A friend of mine, Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak, tweeted on Tuesday night that if immigration reform goes through Congress this year "it will almost solely be due to" Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
To which I replied: "you break it, you buy it."
There are two different conservative narratives about Rubio's dalliance with John McAmnesty and the other bi-partisan group of senators on board with his plan. The first is the glowing words coming from Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and now Rush Limbaugh. Just one day after Limbaugh made national news by trashing Rubio's plan, he praised the senator effusively when Rubio appeared on his show to defend himself. That's a big win for Rubio. Going on offense to defend himself is a much better approach to this scalding hot issue than Monday's photo op with McAmnesty, Charles "we don't need no stinking Constitution" Schumer, and Bob "where the underage hookers are" Menendez that I criticized in my latest Business Insider column.
But while winning the support of three of the biggest name conservatives when it comes to the air war is important, perhaps even more crucial is winning the support of organizations that actually put conservative boots on the ground. And Rubio still has a ways to go where that's concerned.
For example, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, one of the largest grassroots conservative organizations in the country, said that Rubio has essentially "kneecapped himself for 2016" (referencing the senator's presumed presidential ambitions). In a column titled "Rubio Amnesty Plan Way Worse than I Thought," AFA's policy director referred to Rubio's plan "as the same old bait and switch" conservatives have fallen for in the past.
Fischer adds "the solution Rubio is offering is the same one that created the mess we’re trying to clean up right now. It’s impossible not to think of the reigning definition of insanity as you listen to Republicans gamely expect magical results to come from 'solutions' that have never worked in the past and will never work in the future."