Political Animal


May 01, 2013 11:20 AM Rubio Hiding His Gang Colors

By Ed Kilgore

It didn’t get much attention, but yesterday Sen. Marco Rubio started publicly edging away from the handiwork of the Senate Gang of Eight on immigration reform, per this report from Seung Min Kim at Politico:

Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledged Tuesday on a conservative radio talk show that the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill won’t likely pass the Republican-led House.
The comments from Rubio, perhaps the most influential congressional Republican on immigration, illustrate the challenges facing the prospects for reform after months of private negotiations by a bipartisan coalition of senators produced a wide-ranging, 844-page bill.
“The bill that’s in place right now probably can’t pass the House,” Rubio told Mike Gallagher, a nationally syndicated talk show host. “It will have to be adjusted, because people are very suspicious about the willingness of the government to enforce the laws now.”
He continued: “That is a very legitimate suspicion, it’s one that I share, and if there’s anything we can do to make [the bill] even tighter … that’s exactly what we should be working on.”
In a separate radio appearance Tuesday, Rubio elaborated on the challenges facing the legislation in the House, saying the enforcement mechanisms in the Senate legislation would need to be much stronger in order to pass the lower chamber.

This is an ancient stratagem for a pol who knows a bill he or she is supporting is unpopular with key constituencies: talk about opposition to it as though it’s some sort of external force of nature, and start caving to it preemptively. What you’d normally do is stand fast on the heavily negotiated Gang of Eight proposal, get it through the Senate with minimum changes, and only then start compromising. But Rubio is acutely aware that his Gang membership is a problem for him if he wants to be the Tea Party Candidate for president of the United States in 2016 (along with being the Great Latino Hope of the GOP), so he’s already hiding his Gang colors and talking about compromise.

Perhaps the Gang should call a midnight disciplinary meeting. Beyond that, it might be helpful at this point if a Democratic senator or two would call Rubio on his preemptive caving and suggest getting a bill through the Senate with united Democratic as well as maximum Republican support is Job One here. Let him pander to reform opponents later, or better yet, not at all.

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.


  • c u n d gulag on May 01, 2013 11:37 AM:

    You know, Marco, there were days not so long ago, that people actually welcomed some govenment action.
    Because it was GOOD government in action!

    But then, your Lord and Saviour - no, not THAT one, the other one - Ronald Reagan, told people that they should be suspicious of government, because, with a relatively stable economy, well, er... uhm...Freedom... Yeah, yeah! FREEDOM AND LIBERTY!!!
    (But beware of Negro's living in ghetto's, driving Caddies, eating T-bones, and sampling the finest hookers, blow, and Malt Liquor, which, if available at all, should only be available to white people).

    And then he, and his cabal of Conservative f*cktards, gave people ample reason to BE suspicious of government, because, all of a sudden, things went according to their plan, and things that used to go smoothly, and have fairly simple solutions, now looked like "Gordian Knot" puzzles, with the solution to every problem is to hack everything in sight, to lower taxes on the wealthiest.

    So, YOU'RE the reason people are suspicious of government, Marco.
    And people like you.

    Marco, oh how I wish the people in this country could finally figure out that the only way to 'take back our country,' is to not put f*cktard grifters for the wealthy like you in office.

  • boatboy_srq on May 01, 2013 11:50 AM:

    people are very suspicious about the willingness of the government to enforce the laws now

    That's very telling: the GOTea expects that Big Gubmint won't act on requirements passed by Congress.

    But it's not as if this were a new item: the prior [mal]administration was very good at not enforcing things like mine safety, OSHA and EPA requirements, and the like. The GOTea runs on the idea that since Big Gubmint is ineffective, then pursuing federal programs ineffectively is appropriate. The MMS "sleeping with the enemy" scandal of a few years ago is BAU for these volk: one look at how they're responding to Dodd-Frank and CFPB is proof that they're prepared to perpetuate this approach to oversight and enforcement. The rest, in this case, is pure projection: since GOTeahadists don't enforce laws and regulations they don't like, they expect Democrats to do the same with laws and regulations they don't like.

  • Andy Hall on May 01, 2013 12:14 PM:

    "But Rubio is acutely aware that his Gang membership is a problem for him if he wants to be the Tea Party Candidate for president of the United States in 2016."

    As far as the Tea Party goes, Ted "Carnival" Cruz is their hombre.

  • RaflW on May 01, 2013 12:22 PM:

    I'm loathe to link to Politico, but their story about the House (actually the GOP) "A House in chaos" is worth a read in relation to this immigration story. And in relation to the story of how the House wants to link a debt limit hostage deal with an unwritten tax bill.

    And just generally in relation to how the House is an utter mess, thus once again proving the truism that Republicans think government is incapable of functioning, and then get elected to prove it.

  • collin on May 01, 2013 12:40 PM:

    All I can say is, the master plan stop immigration reform is going better than expected.

  • Rick B on May 01, 2013 1:43 PM:

    Watching Marco and Cruz each operate in their efforts to position themselves for the 2016 Republican primary is fascinating. Everything each of them is doing is totally focused on Republican Primary voters. There is no effort at all to address the needs of non-Republican voters at all.

    Talk about living in and operating inside a bubble. That's what they are doing. "Bubble?" No, maybe it's more of a black hole.

  • SYSPROG on May 01, 2013 5:12 PM:

    This is SUCH BS. You would think 'the people' would get it. The GOP pretends to compromise in good faith, the media goes wild, time goes by, it's time to vote and POOF! 'Oh sorry, I can't VOTE for this'. The Dems put out the bill anyway and the GOP whines that they 'haven't had enough TIME to read it, offer amendments, etc. etc. They are lying snakes that don't deserve to be in Congress.

  • lahke on May 01, 2013 6:16 PM:

    Ah, Ed...speaking of "gang colors" about a Latino has got to be just as nasty as when all those right-wing guys start using coded language about welfare in relation to President Obama.

    Just saying.