction with America’s burgeoning non-white population.
So now Rubio seems trapped, on the wrong side of his party’s base on a key issue – and one that looks unlikely even to deliver legislation that might have bipartisanship traction with middle-ground voters. It’s one thing to say ‘I bucked my party to bring change the country needs’, another to say ‘I bucked my party on change my country needs but it actually didn’t pan out. Sorry.’ And now he’s forced to become some sort of hyperactive conservative wild man – what he wasn’t supposed to be – in order to recoup ground on the right that likely can’t be salvaged.
The wind blowing through the ears of the GOP base is not in the direction of immigration reform, and that was going to be Mr. Rubio’s big pitch. Once he loses that and the Tea Party figures out that he was just another opportunistic politician with charm and smooth talk, he’ll have a tough time trying to get back into their good graces.
Some of Josh’s readers responded with “not so fast; other GOP hopefuls survived setbacks,” including John McCain and Mitt Romney. Both bucked their party and backed unpopular — at least to the base of the party — ideas such as immigration reform and healthcare. But neither won their presidential election, either.
And there’s another factor that Josh brings up that a lot of us who live in Florida already know: Marco Rubio’s career here before he became a senator would become an open book on the national stage, and, depending on your point of view, it could be either a disaster or a Jiffy-Pop extravaganza.
By the way, as I’ve noted before and as upyernoz reiterates, sending a Cuban to sell immigration reform to Republicans is an interesting proposal since, by law, there are no illegal immigrants from Cuba in America. But to most Republicans, a Latino is a Latino.