Should we still love Marco Rubio?

posted at 4:01 pm on June 28, 2013 by Allahpundit

I knew that the “let’s let bygones be bygones with Marco” movement would start eventually. He’s too appealing a retail politician and has too much potential to make some (modest) inroads with Latino voters not to get a serious look from victory-starved righties in 2016, amnesty or no. No matter how terrible a candidate’s signature legislation — *cough*RomneyCare*cough* — if conservatives think he’s their most “electable” option, he’s got a shot at winning.

So yeah, as I’ve been telling you for weeks, I expect that movement. But I didn’t expect it to start 16 hours after the big Senate sellout. And I sure didn’t expect it to come from a border hawk as smart and righteous as Conn Carroll.

It was obvious from the beginning that supporting an immigration bill with a path to citizenship was going to be a tough and risky sell to the conservative base of the Republican Party, but Rubio took that risk.

Instead of ignoring or belittling the conservative media, Rubio enthusiastically engaged them with respect and candor. Ultimately, I think he made some promises during these interviews that may hurt his credibility down the road, but I do not believe he ever intended to deceive. If anything, the legislation he was able to produce with Democrats probably fell short of what he originally thought it would look like.

Throughout the debate, Rubio never impugned the motivations or character of his opponents. Instead, he often praised them for trying to make the bill better. This stands in stark contrast to Republican leaders of past immigration reform efforts. And when wayward staff, or other supposedly conservative allies, did disparage amnesty opponents, Rubio either admonished them or distanced himself from the attacks.

But … making nice with conservatives was the entire reason Rubio was coveted as a member of the Gang of Eight. It was his job. Celebrating him for playing his role is like celebrating Chuck Schumer for saying nice things publicly about Republicans on the Gang who helped him push this travesty. It’s not because he’s a “statesman,” it’s because it’s entirely in his political interest to do so. Rubio’s job was to soothe the savage grassroots conservative beast, at least long enough to get the Gang’s bill through Congress. He was going to carry their water to the enemy by being Mr. Charm, and that’s what he did. And of course, it was in his own personal interest to do so. If he had antagonized the right, resorting to McCain/Graham-style sneers, he really might be done for 2016. But by being cordial and respectful and making himself available to conservative media throughout, he’s drained lots of venom from the attacks that might otherwise have been made on him by talk radio and conservative publications. He’s been wounded by this, but wounds heal. His goal was simply to keep the wound from being mortal, and the key to that was to keep the charm coming even under fire. Look no further than the fact that Carroll, one of the most incisive and relentless critics of the GOP’s big amnesty sellout, couldn’t wait even 24 hours after the vote to absolve Rubio from charges of deceit. This is the silver lining for Republican border hawks in all this: If Rubio is so superb a retail politician that even one of the bill’s fiercest critics is writing posts like “Why I still love Marco Rubio” before the Senate vote has left the front page, then the guy really does deserve a look on electability grounds in 2016. He might not be able to sell ice to Eskimos, but if he’s got Eskimos writing tributes to him for his amazing salesmanship, then he’s got something.

But here’s the thing: He was deceitful. Not to beat a long-dead horse, but this guy — and Ayotte, and Dean Heller, and even McCain — all lied to greater or lesser degrees about this subject to get elected by posing as stalwart border hawks. (Mickey Kaus flagged this piece from 2009 as especially fun. Sample quote: “If you grant amnesty, the message that you’re sending is that if you come in this country and stay here long enough, we will let you stay. And no one will ever come through the legal process if you do that.”) One of the most dispiriting moments I’ve had in this process came this morning on Twitter when some righties argued to me that I’m overreacting to Rubio’s lies because all politicians lie. It’s part of their job description. If that’s the new standard — lie your ass off to get elected because we expect you to — then there’s no reason to prefer any one Republican candidate to another on actual policy grounds. They’re all liars, so let’s just elect the guy with the best retail skills and hope he doesn’t screw us too much once in office. (That’s basically Rubio’s 2016 campaign slogan.) Two problems with that logic, though. One: Immigration isn’t just any issue. Rubio didn’t lie about whether he’d support a farm bill or a tweak to student-loan interest rates, only to renege. Immigration was a core part of his appeal to conservatives. He ran as an eloquent spokesman for border security despite left/media identity-politics expectations that any Latino politician must ultimately support comprehensive immigration reform. And now he supports comprehensive immigration reform. It’d be like someone running as a staunch hawk and then, once in office, deciding that Ron Paul had some really good ideas about foreign policy. Should hawks let that guy slide because “all politicians lie”?

Two: Rubio wasn’t elected as just any Republican pol. He was a self-described “movement conservative” who caught the tea-party wave against the Republican establishment and surfed it all the way to the Senate. Three years later, despite lots of red-meat conservative rhetoric over that time, the two policy pushes with which he’s most identified, I think, are this sham immigration reform bill and international interventionism in various forms, including in Syria. He has, in other words, become a sort of successor to McCain in the Senate. Has anyone who ran on an anti-establishment tide ever embraced the establishment as quickly as that? Even now, even after everything, I strongly prefer his flip-flopping to the grotesque omnibus opportunism of Charlie Crist. But it’s worth asking: How different would the Senate have looked since 2010 with Crist in there instead of Rubio? What would have changed in terms of actual policy? If anything, without Rubio to woo conservatives, the Senate immigration effort would have been in deeper trouble than it is now. The fact that we have to pause and even consider this sort of “what if Crist won?” hypothetical makes me think maybe we should hold off on the Rubio tributes. For now.

Haunting exit quotation from Reince Priebus: “We wouldn’t have been in this place without Republicans being at the table pushing for immigration reform. And I think this conservation would never be happening without Marco Rubio.”

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As I just posted above, he’s young we’ll spoken handsome likable and Hispanic and of Cuban heritage from a very purple state. To think his brand is damaged is laughable. Plenty here will be dead before him.

Marcus on June 28, 2013 at 4:07 PM

It is because people like Marcus that America is dying.

Like I said…

The GOP will betray you

True_King on June 29, 2013 at 12:15 AM


True_King on June 29, 2013 at 12:16 AM

Should we still love Marco Rubio?

NO! A thousand times NO!

And that goes double for any Congressperson who supports any version of this Amnesty-travesty in the House!

wren on June 29, 2013 at 12:36 AM


claudius on June 29, 2013 at 12:39 AM

Which Rubio?

The border hawk or the pandering squish?

profitsbeard on June 29, 2013 at 2:47 AM

As I just posted above, he’s young we’ll spoken handsome likable and Hispanic and of Cuban heritage from a very purple state. To think his brand is damaged is laughable. Plenty here will be dead before him.

Marcus on June 28, 2013 at 4:07 PM

We Floridians hate his 30 pieces of Bush mafia silver guts. Nothing could motivate us more.

Don’t worry about him. Bab’s rolodex has him covered. He was up to his azz in debt but now he’s set for life.

Jayrae on June 29, 2013 at 6:28 AM

The disgust that conservatives feel for Rubio right now is as much about many of us feeling conned as it is Rubio selling us out. Rubio destroyed Charlie Crist because Crist was a weasel of the highest order…a two-faced scum bag of a politician. That is what Rubio has become. It is bad enough that he voted for amnesty (which he swore that he would never do to get elected), but he also voted for pork and to shut down debate. Those are the methods of the Democrat weasels.

Maybe the RINO weasels are thinking that we’ll get amnesia in 2014 and that Hispanics will re-elect them. I don’t anyone who voted for Rubio who will vote for him again. If for no other reason, he’s too stupid to deserve re-election.

cajunpatriot on June 29, 2013 at 6:57 AM

To think his brand is damaged is laughable. Plenty here will be dead before him.

Marcus on June 28, 2013 at 4:07 PM

I’m not sure what you mean by the dead reference…very odd. But as to “his brand” it hangs in the balance. If amnesty moves forward…his brand is dead. Republicans will never win general elections without the half of Republicans who call themselves conservatives. It’s not possible.

And most of us will not vote for anyone who made this cynical blunder. If my choice is a Democrat or Rubio, and I live in an amnesty world…I won’t vote. Good luck with that.

Jaibones on June 29, 2013 at 7:16 AM

I suspect one of the reasons Mitch McConnell reportedly pushed so hard to get Rubio roped into the Gang of Apes was to diminish his growing political influence…and it certainly worked. I doubt he’ll be a serious contender in 2016, now.

I’m not saying this to absolve Rubio of responsibility for his own role in this mess, I’m saying I think the whole damn thing has been a lot dirtier and more underhanded than anyone even realizes yet.

Cylor on June 29, 2013 at 7:29 AM

The “let bygones be bygones” movement is exactly the problem with the GOP.Conservatives have become RINO enablers.Instead of holding these people’s feet to the fire and demanding they vote the way they speak,conservatives have bought into the notion that we can’t win so lets give up,and support the lesser of two evils.We have tried this unsuccessfully for years-witness McCain in ’08 and Romney in ’12,and the election/re-election of the likes of Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss among many others.If there are never any red lines that must never be crossed, then the message we send is betray us whenever you like because in the end you are a little better than the progressive socialists so you can have my vote.The result-the RINOs laugh their liberal butt off and do what they want with impunity.Conservatives are committing suicide and helping to destroy America.

redware on June 29, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Love Rubio? No, but he is a likable RINO if such a thing is possible for anyone but Democrats and media elites. Rubio may be a small “c” conservative but I think the presidential talk was premature and caused him to “choke”. There will be others that will be culled out before this thing is over.

SpiderMike on June 29, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Hey, this type of political posturing and lying has worked for McLame a long time. MR must see this as a path to longevity in govt and a path to the presidency.

Kissmygrits on June 29, 2013 at 9:35 AM

I am done with him. Letting bygones be bygones sounds a lot like the cycle of violence in domestic cases. Honeymoon, growing tension, the battering and betrayal, then the period of letting bygones be bygones in the foolish belief that he had a really good reason for the betrayal, that we’re making it a bigger deal than it is and that he won’t do it again, promise. So, conservatives, are you down with that playing out of events? Or are you done with them all? Time to gather up our self-respect and God-given instinct for our own survival, file for divorce and follow through this time.

blackgriffin on June 29, 2013 at 9:43 AM

No! Marco go camp out with McCain and dissapear please.

Art on June 29, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Rubio has lost all credibility; he could have been a rising star, but instead he joined the path of the traitors and biggest liars in the Senate! I guarantee you he has no idea what that bill encompasses! It is an insult to all Americans, and once again,a pork-filled piece of garbage.

Rubio made a choice….he chose ILLEGAL ALIENS over Americans. Period.

phoebe1 on June 29, 2013 at 10:03 AM

McCain and the “gam of twelve” gave us The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 and we still nominated McCain. Granted, the bill failed its last vote for cloture, but McCain didn’t pay the price politically for being the bill’s largest cheerleader.

McCain leads the charge on a failed immigration bill and gets the GOP nomination.
I don’t see what has changed that would make it impossible for Rubio to do so since the bill he supported successfully passed the Senate.

Republicans are dumb and let the media pick their nominee. Rubio has just as a good of a shot at the nomination after this fiasco if history is any indicator. Sad but true. It is also true that he won’t win the Presidency without conservatives voting for him, which they won’t now.

I predict another squish nominee from the GOP and another Dem President unless conservatives actually start holding the GOP responsible. Recent history is an indicator that this is unlikely.

weaselyone on June 29, 2013 at 10:09 AM

He’s been taken over by the pod people.

IdrilofGondolin on June 29, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Should we still love Marco Rubio?


And if he inexplicably becomes the GOPe nominee, there will be eight years of President Shrillary. Bank on it.

Myron Falwell on June 29, 2013 at 10:14 AM

“Should we still love Marco Rubio?”

NO no no no and, just in case you don’t understand, NO.

Rubio received adulation for his speech at the Republican National Convention and it went to his head. His actions say he thinks he is a cross between Barack Obama and John McCain.

I don’t want either one of those, or their misguided progeny, anywhere near the White House.

Mdirmeie on June 29, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Not any more…..rino

crosshugger on June 29, 2013 at 10:29 AM

No. He’s just another self-serving liar.

RebeccaH on June 29, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Maybe some polls will confirm this, but it would be worth a survey of likely republican voters who have left, or plan to leave the party over this bill. We may find it is higher than the new GOP amigos won over by Rubio’s repudiation of America.

virgo on June 29, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Marco thinks taking a ‘moderate’ stance on immigration reform will buy him just enough Latino votes to carry his home state and a couple more in 2016. I think he underestimates the extent to which he’s alienated his base by this unprincipled wavering (not to mention the fact that Latinos will vote Democrat regardless). Do we really want to see even more conservatives stay home on Election Day than last November? I’m quietly hoping Republicans have learned from ’08 and ’12 that nominating the center-right guy may not be the way to go…

Alexis on June 29, 2013 at 11:29 AM

For a while, there, I thought Rubio was the exception. Now, I know there is no such thing. How I long for a beneficent dictatorship now that self-governance has proven to be a failure.

HiJack on June 29, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Should we still love Marco Rubio?


Let me give you a clue…

Your Enemy can Never Betray you!

jaydee_007 on June 29, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Marco is getting plenty of love from the president and Schumer. Liars unite!

mobydutch on June 29, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Yes. Don’t care what you guys think. I think he’s conservative.

terryannonline on June 28, 2013 at 11:12 PM

lol based upon what? In what sense is strongly advocating one position while a candidate, then doing a complete 180 while legislating, “conservative”?

How are you any different from 0dumba supporters who say that he is a trustworthy and honorable person?

Face it, you are a hack with little to no standards…hmmm, I guess it’s no wonder then how you still support Dorco so!

Anti-Control on June 29, 2013 at 2:21 PM

he lied

mmcnamer1 on June 29, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Should we still love Marco Rubio?


some betrayals are beyond forgiving. He sold himself out to the establishment for pork, and a few kind Obama words. To me, it’s like being praised by Fidel Castro.

and really?

Yes. Don’t care what you guys think. I think he’s conservative.

terryannonline on June 28, 2013 at 11:12 PM

I often agree with you, and will not attack you for thinking this, but I cannot for the life of me understand why you’d think so. Maybe women are quicker to forgive, but in my way of thinking, there is personal Honor. You either have it, or you don’t. He’s lied to us, I heard him on Levin, on a couple of other shows, and he simply cannot justify his new found love of amnesty..

His supposed “security” is another vague “promise” by the lying democrats that this time, cross their hearts, they’ll actually keep a promise to the GOP.

30 plus years of watching, and from Tip (the crook) O’Neil.. to Jim Wright.. to Harry (I’m an @ss) Reid.. they have always always always reneged on every promise they have made..

and like Charlie Brown, the establishment GOP keeps believing the Lucy democrats as they again, yank the football away and smirk.

Maybe you can defend that, I can’t.

So far, only Ted Cruz has any credibility.

mark81150 on June 29, 2013 at 3:02 PM

I’m done with the Republican Party. There is just the Far left Dems, and the Center left Republicans. I’m neither, there is no Conservative party.

Kjeil on June 29, 2013 at 3:57 PM

mark81150 on June 29, 2013 at 3:02 PM


jaydee_007 on June 29, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Never loved him anyway. Never been fooled.

A wolf in sheep’s clothings, that’s how I’ve seen him from the get-go.

I hate cute people who can give a speech: they remind me of Obama.

In this case, rightfully so.

BabyGrace on June 29, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Primary him.

Shaughnessy on June 29, 2013 at 4:08 PM

This sell out by republicans who told us they were against amnesty yet voted for this amnesty bill, will destroy the republican party, bring about a one party rule by democrats and the destruction of the republic.

And then Pater obama’s goal of fundamentally changing the country will be complete.

dusaa-1975 on June 29, 2013 at 4:24 PM

If we’d had sensible LEGAL VISA opportunities for Mexicans over the past 40 years, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

AYNBLAND on June 29, 2013 at 4:47 PM

Who were those smart X republicans who refused to vote in the last election? I never understood why anyone would refuse to vote, but it just takes me longer to catch on. The leaders in the Republican Party have now shown me that they have no use for lowlife conservatives; so, guess what, I have no use for the rinos, the elites, and the wantabe democrats.

mobydutch on June 29, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Now that Republicans are officially a branch of the Democrat party, it truly is third party time.

obladioblada on June 29, 2013 at 6:23 PM

I keep reading how everyone thinks the newly minted voter will become democrats, here’s a news flash, they won’t, they won’t vote republican either. if the amnesty bill passes, the number of new voters will the high side of 30 million, most of them don’t have the allegiance to the US, look at the number of Mexican flags flown at the rallies, until they realized it was pr disaster. within a year after the bill is law look for Mexican parties to show up in elections near the border.

RonK on June 29, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Not only no, but HELL No to Rubio! Just another McCain or Graham.

lhuffman34 on June 29, 2013 at 8:39 PM

Recall this piece of SH*T! ASAFP!! He’s a typical. lying, dirty bag SOB who needs to be put on a boat back to Cuba! SCUM F’N BAG! Send to Mexico and make he come across the border with the rest of the illegals! Send a Message and Send Rubio and his washed ashore family back to Fidel, he’ll take proper care of them I’m sure…

Tbone McGraw on June 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Marco who?

grapeknutz on June 29, 2013 at 9:17 PM

Given the stranglehold the GOPe has on the party, he may win the nomination. But he’ll never be elected president. Ever.

ddrintn on June 29, 2013 at 9:22 PM

I’m quietly hoping Republicans have learned from ’08 and ’12 that nominating the center-right guy may not be the way to go…

Alexis on June 29, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Not to be a downer, but I think I’d rather bank on something that could actually conceivably happen, in real life, between now and 2016.

Like the Rapture.

Cylor on June 30, 2013 at 3:29 AM


He’s either naive or complicit.

Either way, he’s done. Buh bye.

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on June 30, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Yes. Don’t care what you guys think. I think he’s conservative.

terryannonline on June 28, 2013 at 11:12 PM

Just that? Not extremely conservative?

Dunedainn on June 30, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Who were those smart X republicans who refused to vote in the last election? I never understood why anyone would refuse to vote, but it just takes me longer to catch on. The leaders in the Republican Party have now shown me that they have no use for lowlife conservatives; so, guess what, I have no use for the rinos, the elites, and the wantabe democrats.

mobydutch on June 29, 2013 at 5:26 PM

The scales have been lifted from your eyes.

Dunedainn on June 30, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Sorry, can’t believe anything Rubio says anymore. Can’t win trust by talking out of both sides of your mouth. You either stand for something or you don’t. I’m as equally disappointed in Paul Ryan on this issue as well.

stukinIL4now on June 30, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Kjeil on June 29, 2013 at 3:57 PM

The New York Conservative party, founded by Jim Buckley (WFB’s brother) is alive and well in NYS.

Wonder what it would take to expand it nationally.

Mr. Grump on June 30, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Hop on Christie’s lap, if you can find it, Marco and enjoy your life as a Democrat or in the private sector. The amount of political capital you spent on a losing proposition just shows us how truly young and inexperienced you are. Your nationally covered exercise of contortions performed on behalf of the Democrats is going to take over half your career to overcome so welcome to the private sector Rubio. As opposed to having a shooting star career as a conservative you’ve become the laughing stock bicycle rack for the Senate Democrats. Nicely done youngster now beat it kid, you’re embarrassing us.

Tangerinesong on June 30, 2013 at 1:36 PM

I don’t really trust him any more. He is either incredibly gullible and naïve or else dishonest–or maybe both. I am very disappointed. The R’s just seems to be fools for the D’s any more.

californiacitizen on June 30, 2013 at 4:28 PM

as someone who donated to rubio and spoke highly him as the next and first hispanic president, i was premature…did reagan backpedal? sure did reagan backpedal on big issues? i doubt it. is this the way to gain the hispanic votes — it won’t work. accolades from chuckie schumer wont wash away the sins of rubio. rubio needs to make up some ground — he was for immigration reform before he became against it.

maybe marco should go and preach en español to american latinos and if he can’t bring home the votes, well, there’s

TED CRUZ who is the future of the republican party. bright, super-bright, and consistent.

let’s take off our boxing gloves!

wholefoodsrepublican on June 30, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Democrats who go off-platform: Pulled into back room by peers. Problem explained. Solutions explained. Fealty secured. Problem solved.

Example: Chicago D state reps who killed gay marriage bill. They are currently in the back room. Madigan is addressing everyone’s issues, fixing their problems, arranging money for future elections, projects for districts, orchestrating the votes so everyone will be happy.

Republicans who go off-platform: Held at arms length in public. Called a problem. Used as excuse to threaten leaving party. Further division insured. Problem exacerbated.

Example: Rubio.

The Republican Party has to get it’s act together and close ranks, not further divide us down into nothingness. A good start would be “leaders” spending a couple months asking constituents what their voter consent entails. Instead they flail around in the press airing dirty laundry everyone already knows exists, reminding the entire voter base how clueless they are.

MarkT on July 1, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Sch, Sch, Schumio is dead, dead, dead. Little Cubano prick needs to go!

el Vaquero on July 1, 2013 at 1:25 PM

The Democrat Senate was going to bring up a WORSE bill, and pass it, with less help from republicans, because they owed it as a demonstration to their voters that they and Obama were interested. Rubio was not going to look good in this no matter what he chose to do. At least our ideas are out there, even if they are spoiled by this enormous Comprehensive pork out.

The plan since Rubio got the spotlight was for the media to ruin him. I feel it is a lot like Scott Brown, they did that with him too. He ran against TARP and the excesses of democrats on Wall Street and no republicans would help him write a finance bill, and he had to put his best work into fixing Dodd Frank for a couple interests here at home/conservative interests…Fidelity…etc.

The media want to spoil our stars. Rubio was not running for president this time his kids are too little and he has not had a chance to achieve things he wants to in the Senate. I am reserving judgment for now, until I see if the House caves on anything. Immigration reform is just not that important for the House to take up, the budget / deficit spending fight needs to come up now.

Fleuries on July 1, 2013 at 1:39 PM


….and ONLY reason someone would even ASK this question is because, at the core of their being, they have deep, obsessive desire to slobber all over Marco and give him a big kiss..

williamg on July 1, 2013 at 2:03 PM

After hoping beyond hope that we finally had an honorable, conservative, trustworthy, young, etc. standard bearer our hope is dashed. Character does matter. Honesty does matter. The Republican establishment can try to convince us that Marco really does care. But, actions have consequences. Marco blew it. I’d like to believe he was naïve, but that again is being hopeful and I have no hope left in this weasel.

msawyer on July 1, 2013 at 2:39 PM


David Blue on July 1, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Who in their right mind could love any lying, cheating, stealing, anti Constitution, POS person serving in government? They are all backstabbing liars. Some of them (very few) may start out whith good intentions, but the minute they step into office, the I’m above you corruption begins. It is time to do away with the entire federal government. Let the states handle everything, including war. The state leaders can vote on every aspect of what happens in the country. Better yet, let American citizens vote on the major issues. That will do away with the corrupt few that think they know what’s best for us “little people”. Every law they write and pass excludes themselves from it. That is a slap in the face to Americans. Good enough for us, it’s good enough for them.

F_This on July 1, 2013 at 3:09 PM

“I am going to write a strongly worded letter to my Congressman.”

equanimous on July 1, 2013 at 3:44 PM