Rubio Bails on Amnesty

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Forgive and Forget? Sen. Marco Rubio really does seem to have retreated on immigration amnesty. The key isn’t his support for the House’s “piecemeal” approach–after all, the pro-amnesty lobby now says the same thing,  hoping that the House’s various little bills will then lead to a negotiation with the Senate and a bigger mass-legalization bill. The key is Rubio’s admission that of the issues in the amnesty bill

“there are a handful that we have no consensus on in this country yet, and those issues may have to be delayed at some point until we can reach a consensus on how to approach them.”

The main issue on which “we have no consensus” isn’t whether employers should use the E-Verify system. It’s whether to legalize illegals–what “comprehensive” legislation is at bottom all about. Rubio sure appears to be saying the whole enterprise should be put off. (And his new line sounds like something that’s been carefully crafted–not a casual misstatement.)

Ann Coulter seems willing to forgive Rubio**–a sound tactical position, given that if you oppose amnesty you want to give its supporters an incentive to jump ship. For the record, I agree. But just between us, I don’t. I will never forgive Rubio.*** First, it’s pretty obvious he’s only abandoning amnesty because he has to face the voters. Like John McCain, who goes into comprehensivist remission every 6 years, he’ll be back pushing it as soon as the voting’s over. He was for protecting illegal immigrants before he was against it, let’s remember (that’s before he was for it again). With the immigration debate heading into a crucial month, even transparently insincere converts are welcome, of course. But don’t pretend the slate has been wiped clean.

Second, the level of slick mendacity Rubio achieved while attempting to sell the comprehensive bill he now disowns should rule him out of consideration for national office. He tries to con people, and he’s good at it. Just not good enough to fool the GOP primary electorate.


**–Update: Coulter does call for Rubio to be primaried here.

***–Maybe if he fired his pro-amnesty Svengali Cesar Conda …


Mickey Kaus