Presidential candidate Marco Rubio has a big problem. As I previously detailed here, in 2013 Rubio tragicomically botched his attempt to lead on immigration reform, angering both pro- and anti-immigrant camps. For Republican primary voters who oppose citizenship for undocumented workers, Rubio remains anathema.
With Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz rising in the polls, Rubio saw a need to prevent Cruz from using the immigration issue against him. So his campaign team dug up that Cruz, in the course of opposing the pathway to citizenship that Rubio once championed, proposed allowing the undocumented to remain in America but without citizenship. On Friday, Rubio said, “Ted’s position on immigration is not much different than mine.”
Try not to get dizzy from the spin.
Cruz steadfastly opposed a path to citizenship, and voted against the bill that Rubio supported. Yet somehow their positions are basically the same?
If Rubio thought he could get away with that spin, Rep. Steve King has just brought some cold water for Rubio to drink.
King, the most virulent anti-immigrant voice in Congress, endorsed Ted. Cruz today in a video in which he says Cruz was “standing at my side time after time” and that he “understands that we’ve got to secure our border and we’ve got to restore the rule of law.” He suggests that Cruz fulfills his “regular prayer … that God would raise up a leader whom he will use to restore the soul of America.”
If Cruz was some *gasp* pro-amnesty liberal, suffice it to say he would not be garnering the endorsement of Rep. Steve “Calves the Size of Cantaloupes” King.
And the more Rubio tries to press the case, the more he calls attention to his pathetic leadership on the issue. Rubio is still running away from his old position. His campaign website offers nothing for the undocumented, only promises to crack down on “sanctuary cities.” He now says we should not even entertain pathways to citizenship until we work on border security for another “10 or 12 years.”
There’s no solution for the long-term viability of the Republican that does not include embracing immigration reform and competing for Latino votes. Rubio once offered Republicans hope he would be the leader who could that. No longer.