As a candidate for the United States Senate, Marco Rubio campaigned on a tough, “no amnesty” immigration stance, in which he advocated against a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and in strong support of border security before legalization. Now, as a leader of the “Gang of 8,” he has embraced — and in many instances moved farther left of — the very policies he once criticized.
It is okay for Senator Rubio to change his mind, though he and I may disagree. For too many conservatives, though, Senator Rubio appears to be trying to reconcile irreconcilable positions. In the past several days, tea party activists who once supported him have been booing just the mention of his name. Conservative groups that once touted him as the second coming of Ronald Reagan have moved on to Ted Cruz.
There is much time between now and 2016, and there will be other challenges that see the right and Senator Rubio united. But I suspect the contradictions of these statements will come up in ad campaigns in Iowa, New Hampshire, and elsewhere.