Thursday, June 27, 2013

Does Marco Rubio Have The Guts Mitt Romney Didn't?

Two weeks ago I wrote that Florida Senator Marco Rubio was taking some heat from many on his right over his immigration stance. His involvement in the "Gang of 8", a bi-partisan group of elected officials who have come up with a pretty reasonable plan for immigration reform, has brought out a dangerous and counter-productive element of today's Conservative movement. Right wing pundits have been especially critical of the Gang of 8's proposal, including popular RW talkers Mark Levin, who said, "“It amazes me how few Republicans in elected office actually talk about the Constitution. They have no more respect for it, no more concern about its boundaries and limits than the left. That’s why I say they’re neo-statist.”  Later, name-checked Rubio during the same tirade:  “You got that, Marco? You got that Paul and Karl Rove, as you lie  through your teeth, you got it, pal?”

Laura Ingraham said, “To all the Republicans who supported this, well know that you’re writing your own political obituary. I hope you know that you just participated in the political equivalent of a one-night stand. Once the Democrat leadership has had their way with you, they’re not going to love you in the morning,” And, "In all my years of warning about the GOP moderates, I’m certain that this Senate immigration deal is the worst thing they’ve ever done,” 

Michelle Malkin offered, "Marco Rubio has made some extremely bad choices . . . Unfortunately Marco Rubio has been completely self-diluted . .. I think he’s trying to save face.”

Ann Coulter said, The patriotic House member’s position has got to be until the Senate is in  Republican hands, preferably Rubio-free, sorry, we’re not even going to pass a  bill that mentions immigration. A week earlier she dubbed him, “the Jack Kevorkian of the Republican Party.”

Even Glen Beck is upsetLet me tell you something Marco Rubio, I haven’t trusted you for quite some time.  Rubio’s a dirtbag.  He is not on our side. Don’t trust Marco Rubio.”

Good grief. Glen Beck calling Marco Rubio a dirtbag? Really?

Mr. Rubio hasn't been afraid to take on his critics directly as he's made stops at most of the popular conservative media outlets like Fox news and various right wing radio talk shows. Generally speaking, Rubio is well liked and thought of as having great potential to lead the party back to the White House someday. Maybe that day will be in 2016. Maybe not.

A recent poll by the conservative leaning Rasmussen Reports shows Rubio taking a hard hit in his favorability ratings within the Republican Party. In February, Rubio was considered favorable by 73% of Republicans. That number fell to 68% in May and earlier this week had dropped even further to 58%. Overall, a severe drop in his favorability ratings of 21% in less than six months.

Senator Rubio took to the floor of the Senate Wednesday to defend the Gang of 8 immigration plan as well as his support of it. Its twelve minutes long, but Rubio does a nice job directly responding to his critics and making a strong case why it should be supported.

I do not agree with Marco Rubio on most issues. Should he be the GOP's nominee I would have a hard time voting for him. That said, it strikes me that here we have an attractive, young, dynamic and capable legislator showing a willingness to reach across the aisle and work toward a common good with Democrats. Which, generally speaking, is something that most independent voters find highly attractive. Rather than learn the lesson from the Mitt Romney disaster, the hard liners mentioned above and others like fellow Senator Ted Cruz-(R TX) are trashing Rubio's efforts. Cruz has, in fact, compared the proposed Bill to "human trafficking."

For those of you who have forgotten, Mitt Romney was a mostly moderate Republican Governor of a liberal state in Massachusetts, who's biggest success, "Romneycare" was rendered utterly useless by the Republican primary process. Romney was forced/chose to abandon his moderate strength and pronounce himself not just a conservative but a severe conservative, which was, of course, laughable. Its my opinion, the primary process forced Romney to move so far to his right to win the hearts and minds of the primary voters, that when it came time to move back towards the middle to attract the independent and undecided voters, he could'nt step to his left fast or far enough and he wound up getting clocked badly by an unpopular incumbent who's middle name is Hussein and is thought by many to be a Muslim, Socialist/Marxist, Kenyan who hates Christians and Christmas equally.

Again I'll caution those on the right against making the same mistake twice. Rubio is probably less moderate than Romney was, but if he's so easily attacked it makes me wonder if any lessons have been learned from the 2012 Presidential Election. To many in the middle, voices like those of Cruz and fellow Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) strike many of us as too extreme, too strident. Rubio doesn't have the extreme or nutty label yet and I applaud his efforts to stand his far.

Glen beck called Marco Rubio a dirtbag. That's precious...


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