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Blame Uncertainty, Not “Amnesty” for Rubio’s Fall

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Former Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio passes by reporter's after voting on Capitol Hill in Washington March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Conventional wisdom says Marco Rubio’s co-sponsorship of immigration reform in 2013 doomed his presidential candidacy, allowing opponents to smear him as advocating “amnesty.”

Actually, the reform bill never authorized amnesty but did provide a difficult path to legal status – a position that most Republicans, and even bigger majorities of the general public, fully support. 

Exit polls in Florida asked GOP voters how to deal with 11 million illegal immigrants: 55% said “give them a chance for legal status” while only 35% said, “deport them to their home countries.” So why didn’t Rubio win his home state? Because he never stood proudly on his own record, and seemed to duck the issue of immigration.

In Florida, even among the majority supporting the chance for legalization, Rubio only tied Trump – because these voters weren’t sure he still agreed with them. The problem for Marco Rubio, a wonderful public servant and gifted candidate, wasn’t so much “amnesty”; it was authenticity.

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  1. OhSoBored  •  Mar 18, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    How ridiculous, of course it cost him the election. Michael's head is in the sand. The illegal immigration is one of the primary issues that is driving people toward Trump. Now it is anecdotal, but every Republican I know stopped trusting Rubio after he reneged on his campaign promises and sided with the Group of Eight. It doesn't matter if the immigration reform advocated by the so called Gang of Eight specifically grants amnesty or not, we all know that is what will happen once the Democrats get their foot in the door. Does anyone, given their history, expect them to fulfill their end of the bargain? As soon as illegals are allowed to stay legally, Democrats, will reneged on the laws and measures they agreed to to get "immigration reform" passed and will push through a blanket amnesty so they can add 10 to 20 million new voters to their rolls. That would make voting Republican about as effective as voting Libertarian. The only influence we would then have in deciding who governs us is voting for the better of the two Democrat candidates. We are a nation of immigrants. There is a pathway to citizenship. Get in line like everyone else and legally come over.

    • John D. Fiat  •  Mar 21, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Yeah, Michael is a Neocon. (What else could we expect?) And notice how he sounds just like the Leftists on many issues, not just immigration. But he's particularly bad when it comes to illegal immigration. He even uses the Leftists talking points, and like them, actually avoids saying "illegal immigrant" at all costs.

  2. Jason  •  Mar 19, 2016 at 12:48 am

    A fair and clear-headed assessment of the situation though I suspect Rubio actually believed he was preventing a worse prospect of executive amnesty which has in fact come to pass despite the court intervention which couldn't stop the President from ordering the Border Patrol to essentially stand down. My brother in law is an agent and says they have been told point blank to ignore illegals unless there is compelling evidence they are smuggling drugs or engaged is some crime other than illegal entry. This policy will likely be codified in law once Hillary beats Bozo in the general. It sure would have been nice to give Ted Cruz a chance to fix it.

    • Rizzo  •  Mar 19, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      It can't be Ted Cruz, because The Establshment won't allow it.
      They encourage TOTALLY IRRELEVANT candidates to stay in the race, to force a contested convention and to handpick their guy. So much for democracy… So much for the will of the people, so much for the consent of the governed.

    • Nani  •  Mar 22, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      I'd love Cruz to finally put an end to the amnesty fallacy. In fact, the whole "real" conservative tale. It makes zero sense that in a country that ISN'T either hard right or hard left, that if you give them a more hard right candidate, they will choose that person. A Cruz is like a Sanders; both have their fanboys claiming that their guy is what America wants.

      As conservatives cannot imagine the nation welcoming a socialist like Sanders, liberals cannot fathom a hard right like Cruz. And the rest of America who is conservative on some issues and liberal on others won't go for either. The only way that Hillary gets the WH is for her to run against an unstable bully Trump. Too bad the Dems don't have their own Trump.

      • Rizzo  •  Mar 25, 2016 at 5:42 am

        It just absolutely blows me away, that people like you exist.
        You keep spewing meaningless labels like "Hard Right".
        In your mind, if you believe in The Constitution, and the rule of law, if you standup for values consistent with the founding of America…. Then you are "Hard Right" and therefore unelectable.
        We need a leader that will begin to bend the curve back to the Right, not pander to the likes of you and allow the steady and constant flow to the left.
        If our candidate loses, it won't be because of Democrats, it will be because of RINOS like you. Because of losers who won't support our candidate.
        Whoever our candidate is, he will be flawed for sure…. but, it is indisputable, he will be 100% preferable to any Democrat.
        Whoever wins, one thing is for sure…. It better be what America NEEDS, NOT what AMERICA WANTS. Too many Americans WANT that which is UNAMERICAN…. Freebies, open-borders, amnesty, absolute LAWLESSNESS.

      • john Kelso  •  Mar 30, 2016 at 11:44 pm

        America is tired of establishment characters who sell out and surrender and only cater to the bankers. Cruz and Hillary have taken money from these bankers. they owe them "NAFTA" style favors. that is why our factories are gone and now all our major retailers are closing hundreds of stores. The establishment bullies everyone else we need someone to bully them for a change Trump is the only one with the testosterone to fight them. if fighting to bring Americas economy back is bullying then I stand with the bully! I like having a job.

  3. Steven Carleton  •  Mar 19, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Rubio stumbled after that bad debate and the mistake of making those silly attacks on Trump. Attacks in the FL media funded by Bush hurt him too. Immigration just isn't a top three issue right now with the general public. As conservatives, we make a mistake in over-emphasizing it during the election although reform will be needed from the next administration. Rubio will have other opportunities to run although its not clear what his vantage will be since he has stated this senate term will be his last. Perhaps next time he will have a better organization and deeper pockets…

  4. John D. Fiat  •  Mar 21, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Here is my answer to Michael! It is an (excellent) excerpt from "Marco Rubio: The Neocons Last Stand" by the Cato Institute

    Rubio’s struggles reveal the limits of the neocon’s political acumen. Meanwhile, their willingness to attack the GOP front-runner—and to switch party loyalties entirely if they don’t get their way—reveals the limits of their never-strong commitment to the GOP.

    • Jason  •  Mar 24, 2016 at 11:28 am

      Neocons? Really? What on earth does that make Trump? A Nevercon? The destruction of the GOP is at hand and with it the best chance to salvage our republic. Enjoy the spectacle as this is clearly what you've been hoping for. After the show our children will pay for this foolishness.

  5. Rick  •  Mar 21, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    It wasn't amnesty that did in Marco. And, it isn't immigration fueling Trump's run. Michael has a lot of it right. Marco looked weak on his commitment to anything. We watched as Romney went from clear winner in debate 1 to weak and unmoored afterwards. Yes Crowley hurt the presentation of the truth, but I think headlines like "Romney Lashes Obama" took Romney out. He would rather lose than be called a racist by a left-slanted media. We have seen the media completely dismantle the credibility of conservatives and conservatism over and over. Marco looked too weak to hold his positions under pressure. Just like Jeb. Trump looks like he just doesn't care, like he can't be bullied. On the other hand, he looks like he may not care what Republicans or conservatives say, either.

    • Nani  •  Mar 22, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      Rick, it wasn't "weakness"; it was civility. Most of us, and especially Rubio weren't born rich and grew up believing that the world is there for our gratification. Most of us grow up understanding why good manners are important. And if we have some spiritual background, we learn that being "nice" and "polite" can sometimes be hard as all get out, but is the fire that molds our souls.

      I'm not sure why a certain segment of our country no longer desires to attain some measure of peace and unity. Perhaps its the "fairness" factor that gets upset with an affirmative action that gives one race priority in order to create EQUALITY. Or the ignoring of our needs that 8 years of King Obama has subject us to. In an effort to "balance the scales", people now want their own bully, to produce a conservative disunity, so they back Trump.

      Maybe, once again, I am trying to make up excuses for people whose character is so corrupt that they would not just stand by and allow a bully to continue his ugliness, but openly and proudly support him.

      I don't know. I was disappointed and disillusioned years ago when people like Laura Ingraham talked about the unfairness of having to pay a fine when she broke our traffic laws but felt that illegals would have amnesty if they were given fines. And how awful it was for the MSM to attack a war time president, only to do the SAME when Bush could no longer run and he didn't pick HER choice for the SCOTUS. Or when Hugh Hewitt warned his listeners about the anti-illegal rhetoric that had gotten conservatives unelectable for years in California. Only to jump on the same wagon after Bush won his second term. On and on it went, the hypocrisy and the desire to influence politics.

      Yet, I knew even then that if there was no viable party to challenge the Democrats, the power to shape and protect this nation would be given to ONE PARTY, one that I disagreed with on so many issues. So I waited and as the tea party came and went, I had hoped. I had not seen, although I should have, the destruction of the GOP.

      It is just as well. There is a time in all things where you have to decide if something is worth saving or to just get another one. The poison infected by these talk show hosts and conservative pundits and their minions have reached the very foundation. They are intent on burning the whole thing down. We need to let them and move on.

    • Jason  •  Mar 24, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      It's becoming increasingly clear that there is a subgroup within our party that is not truly interested in conservatism or the constitution. They are just angry (about a myriad of different things). They feel they have not been a favored group (especially under dictator Obama) and now want a dictator of their own (Bozo) to do their bidding (they think). I'm not sure they even care about winning as much as they care about having their moment. They were never really conservatives at all. Most likely they supported liberals until they realized they were being left out because they weren't victim enough. They turned to republicans because they had no where else to go. Now they are trying to turn it into their personal version of the Democratic Party. If they can't do that, they'd just as soon destroy it.

      • Nani  •  Mar 25, 2016 at 4:32 am

        Interesting take Jason.

        I have a colleague that says when opposites of an extreme move to the right and the other side move to the left, they eventually meet. They could very well have been Liberals who got angry because they weren't given enough status for their victim hood. They certainly act like the Liberals of the 60s who labeled everyone that didn't measure up to their "enlightment", who blamed the "establishment" and threw tantrums via protests; who didn't really care if they burned the whole house down as long as they had their moment.

        Thanks for taking the time to share. It was food for thought.

      • Rizzo  •  Mar 25, 2016 at 12:08 pm

        You are probably correct. Trump is not a conservative. And yes, Trump has massive cross-over appeal…. I thought that's what you MedVed, DeadHeads wanted, BIG TENT.
        His apparent disregard for The Constitution should be of little concern to the likes of Nani, she supports lawlessness. I guess Trump just isn't her brand of lawlessness.

      • Jason  •  Mar 26, 2016 at 10:12 pm

        We do need to be a big tent, but we need to expand the party by uniting people around basic principles not abandoning them. That means we should stop acting as if Republicans who are generally conservative but more moderate than we would like are the enemy. For example, we need to stop demagoguing conservatives who would compromise to allow a protracted path to legal status only after the border has been secured and e-verify mandated as if they are the same as open borders Democrats. They are not. I am personally leary of such a compromise because democrats do not honor agreements or respect the law. As another poster recently pointed out, they would begin undermining such a compromise and agitating for citizenship before the ink was dry on the bill and redefining what a secure border is. However that does not mean people who genuinely believe compromise is the solution are the same as the democrats. They are not. I like and support Ted Cruz but I cringed whenever he repeated the line about Rubio standing with Schumer while he stood with Jeff Sessions (who was so grateful he endorsed Trump). Rubio is not Schumer Paul Ryan

      • Jason  •  Mar 26, 2016 at 10:19 pm

        Oops. Errant submission. Paul Ryan is not Nancy Pelosi (and neither was Boenner). McConnell (for all his many faults) is not Harry Reid. Before we can hope to win the ideological battle for this country, we must win it within our own party. We won't do that by treating each other as though we are no different or even worse than the democrats. It isn't true. And we must hold onto principle. If we have to lose our principles to win an election, what's the point?

  6. John Werliclh  •  Mar 25, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    My candidate has been Rubio from the beginning; I even donated a few hundred dollars. Your comments re Amnesty v. Authenticity have merit. I thought overall Rubio explained his position fairly clearly. On the other hand, any clarity he tried to set forth was dirtied up by The Bully and, in part, by Cruise. Somehow, the listeners could not understand the difference between a path to legal status and a path to citizenship. As often as Rubio made the point, The Bully and Cruise confounded it. The two did not want clarity, they wanted mudded waters and they succeeded, partly because the Press allowed them to do so. I would love Rubio to get the nomination, but realize that it is a pipe dream. In the last analysis though, if Trump is the nominee I will vote for him rather than a democrat, particularly Hillary.

    • Nani  •  Mar 26, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Actually, it was the talk show hosts that started the whole thing. I remember years ago, Laura Ingraham telling her listeners the first hour of her show how she had a heavy foot and broke tons of speeding laws so each ticket was horrendous. They laughed about it. The next hour, they talked about fining Illegals and Laura called it "amnesty". I bet she never considered her speeding tickets "amnesty" and she ALSO broke our laws! The fact is, and if they were honest, they'd tell you, anything short of rounding up Mexicans and sending them across the border with a Berlin type patrolled wall will do. They do not care how big this government has to grow or how much more it has to spend. They don't care if this is job protectionism, something they scream to high heaven when the unions do it. They don't even care if tons of illegals are arriving by plane or boat and over staying their visas. They don't care if the border with the country that will furnish illegals with lawyers instead of throwing them into some third world jail is open.

      They just want the friends and families of the largest minority voters to be shipped out.

      Because it's not about winning elections, keeping Congress, making sure that the SCOTUS doesn't undermine our rights. It's about Mexicans. Period.

      • john Kelso  •  Mar 30, 2016 at 11:37 pm

        Why should any group have a large voter block by illegal means. No one is running to Mexico to change their culture through elections, so why should they be allowed to overrun the US and force their culture, even though it is a very strong family based culture, on The United States? Would this be acceptable to amnesty proponents if 35 million Russians and Serbians and Germans suddenly entered the country illegally. If they then overshadowed the minority vote would someone currently supporting amnesty then be screaming for deportation?

      • john Kelso  •  Mar 30, 2016 at 11:45 pm

        America is tired of establishment characters who sell out and surrender and only cater to the bankers. Cruz and Hillary have taken money from these bankers. they owe them "NAFTA" style favors. that is why our factories are gone and now all our major retailers are closing hundreds of stores. The establishment bullies everyone else we need someone to bully them for a change Trump is the only one with the testosterone to fight them. if fighting to bring Americas economy back is bullying then I stand with the bully! I like having a job.

  7. john Kelso  •  Mar 30, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    this is completely false. Only people who come here after passing through a tough citizenship program should be allowed to enter and stay. Not people who came on student visas or entered illegally. these people should be deported. And allowed back in after waiting in line and completing the program correctly. besides the questions asked on the RNC survey at their website frames the question deceptively stating when it asks something like what are the top priorities for america: Immigration where strict policies should be put in place with a path to citizenship. the survey does not allow for a deportation answer. This is a skewed and deceptive survey that my research methods professor would have failed me for as a setup.

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