What is it with you Republicans? I was thinking the best analogy for Conn Carroll and other esteemed conservatives who’ve recently declared their abiding affection for Marco Rubio–despite disagreeing with him on immigration–is that they’re cheap dates. Sure, on the central legislative issue of Obama’s term Rubio betrayed his campaign promises and the beliefs of the Republican base. But, hey, he went on Rush! And he didn’t call his opponents racists!
Sure, he cheated on me with my arch rival and cleaned out my bank account, but he took me to dinner didn’t call me a ‘ho! I guess I’ll take him back.
As Allahpundit forcefully points out, Rubio’s whole mission for the Gang of 8 was to anaesthetize the Right with charm and concern. That wasn’t enough, so he also lied. He lied about the border security provisions in his bill, then declared he was going to fight to add the provisions he’d said were there all along, then when he lost those fights he supported the bill anyway. He delivered a final heartfelt plea for understanding–and lied there too (denying, for example that “a future Congress can just defund all the security measures,” which it can).**
If that’s the sort of abuse Carroll takes without losing his “love” for Rubio … well, he should be a guest on Dr. Phil.
What’s the positive side that compensates for all this? Wherein lies the greatness of Marco Rubio, the shining achievements that overshadow his colossal immigration misadventure? Is he going to bring world peace? Sure, he’s against Obamacare and overregulation and abortion and tax increases.*** So are a lot of Republicans, Republicans who haven’t shown a proclivity to go over to the other side when it counts. Has he ever run a state? Is he a brilliant thinker? Carroll, who’s punctured Rubio’s immigration misstatements as effectively as anyone, doesn’t
believe he ever intended to deceive. If anything, the legislation he was able to produce with Democrats probably fell short of what he originally thought it would look like.
So he was too dumb to know which way the legislation was going and what was in it? Let’s make him President.
Responding to Carroll on Twitter, I rashly wrote that Rubio was a “Florida pretty boy who doesn’t vet.” Then I realized that Bill Clinton had been an Arkansas pretty boy who didn’t vet. And that didn’t turn out badly (in my book). So what’s the difference between Clinton and Rubio? They’re both liars–good ones. I think it’s that Clinton’s lies tended to be mainly about his personal life. When it came to policy, he was relatively honest, at least compared with his predecessor and successor. He said he wanted to reform welfare, he said why he wanted to reform welfare, and damn if he didn’t reform welfare. Rubio is more in the Bush tradition–voters are too dumb to understand the real policy choices so you have to give them some phony red-meat reasoning. (Tell them, for example, that the 1991 Gulf War was about “jobs.”)
Having started a giant intraparty immigration fight, the Republican money men and well-fed consultants–the Roves and Barbours and Kochs– are now worried that their champion might get bruised. The New York Times sumarrizes
Their message: if we ever want to take back the White House, we have to stop devouring our own.
That echoes messages I’ve gotten throughout the immigration fight, saying ‘It’s OK to oppose amnesty, but there’s no need to destroy Marco Rubio.’
Hmm. Some look at Rubio as he is and say, “Why should this destroy him?” But others ask, ‘Why not’?
**–In the same speech Rubio said (at about the 8:16 mark) that the bill would “add 700 miles of fence.” It wouldn’t. It requires 700 miles total, but about 350 miles are already built. It would (in theory) add another 350.
***–Rubio’s currently making forceful conservative statements on all these topics–he has to, to make up for his immigration apostasy. Once the immigration fight is over, though, they can take their turns as compromisable-issue-of-the-hour.