One of the nuggets of insight revealed by WikiLeaks is that the Clintons were pinning their hopes on Donald Trump winning the Republican primary, and who they really were afraid of was Senator Marco Rubio. This is entirely for superficial reasons but in all honesty were the same reasons we Republicans saw Rubio as a rising star back when he ran for his Senate seat back in 2010–he’s young, he’s energetic, he’s handsome, he’s ethnic. For us conservatives Rubio did have a few other things in his favor, his strong ethics and apparently genuine conservative principles foremost among them.
Well, we all know Marco wishes he’d had that particular information about a year ago. But the problem is Marco Rubio should have known he was out of the game a long time before that. Before I launch into this I want to be clear that I like Marco Rubio, I think he will make a great president someday (if we can ever elect a Republican again, which means Trump wins this time out), and I think he learned a lot from the Gang of Eight. But that education came at a heavy price for us all.
For those who do not know, the Gang of Eight was the group of senators headed up by John McCain and Charles Schumer who tried to come up with a “comprehensive immigration reform” bill a few years back. This was in response to the increasingly imperial president Barry essentially declaring “I’m going to just claim that I have executive power to deal with undocumented immigration by granting amnesty to millions of them, and if Congress doesn’t like it, then they can pass a bill that I won’t sign unless it gives me what I want.” So Barry usurped a power he didn’t have and double dared Congress to call him on it, while making it perfectly clear that he wasn’t going to sign off on a bill if it didn’t give him the amnesty he was looking for.
Enter the Gang of Eight. Ostensibly their objective was to craft a “bipartisan” bill for comprehensive immigration reform, and Marco Rubio was brought aboard to put a Hispanic face on the bill as well as to give a token outreach to the insurgent Tea Party wing of the Republican party, to give the thing hope of getting through the House. However, it should be obvious from the beginning that there was no way a bill was going to make it out of this group, much less past the president, that was going to be palatable to most Republicans and Rubio’s Tea Party supporters in particular. Barry’s “pass a bill” ultimatum made that crystal clear. And as expected, the work that came out of the Gang of Eight amounted to amnesty with a different name, with pathetically weak enforcement mechanisms and no real committment to a secured southern border in exchange for basically everything the Democrats had wanted all along–either immediate amnesty or a short “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens who had broken immigration laws.
I maintain that the purpose of the Gang of Eight was never to solve the illegal alien problem. If the Democrats and John McCain managed to get Barry what he wanted all along with Congress’ blessing, so much the better, but the real aim of the Gang of Eight was to destroy Marco Rubio in the eyes of his most ardent supporters. And it worked. Rubio tried to defend the work of the Go8 on multiple occasions even though the bill they produced went against every principle he purported to have on illegal immigration, though to his credit he eventually withdrew his defenses and his support for the bill as it quietly died. The damage, however, was done. Rubio’s formerly eager supporters had been forced to defend him against claims that he was a Republican In Name Only (RINO for those who don’t speak the language) and a great many of his fans either gave up on him as an establishment patsy or turned on him outright.
Personally, I still believe that Marco Rubio is a good man and a true asset in our government. I am honestly far less concerned about the views he expressed when trying to defend the G08 bill (which I do not think he entirely agreed with) than I am with the fact that he thought he could work with the Democrats to begin with.
I am a longtime fan and supporter of Ted Cruz, and I can acknowledge that Marco has several advantages over Ted in an election that goes beyond Texas–Marco is better looking and has a more resonant voice, and has no lingering stupid questions about where he was born. Those kind of things matter in terms of electability. I still back Ted over Marco but I would have been happy to switch my support to Marco if Ted had dropped out of the primary early. But Marco had a lot to account for, and in reality, the conservative candidates running for the Republican nomination (meaning Cruz, Rubio, Walker, Fiorina, maybe Ben Carson) needed to act like grown-ups and realize they were splitting the conservative vote around the time that Scott Walker (who I am also a big fan of) threw in the towel and all but begged the rest of the field to do the same. And in fairness, after Ted Cruz won in Iowa, Rubio should have been the one to step aside. Yes, the WikiLeaks revelations show that Clinton thought of Cruz as “a clown” but they were still more afraid of him than they were The Don.
All that is said and done. We have two choices now. Let’s hope Marco Rubio’s costly lesson doesn’t cost us all the country.