Monday, January 14, 2013

Rubio Says No Progress Likely On Immigration Because Obama Is Such A Meanie To Republicans


Over the next few years, Marco Rubio will be doing everything and anything he can to distance himself from a series of corruption investigations and--presumably-- trials for his former roommate and longtime BBF, ex-Congressman David Rivera. Rivera was defeated 135,551 (54%) to 108-737 (43%) by Democrat Joe Garcia two months ago, largely based on the media reports of his stunningly corrupt career, much of it involving Rubio. And while Rivera was only supported by 43% of the district's voters, 46.4% backed Romney on the same day. Virtually every serious illegal activity Rivera engaged in had a Rubio connection.
Rivera came into office with the lingering smell of corruption on him like a cheap perfume. There were accusations he ran a courier truck delivering flyers for a rival campaign of the road, shady dog track payments to his mother, the filing of official documents claiming he was employed by a company that had never heard of him, and that foreclosed home he owned with golden boy Marco Rubio. Though, like Teflon, Rivera has so far managed to escape criminal punishment.

It was the latest round of accusations that brought him down, though. Allegedly he helped to fund the campaign of a ringer in his rival's Democratic primary campaign. He's allegedly picked up a random guy, Justin "Lamar" Sternad, set him up with close friend and self described "Conservative Bad Girl" Ana Sol Alliegro to run his campaign, and the shadiness just flowed from there. It's a controversy that involves cash stuffed envelopes, broken promises and an FBI investigation. And, oh yeah, Alliegro went missing shortly after shit hit the fan and still hasn't surfaced. ...His legal battles are far from done, and if the more bizarre of the accusation are proven he could find himself behind bars.

More importantly, his connections to Marco Rubio will certainly prove damning if Miami's wonder boy ever does decide to make a move at the presidency. Rubio and Rivera are close friends (and as we mentioned owned a house in Tallahassee together). Despite all the controversy, Rubio even recorded a robocall for Rivera in the days before the election
The heroes of the unmasking of the one-term crooked criminal were Miami Herald reporters Marc Caputo and Scott Hiaasen and after his electoral defeat, they were clear that his saga is far from over. "Voted out of office as the FBI and IRS pressed on with probes into his personal and campaign finances, Rivera officially becomes a private citizen Thursday. Rivera could be charged soon, sources familiar with the investigation say... Rivera's mercurial nature... has long concerned some Rubio backers. They’re relieved that Rivera’s political career could be over because it lowers the chances that Rubio-- a vice-presidential shortlister in 2012 who won’t rule out a future White House bid-- would get caught in the crossfire of a future controversy. The two still own a Tallahassee home, which a bank started to foreclose in 2010 just as Rubio was running for Senate."

The two of them illegally lived off campaign contributions for years and both raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through shady and criminal methods. Rubio's biggest fear-- one that drove him to cut a campaign robo call for Rivera in the waning days of his clearly doomed campaign-- is that Rivera will save his own neck by turning in Rubio. So... Rubio will do all he can to create as much noise and clamor as he can to get people to associate him with anything other than Rivera's criminal activities. And last week that was all the noise he started making about how the GOP can't be expected to support immigration reform because... Obama is so awful. Rubio claims he "poisoned the well" by pushing through the Dream Act by executive order.
His wholesale fix tries to square-- triangulate, if you will-- the liberal fringe that seeks broad amnesty for illegal immigrants and the hard right's obsession with closing the door. Mr. Rubio would ease the way for skilled engineers and seasonal farm workers while strengthening border enforcement and immigration laws. As for the undocumented migrants in America today-- eight to 12 million or so-- he proposes to let them "earn" a working permit and, one day, citizenship.

Those proposals amount to a collection of third rails for any number of lobbies. Organized labor has torpedoed guest-worker programs before. Anything that hints of leniency for illegals may offend the talk-radio wing of the GOP.

...Mr. Obama "may have even set back the cause a bit. He's poisoned the well for people willing to take on this issue," Mr. Rubio says. But he's still ready to do so, though he claims-- as hard as it is to believe-- that he hasn't "done the political calculus on this." As he knows, politics is everything on immigration. Comprehensive efforts failed twice under the Bush administration. President Obama promised in both campaigns to act, but then he didn't, even when Democrats controlled Congress his first two years.

In terms of legislative strategy, Mr. Rubio says he would want to see "a comprehensive package of bills"-- maybe four or five as opposed to one omnibus-- move through Congress concurrently. He says other experience with "comprehensive" reform (ObamaCare, the recent debt deal) shows how bad policy easily sneaks into big bills. It would also offer a tempting big target for opponents. Other reformers think that only a comprehensive bill can address the toughest issues. "It's not a line in the sand for me," replies Mr. Rubio.

Not missing a chance to tweak the president, he says that Mr. Obama has "not done a thing" on reform and may prefer to keep it alive as an electoral winner for Democrats with Hispanics for years to come. But, then again, "maybe he's interested in his legacy," Mr. Rubio adds, and open to a deal. The president, he says, would need to bring over Big Labor and talk back the most ardent pro-immigration groups from "unrealistic" positions on citizenship for illegals.

On the right, nativist voices in last year's primary campaign gave birth to phrases such as "electric fence" (Herman Cain), "self-deportation" (Mitt Romney) and other nuggets that turned Hispanic voters off. Mr. Rubio counters that most conservatives understand that immigrants are entrepreneurial and assimilate easily. "Immigration is actually an important part of affirming a limited-government movement," he says.

Is immigration reform a magic bullet for the GOP's troubles with Hispanic voters?

"No," Mr. Rubio says, but "the immigration issue is a gateway issue for Hispanics, no doubt about it. No matter what your stance is on a number of other issues, if people somehow come to believe that you don't like them or want them here, it's difficult to get them to listen to anything else."

He adds: "I think it's the rhetoric by a handful of voices in the minority, but loud nonetheless, that have allowed the left to create an unfair perception that conservatives and Republicans are anti-Hispanic and anti-immigration, and we do have to overcome that."

After two relatively quiet years in the Senate, Mr. Rubio is taking his first significant risk. Often mentioned in talk about a 2016 presidential run, he has decided to make immigration a signature issue.
But for all Rubio's verbal acrobats and transparent bullshit, Obama is actually delivering, while he sits around trying to talk the bigots and hatemongers in his own party to embrace the legitimate aspirations of America's fastest-growing voter bloc. Obama and his Senate allies are going in for a comprehensive bill that includes a pathway to citizenship and Rubio will be able to rant and rave all he wants but is, in the end, unlikely to support it and still retain the loyalty of his radical right base.
Supporters of comprehensive changes say that the elections were nothing less than a mandate in their favor, and that they are still optimistic that Mr. Obama is prepared to lead the fight.

“Republicans must demonstrate a reasoned approach to start to rebuild their relationship with Latino voters,” said Clarissa Martinez de Castro, the director of immigration policy at the National Council of La Raza, a Latino organization. “Democrats must demonstrate they can deliver on a promise.”

Since the election, Mr. Obama has repeatedly pledged to act on immigration this year. In his weekly radio address on Saturday, he again referred to the urgency of fixing the immigration system, saying it was one of the “difficult missions” the country must take on.

Parallel to the White House effort, Mr. Schumer and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican, have been meeting with a group of at least four other colleagues to write a bill. Republicans who have participated include John McCain of Arizona, who has supported comprehensive legislation in the past; Jeff Flake, also of Arizona, who is newly elected to the Senate; and Mike Lee of Utah. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida participated in one meeting last month.

Democrats in the meetings include Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat; Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado.

Basic tenets for the bill, Mr. Schumer said, were that it would be comprehensive and would offer eventual citizenship for illegal immigrants who follow a prolonged process to correct their status.

“This is a bottom line,” Mr. Schumer said in an interview on Thursday. “The Democrats have made it clear we will not accept a bill without a direct path to earned citizenship.” He said senators from both parties had been “pleasantly surprised” at how rapidly the talks had proceeded.

Mr. Rubio, a Cuban-American who has emerged as a star in his party, is making immigration one of his primary issues. He has advocated taking changes in pieces, arguing that lawmakers will get better results if the politically and practically tangled problems of the immigration system are handled separately.

Mr. Rubio has been preparing a bill that would provide legal status specifically for young illegal immigrants, known as Dreamers, who came to the United States as children.

Mr. Rubio said Thursday that the piecemeal approach was “not a line in the sand” for him. But he said he would insist that any legalization measure should not be unfair to immigrants who played by the rules and applied to become residents through legal channels.

His proposals would allow illegal immigrants to gain temporary status so that they could remain in the country and work. Then they would be sent to the back of the line in the existing system to apply to become permanent residents, without any special path to citizenship.

Mr. Rubio said he hoped to rally Republicans to support changes. Speaking of Latinos, he said, “We are going to have a struggle speaking to a whole segment of the population about our principles of limited government and free enterprise if they think we don’t want them here.”

In the Republican-controlled House, the future of a comprehensive bill remains unclear.

Representative Phil Gingrey, a Georgia Republican who follows immigration issues, said he remained opposed to “amnesty of any kind.”

He said that the Obama administration had been lax on enforcement, and that he would “continue working to secure our borders and enforce existing immigration law.”

But groups backing the overhaul say they are bigger and better organized than in the past. Last month, the labor movement, including the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and other sometimes-warring factions, affirmed a common strategy. Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it would work with labor, Latino and church organizations to pass the overhaul this year.

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At 8:05 PM, Anonymous me said...

Rubio is one of the worst of the worst. A more self-serving ignorant bastard, I have not seen.


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