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 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 was critical of 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.”
Erick Erickson of Red State, who just signed on to become a Fox News contributor, says “I don’t like Marco Rubio’s plan.” What’s particularly interesting about that is Erickson admits immigration is one issue where he leans to the left of most of his readers; and even he says “I think this plan is warmed over McCain-Kennedy and will do nothing to solve the problem.”
Specifically, Erickson says the Rubio plan “is clearly written by a group of men who seemingly love government, but do not love free markets, small businesses, or individuals. It is a plan based on faith in government, not free enterprise or the American people. It does nothing to actually solve our immigration problems, but hides behind the construct of ‘comprehensive’ reform. Along the way, it potentially adds more people to already overwhelmed entitlement programs, but then that too is another kicked can.”
It appears to me the GOP is split into three evenly divided camps on the issue. To be the GOP presidential nominee in 2016, Rubio needs to win two out of three.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.