Rubio Tacks Hard Right - On Immigration?

If Jeb Bush is falling apart, as I suggested yesterday and then again just a few minutes ago, then the conventional wisdom is that fellow Floridian Marco Rubio is pretty much the last man standing among the “establishment” candidates. Walker and Perry are out, Kasich had his bubble two months ago, Fiorina’s five minutes of fame is clearly over, and Christie has struggled to even qualify for the adult table at the debates. Hence Rubio, who has slowly moved up while Jeb Bush has crumbled.

The conventional wisdom is, ahem, complete and total bullshit. If Bush goes, there are no establishment candidates left. Marco Rubio sure as hell isn’t one.

Rubio was elected to the Senate in 2010 on the strength of significant tea party support. For three years he vacillated on the issue of immigration reform (see this fun Think Progress recitation  of the twists and in Rubio’s own opinion just in 2013). Eventually Rubio became part of the Gang of Eight, and championed  the 2013 bipartisan immigration reform bill, which passed the Senate before dying in the House. At least for a few months. Here he is in April.

The bill passed the Senate but died in the House. For the past two years, Rubio has been all over the map on immigration, but clearly tending more right, as he has sought to court - again - the right wing tea party voters that helped him win his Senate seat in 2010. The Post had a very good summary earlier this year of Rubio’s long and winding road on the issue.

Now, however, trying to woo the increasingly loopy right wing base of the Republican Party, Rubio has gone over the cliff. He’s backing an effort by Ted Cruz - yes, you read that right - to increase penalties for deported individuals who later reenter the country.

Sen. Marco Rubio is backing a push to increase penalties for undocumented immigrants who reenter the country after previously being deported.

 The Florida Republican signed onto legislation from fellow 2016 White House hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday, according to the Congressional Record.

 Under Cruz’s legislation, undocumented immigrants face additional prison time if they reenter the country after being deported, including a minimum five-year sentence if they were previously convicted of an aggravated felony or of illegally reentering the country twice. 

 The Texas Republican is expected to come to the Senate floor next week to try to pass the legislation — which is referred to as Kate’s Law after Kathryn Steinle, who was shot and killed in San Francisco allegedly by an illegal immigrant who had already been deported five times. 

Rubio’s comment?

“No one involved in this debate understands this issue better than I do,” Rubio told Newsmax TV’s “The Hard Line.” “I understand immigration, the good, the bad and the ugly, but this part is not good — this part about people who are openly violating our laws.” 
Rubio has received skepticism from conservatives over his role in a 2013 immigration reform proposal, which he has since distanced himself from. 

Rubio has held virtually every position imaginable on immigration. He is now pandering to the right wing in a pathetic attempt to gain votes with the nutty fringe. Cowardice doesn’t begin to describe the repeated changes in direction that Rubio has attempted just in the past two years.

I give Jeb Bush credit for not pandering to the right on immigration and other issues. Rubio deserves no such praise. He’s a fraud, a huckster, a grifter and a transparent phony. Shame on the Republicans if they nominate him and shame on the Democrats if he isn’t roasted alive if he does manage to be the nominee. Any oppo guy worthy of the name will have a field day with this clown.

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