After his rousing keynote address at the Republican National Convention last August, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was the darling of the GOP. As a young, articulate, intelligent, Cuban-American, Rubio was seen as a leading 2016 presidential candidate. Some commentators even predicted that Rubio was so outstanding that he would scare away many of his would be opponents.
What a difference a year makes! Rubio is no longer the shining star of the Republican Party. In fact, the mere mention of his name causes some Republicans to mutter expletives. The reason for the dramatic change is Rubio’s strong support for the immigration reform bill.
His high approval ratings have decreased among self described conservatives. According to a recent Public Policy Poll, in the last 90 days, Rubio’s approval rating among “very conservative” respondents has declined nine points, among “somewhat conservative” respondents it is down four points and among Hispanics, it has dropped five points. This is quite ironic for many Republican Party leaders believe that support of the immigration reform bill is essential to build support in the Hispanic community. Well, it is not working for Senator Rubio, the poster child for the “Gang of Eight,” the bi-partisan group of Senators who are sponsoring the immigration reform bill.
This motley Senate gang includes liberal champion New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Most Republicans are appalled that Rubio is pushing a plan supported by not only Schumer, but also President Obama.
It is clear why Democrats like Obama support the bill. They know that once 11-20 million illegal immigrants are given the right to vote, the vast majority will support the Democratic Party. Yet, why are Rubio and other Republican moderates supporting this bill? The negative ramifications for the GOP could be quite severe. In the last election, 77 percent of Hispanic voters cast their ballot for Barack Obama. If this bill is passed, red states like Texas will become blue and then the GOP can forget about winning another presidential election. It seems like Rubio has a death wish for the Republican Party. It is why columnist Ann Coulter calls him the GOP’s “Jack Kevorkian.”
Besides the obvious political ramifications, there are many reasons for conservatives to oppose this bill. It will legalize the millions of undocumented aliens first before any consideration of border security. In an interview last Sunday on Univision, the Spanish language TV network, Rubio said “First comes the legalization, then come the measures to secure the border, and then comes the process of permanent residence.”
This shocking statement contradicts what Rubio said in other interviews when he claimed that border security would be improved before amnesty. It also is not want the American people want, which by a 4-1 margin demand that border security needs to be the focus before any amnesty is granted.
Our current border security is a joke. Along the 2,000 mile border with Mexico, only 656 miles of fencing is completed. The U.S. government has the technology to build a fence; it just lacks the political willpower. We are too concerned with political correctness and how a border fence will be interpreted by our Mexican neighbors and the millions of Hispanic voters in this nation. Thus, we are ignoring our national security and the wishes of a vast majority of Americans.
In his support of immigration reform, Rubio is pandering to the mainstream media, the GOP establishment and Hispanic voters, but he is becoming more unpopular with the key demographic that controls the nomination process, grassroots conservatives. While he might succeed in passing the immigration reform bill in the Senate, he will never succeed in his real goal, winning the Republican nomination and becoming President of the United States.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.