Rubio angling for 2016 with immigration bill

Rubio's calculated actions prove he is no conservative savior and has been co-opted by the political class. Photo: AP

HOUSTON, April 9, 2013 — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was swept into office in 2010 on the tea party wave that gave the Senate strong conservatives like Rand Paul and Mike Lee. Rubio, however, has not shown himself to be as conservative as they, and has moved in line with the GOP establishment since he arrived in Washington.

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There are two possible explanations: Either Rubio was never a conservative and was just being opportunistic in 2010; or Rubio was a true conservative, but now believes his route to the presidency will be easier if he joins the GOP establishment. Either way, he is not the principled conservative who can do the tough things that will be necessary to save this country in 2016.

His actions on immigration confirm this.

Rubio has been involved in drafting of the immigration bill with seven other senators, the so-called “gang of eight.” Just as Democrats handled drafting the healthcare bill and the banking reform bill, the work has all been done in secret and behind closed doors.

The four Democrats in the gang are now strongly suggesting that there will not be even one hearing on this bill that will have a massive impact on the culture, economy and future of America. According to the Daily Caller, Rubio has quietly objected and has requested more than one hearing. If he were serious about it, he would be screaming from the rooftops that the American people deserve a chance to have some input on immigration.

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The 92 other Senators deserve a chance to read the bill before they vote on it. Breitbart reports that there are now rumblings that the bill will be around 1,500 pages long and that the entire group of senators working on the bill, including Rubio, has decided that they will strongly oppose any amendments. 

A true conservative would never allow this shadowy process to create a bill that will so strongly affect all Americans. A conservative would be particularly vocal about voting without holding hearings on it and not allowing other senators to offer amendments, especially after the way Obamacare and Dodd-Frank were crammed down the public’s throat.

Immigration is just one area in which Rubio has not lived up to the conservative standard. That standard has become muddled by the GOP establishment, let alone a hostile press and the Democrats, so let’s make it clear:

A conservative fights for limited government and to return as much power to the states and the people as possible.

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A conservative fights to reduce spending and cut debt.

A conservative foreign policy is modeled on Reagan’s “Peace through Strength.”

A conservative is not an advocate for policing the world, nation building or getting involved in “humanitarian efforts” that do not involve threats to a direct American interest.

A conservative does not play identity politics.

A conservative advocates for a nation of laws, not of men.

A true conservative does not compromise the American people’s constitutionally guaranteed freedoms and liberties at any cost and does not sit quietly as these principles are being attacked.

During his time in the Senate, Sen. Rubio has sat silent as each of these principles has been attacked or ignored by the Obama Administration and establishment Republicans. With his work on the secret immigration bill, Rubio has engaged shamelessly in identity politics in a blatant effort to undermine the rule of law and to pander to Hispanic voters, and these actions reek of desperation.  

The 2016 candidate was paying close attention in 2012

Rubio has all but announced his intention to run for the White House in 2016. He paid close attention to the 2012 cycle, but his attention was focused on the mechanics of Party politics, not on message or principle.

In the race for the 2012 GOP nomination, the establishment was threatened by the grassroots, and so it decided to teach future candidates a lesson: The path to victory in the GOP primaries is to abandon principle, maintain fluid policy positions, and to kiss the ring of the party establishment bosses.

When the establishment choice for president in 2012, Mitt Romney (“the only one who can win”) was on the ropes after a surprising upset in South Carolina to Newt Gingrich, the Romney campaign, backed by the RNC, spent over $20 million on negative ads against Gingrich to ensure that Romney would win Florida. The Florida victory all but solidified the nomination for Romney. 

The message the GOP sent to future candidates was, play ball with us or get runover. Rubio was obviously listening. 

The conservative approach to immigration

If he were a principled conservative, how would Rubio approach immigration? His first priority would be to secure the border. After the border is secure is the time to discuss a bill dealing with “undocumented immigrants” ― people whose very first act in this country was to break federal law ― not before.

Under no circumstance should this all be done in one bill and at one time. The Democrats have proven in the past that they will not secure the border unless forced to do so, and are solely concerned about signing up tens of millions new Democratic voters. Securing the border must be the conservative’s first concern.

Rubio is not politically naive enough to alienate his entire conservative base, so he may not vote for the final bill. He may instead employ this experience as a talking point for 2016, using it to show how serious he is about immigration. Or he mahy think that 2016 is far enough away and the public has a short enough memory.

Rubio is adept at conveying conservative policies in his speeches, but as we have learned from President Obama, flowery speeches and rhetoric are often betrayed by policy. Constitutional conservatives had better take a very close look at the actions of politicians like Rubio, lest America be fooled by mere words again. 



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James Richard Edwards

James R. Edwards is a medical malpractice defense attorney in Houston, Tx. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree from LSU (Geaux Tigers!) in Psychology and subsequently went on to attend the University of Houston Law Center. James became interested in politics in law school because of the consistent and oppressive disgust and revulsion shown by the staff and Professors for the Constitution and for America in general. He is a tireless advocate for federalism and minimizing the impact the federal government has on all of our lives. 

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