Sunday, June 02, 2013

Will Rubio's Centrist Position On Immigration Reform Disqualify Him From The Presidential Nomination Of The Party Of Hatred And Bigotry?


Californians for Population Stabilization insists they're not a hate group and not about racism but they're fooling no one in California. Now they're taking their bigotry on the road-- running TV spots against McCain and Flake in Arizona and against Marco Rubio in Florida. Rubio isn't up for reelection next year. If the above and the ad below are meant to harm him, I suspect it's his presidential ambitions they have in mind. Marc Caputo at the Miami Herald covered the animus right-wing hate groups are developing towards Rubio for his role in the comprehensive immigration reform process. And they're not just running the ads on cable. They, at the minimum, targeted Brevard County, a GOP bastion where Romney beat Obama 159,270 (56%) to 122,972 (43%). In his 3-way race in 2010, Rubio cleaned up in Brevard:

Rubio- 107,930 (54%)
Crist- 56,202 (28%)
Meek- 32,069 (16%)

The spot that's running now, seen on NBC, savages the immigration bill for flooding Florida with workers at a time when joblessness still plagues the land. It's a potent message in the Space Coast for two reasons: It's a very conservative place and unemployment is among the highest in the state.

While the Florida media buys likely aren't big, it's another sign that Rubio-- a 2016 White House hopeful and GOP frontrunner-- faces some conservative blowback in his own backyard for backing immigration reform. And his support for hard-core conservative positions (from voting against an iteration of the Violence Against Women Act to opposing Gulf oil-spill money because it was laden with pork) don't seem to matter as much as adopting a center-right position on immigration reform.

In a statement, Rubio's office disagrees that there's been much blowback because "he was very well received at all the recent GOP dinners he spoke at back in the state, and we continue to get good feedback from our conservative grassroots. There's been a handful of anti-immigration protests, but as your paper has noted, they've been poorly attended.

"I have no objection to you saying that we're getting some backlash from anti-immigration forces, but I'd disagree with characterizing those groups as 'conservative,' since conservatives traditionally support legal immigration, and many of these groups (including the California group running the new ad) do not."
The House Republicans considering their own immigration bill-- one that is unlikely to be acceptable to the Senate, the President, immigrants or the general public beyond the KKK and Tea Party fringe groups-- are meeting with Rubio and two other Senate teabaggers, Mike Lee (a hard core racist) and Rand Paul (who hasn't taken a stand on immigration reform yet) on Wednesday. The House Republicans leading the circus are all anti-immigrant fanatics beloved of the Tea Party: Steve Scalise (R-LA), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Raul Labrador (R-ID).
Unlike the fights over gun control and the budget that have united the caucus in the 113th Congress, there is no conservative consensus on how to approach immigration reform. For months, many RSC members have refused to stake out a position, insisting that they would wait to see legislative text and hear arguments from all sides before making up their minds.

The three confirmed Senate attendees, all of whom rode tea-party support to 2010 victories, represent diverse viewpoints on the issue of immigration reform. Rubio, the most high-profile member of the Senate "Gang of Eight," has been attempting to assuage conservative fears about providing citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants without first installing border-security triggers. (Rubio has acknowledged the Senate bill must be improved to secure Republican support in the Senate, as well as in the House.) Paul is seen as a critical swing vote on the Gang of Eight bill, having spoken favorably about the idea of eventually legalizing those who are living in the U.S. illegally-- as long as they aren't given preferential status over those who have been waiting in line. Lee, who was once involved in the Gang of Eight talks, eventually defected and later voted against the group's proposal, citing his opposition to a pathway to citizenship and special treatment for agricultural workers.
Many pro-immigration activists have been wary of Rubio, who always seems to be trying to water the bill down, all along. Now he's running around attacking his own bill. He now claims it won't pass the House without changes-- and none of them good changes. Frank Sharry, head of the immigration advocacy group America's Voice, is concerned. "If he thinks now that he's the face of immigration reform, that he's going to drive this bill in a direction that makes it less palatable for the progressive coalition that created the political space for reform, it's going to be a huge problem."

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