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April 02, 2013 2:46 PM All About Marco

By Ed Kilgore

One of today’s more interesting items of Beltway gabbery comes from deep within the relentlessly beating heart of Tiger Beat on the Potomac (as Charles Pierce has unforgettably dubbed Politico). Yes, it’s an installment of Mike Allen and Jim VanderHei’s ultra-insidery column “Behind the Curtain,” and the subject du jour is Marco Rubio’s role in the development of immigration legislation.

The point of the column is very easy to divine:

Immigration reform is alive and kicking because Sen. Marco Rubio was there at conception. It will likely die if Rubio bolts in the end.
The possibility that Rubio could walk away, more than any other dynamic, is shaping the final details of new immigration laws, participants tell us.

The confusing thing is this: the “It’s all About Marco” story-line is one that is largely dictated by the Allen-VaneHei snail’s-eye POV, in which discrete decisions by Beltway Elites—preferably a single Great Man like the junior senator from Florida—determine absolutely everything. But in this particular case, that could be more-or-less true. Rubio stands astride the fault-line that separates non-anglo Swing Voters from the GOP’s nativist conservative base. It is presumed in Republican circles (though not with much evidence) that the dusky hordes of Latinos like Marco a great deal. And Marco’s elevation, perhaps to the White House, is a significant reason many “base” activists will grudgingly go along with an immigration bill.

According to Allen/VandeHei, Rubio’s doing a careful balancing act where he lends his Tea Party street cred to the congressional effort to hammer out an agreement on comprehensive immigration reform, but then periodically signals he’s unhappy with this or that feature of proposed legislation, which lets The Folks know he’s as skeptical about “amnesty” as they are, while reminding his Republican colleagues he’s holding the whip hand. Most importantly, he must keep everyone in doubt, and Allen/VandeHei are just the guys to promote that perception:

Three people who have discussed the matter with Rubio say the Florida senator is more willing than people think to pull the plug if it looks like conservative resistance is too strong. In particular, Rubio’s inner circle is concerned about the high-profile roles of Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both of whom are Republicans that many conservatives distrust.

McCain and Graham need to be reminded, you see, that it’s all about Marco.

The one original data point I noticed in this piece is as follows:

Rubio advisers studied conservative objections to past immigration packages and found that a frequent complaint was that the measures had been too rushed. So Rubio has very publicly insisted on multiple hearings, and a wide-open debate and amendment process in the Judiciary Committee and on the Senate floor. “In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret,” he said in Sunday’s statement. He wants buy-in from other Republican senators, and a big number on final passage, not a close vote.

I’ve never much bought the legitimacy of the “liberals cramming legislation through Congress without scrutiny” meme, since it was applied so often to Obamacare, which crept through to passage after the White House and Max Baucus spent months chasing Republicans around Washington begging for negotiations. But it’s something “the base” buys, and since slow movement on immigration maximizes the time Marco Rubio gets himself lionized at Politico, why hurry?

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • c u n d gulag on April 02, 2013 3:10 PM:

    Oooooh!

    It looks like Mike Alien-eyes and Dim Fanodahooey both have crushes on that hot new Latino boy in their 9th Grade Home-room!
    They both want a piece of that hot, hot Cubano man-boy action!

    They each dream of him finding them to be his one true love, getting married to them, and becoming the Cuban leader of the American band, and when he comes home after a hard day of Presidenting, yelling out in his best Ricky Ricardo voice, "Mikey, or Dimmy, I'm HOOOOOOOOOOOOME!"
    Or, maybe they dream of a three-way marriage with their oh-so-hot Hispanic man-crush.

    At least it took CNN over a decade to start to suck snake d*ck - Politico started out sucking Marianas Trench single-cell life forms d*ck right from the jump.

  • jjm on April 02, 2013 3:20 PM:

    Marco Rubio is a prima donna that the pols are encouraging, and coaching every step of the way to make him a 'star.' Yuck.

  • Josef K on April 02, 2013 3:22 PM:

    . It is presumed in Republican circles (though not with much evidence) that the dusky hordes of Latinos like Marco a great deal.

    Gotta love the delusions that pass for intelligent thought on the part of Republicans. And how about there being zero evidence that Latinos find Senator Rubio all that representative of them.

    Which will prevail, I wonder: the Establishment, or the Tea Party? Either result could only help the Democrats, I suppose (the Establishment winning means some measure of immigration reform has passed; the Tea Party winning means its gone down in flames and everyone sees the GOP's turned over to the nativists).

  • Snarki, child of Loki on April 02, 2013 4:27 PM:

    SOMEBODY, please stand up and ask Rubio:

    "How about we give ALL immigrants the same deal that the CUBANS get?"

    His head will get all 'splody-like.

  • c u n d gulag on April 02, 2013 4:48 PM:

    Snarki,
    And that's how little the Conservatives know - they think just because they have some Hispanics in the party leadership, that other Hispanics will reflexively vote for them.

    What they don't realize, since they're xenophobic simpletons, is that most of the other Americans of other Hispanic nationalities/heritages, are not very big fans of the Cubans.

  • Joe Friday on April 02, 2013 5:46 PM:

    TIGER BEAT: "Immigration reform is alive and kicking because Sen. Marco Rubio was there at conception. It will likely die if Rubio bolts in the end. The possibility that Rubio could walk away, more than any other dynamic, is shaping the final details of new immigration laws, participants tell us."

    What a stinking pile of crap.

    Rubio is simply trying to have both ways. If the legislation ends up getting enacted then he wants to claim he was a crucial lynchpin in it's crafting, if it blows up then he wants to claim it was because he walked away on principal.

    What a transparent jackass. The man couldn't lead in a two-car funeral.

  • Mimikatz on April 02, 2013 5:54 PM:

    That is hysterical. John "it's all about me" McCain meet Marco "no, now it's all about ME" Rubio. Bet Ted "no, MEEE!" Cruz will have something to say about that.

  • @TeaPartyCat on April 03, 2013 11:49 AM:

    YES! Let's not negotiate this in secret. Let's do it out in the open. We need town halls where the conservative base can speak up, just as they did against Obamacare. GREAT IDEA, RUBIO!