There actually is a smidgen of good news. He’s said repeatedly over the last few days that the House won’t take up the Gang of Eight bill, something we now kinda sorta know to be true. He’s not selling Rubio’s plan, he’ll be selling something that might demand real evidence of improved border security before proceeding to legalization. Although, if a bill like that was really in the offing, Boehner and Cantor wouldn’t need someone as influential as a former VP nominee to try to push it, right?

The bad news? He also thinks that “earned citizenship” is no way, no how, no chance equivalent to amnesty and offered to debate anyone who disagrees. A bunch of people, including Heritage, accepted the challenge. As far as I know, he hasn’t responded.

With Senate passage of a sweeping immigration bill imminent, Ryan has been meeting with House conservatives to persuade them that reform of the immigration system, including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, is an economic necessity and critical to fixing the nation’s fiscal problems.

Ryan, a potential 2016 presidential contender, sees himself as a “bridge builder” between immigration advocacy groups and reluctant Republicans, he said in an interview with Reuters…

“I would bet you a nickel that he has had more face time with each member than anyone else in the caucus,” said [Grover] Norquist, an influential conservative who also believes immigration reform is vital to the economy.

Republican strategist Whit Ayres calls Ryan “one of the most effective messengers the Republican party has in the House,” adding that “If Paul Ryan talks, the House Republicans will listen.”…

In the interview, he cited future budget deficits as a reason for urgency on immigration reform. With 10,000 baby boomers retiring from the workforce each day, “our economy is going to need more labor in the future,” he said.

Looking forward to hearing him explain what the solution to the entitlement crunch will be when illegals complete the citizenship process and begin retiring in 30 years. (I know, I know: “We’ll have meaningful reform by then!” Sure we will.) By the way, in keeping with the tradition of Republicans partnering with only the least trustworthy Democrats on immigration reform, Ryan’s chief ally on the other side of the aisle in the House is Luis Gutierrez, the same guy who once infamously said that his only — only — loyalty is to the immigrant community. There’s a bumper sticker for the House vote, if/when it happens.

Old theory: Democrats are doggedly pursuing immigration reform because they’re eager to add lots of Democratic-leaning voters to the rolls: New theory: Democrats are doggedly pursuing immigration reform because they realize that, for mysterious reasons, an awful lot of top GOP 2016 prospects are eager to dance on landmines before the primaries. How many budding young superstars’ careers is this process going to end up threatening? Last year we were staring at a field with six or seven viable young conservative champions. Increasingly it looks like we’ll be down to Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, and Ted Cruz if he gets in. And the more I read stuff like this, the more I think he just might.

Here’s Rubio’s speech on the Senate floor today about the backlash he’s getting from conservatives.

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