There is no doubt that Sen. Marco Rubio’s, R-Fla., decision to get into bed with Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on immigration has significantly hurt his chances of becoming the Republican presidential nominee. Not fatally hurt, but definitely hurt.
Rubio allies spin elaborate theories about how he might be threading the perfect political needle, getting credit for winning Senate passage without owning the responsibility for the complexities of implementation — and certain rage from some parts of the right — if it actually became law.
This is delusional. If Schumer-Rubio passes, Rubio will own every single tiny little amnesty implementation hiccup. E-verify fails? Blame Rubio. The wall hasn’t been started yet? Rubio’s fault. The amnesty itself is riven with obvious fraud. Rubio got rolled.
Another Rubio ally tells Politico, “If the bill fails, the only way Republicans could win the Hispanic vote in a national election would be with him on the ticket.”
This is much closer to the mark. Rubio’s best hope is that Schumer-Rubio dies a quick death in the House and is forgotten by Republican primary voters as quickly as possible. Rubio could then turn the tables on Democrats, blaming their insistence on creating entire new government agencies and slush funds for activist groups for getting in the way of immigration reform.
Rubio would also need to come up with his own signature immigration proposal. Something that abandons the legalization-now-for-enforcement-later foundation of the Schumer-Rubio bill.
But first, if he is to have any hope of winning the nomination in 2016, the existing Schumer-Rubio bill must die.