Prominent amnesty advocates in the media are openly swooning over the prospect of a Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio leadership team in 2017.
In his Friday column, New York Times columnist David Brooks–who has called for “increased immigration” and “normalizing the illegal” population–hailed the prospect of a “Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio Moment.”
The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin–a staunch Jeff Sessions critic and columnist, who, in her 2013 writings, advised Republican lawmakers like Eric Cantor to “turn off the talk radio, avoid right-wing blogs,” and push Rubio’s immigration agenda–published an equally effusive piece, entitled “Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan: A New Generation?”
Similarly, Matt Lewis–who has warned of “the dangers of right wing populism” and has urged expanding immigration beyond today’s record highs, was also excited by a potential Ryan-Rubio tag team in a “Ryan-Rubio: A Chance for Conservative Generational Change” column.
Rubin similarly wrote, “On the day after 44-year old Sen. Marco Rubio’s smashing debate performance 45-year old Rep. Paul Ryan was elected [S]peaker of the House. It is hard to overlook the confluence of these two events. … It is a powerful statement–potentially–about the current state of the GOP.”
Rubin was taken by both Rubio and Ryan’s penchant for using commonplace clichés about tomorrow, page turning, and the future. Rubio’s campaign has invested heavily in the theory that saying the word “tomorrow” and “the future” will resonate with voters. For instance, Rubio has said:
“We live in the most exciting era of human history, but if we look to yesterday, we will lose tomorrow.”
“I believe the way forward is to embrace the future.”
“Yesterday’s over, and we are never going back.”
Jennifer Rubin took note of this theme, writing, “Rubio had a generational theme already, and Ryan is also promising a new way of doing business. [When accepting the Speaker’s gavel] Ryan told his fellow Republicans, ‘Tomorrow, we are turning the page.’”
David Brooks similarly honed in on Rubio’s youth and Rubio’s grounding in “this century” as a reason to support the young Republican: “His greatest weakness is his greatest strength: his youth. … While other candidates are repeating the formulas of the 1980s and 1990s, Rubio is a child of this century.”
Contrary to Brooks’ assertion, Marco Rubio was born in 1971 and was approaching thirty when this century began. However, both Ryan and Rubio have sought to frame themselves as leaders for “the 21st century.”
Rubio’s campaign theme is “A New American Century,” and when answering questions from the media, Rubio peppers responses with veiled allusions to a new “21st century agenda.”
Ryan has similarly emphasized his “new century” appeal. At a 2013 event to stump for the Rubio-Obama immigration agenda with Luis Gutierrez, Ryan showcased his “21st century” rhetoric. During his pitch to expand immigration levels, Ryan declared, “We need to make sure that for the 21st century we are wired so that we can compete and survive and thrive in the 21st century just like we did in the 20th century.”
The Pew Research Center recently provided some insight into the Ryan-Rubio vision for this new century. By merely maintaining our current immigration levels, between 2015 and 2065, the United States will add seven new people through future immigration for every one net birth to today’s population. This will result in the addition of 103 million new immigrants and their children–or 25 cities of Los Angeles--in the span of five decades. While an overwhelming majority of the American people want to see immigration curbed, throughout their careers, both Rubio and Ryan have authored several plans that would massively expand current immigration rates.
In the past, as The National Review, the Tampa Bay Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and many outlets have documented, Republicans donors have relied on Rubio’s young face to sell their longstanding agenda. For instance, the donor class was unable to push the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill through the Senate under the salesmanship of John McCain and Lindsey Graham. However, in 2013, after Mitch McConnell suggested making Rubio the fresh face of the bill, Rubio was able to easily usher the donor base’s immigration agenda through the Senate. Even though the bill had a four times larger increase in temporary workers, Rubio was able to sell the plan to conservatives by making multiple misrepresentations about the bill to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and others. Even law enforcement accused Rubio of having “directly misled” them.
Despite Rubio’s campaign rhetoric, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait has observed that Rubio is yesterday’s Republican, not tomorrow’s. Chait explains that Rubio’s “New Century” talking points are part of an effort to distinguish himself from Republicans of the past, like failed presidential candidate John McCain, who shares Rubio’s views on immigration, foreign policy, and trade. Chait writes, “Marco Rubio has carved out a valuable niche in the Republican field as the candidate who will carry out the agenda of the party’s donor base, but who has the identity and communication skills to sell that agenda more effectively.”
Chait argues that while Rubio has the same policies as the old guard Republicans of the past, Rubio is in a better position to implement the calcified donor class agenda into law because of his youthful demeanor and “new century” rhetoric. Chait pointed out that, when pressed, Rubio was unable to identify a single major policy area where he differs from Mitt Romney or George W. Bush. Chait notes that in Rubio’s response, Rubio even incorrectly declared that his campaign is taking place in a different century than the campaigns of Bush, McCain, and Romney. Chait asserts that Rubio represents a reprise of yesterday’s Republicans:
Many of us have noted that Marco Rubio has carried out an eerie reprise of George W. Bush’s 2000 strategy, which uses a combination of personal authenticity, small-bore policy concessions, and rhetorical misdirection to portray his conventionally Republican, supply-side policy agenda as a refreshingly moderate departure from party orthodoxy. The parallel can be seen, too, in the swooning coverage both figures have attracted from commentators who don’t worry too much about how it will all add up. David Brooks today supplies the kind of reaction Rubio’s campaign is counting on.
Before delving into his analysis of Brooks’ column, Chait posts a portion of Brooks’ column, in which Brooks writes:
At this stage it’s probably not sensible to get too worked up about the details of any candidate’s plans. They are all wildly unaffordable. What matters is how a candidate signals priorities. Rubio talks specifically about targeting policies to boost middle- and lower-middle-class living standards.
Chait mocks the GOP establishment media’s refusal to examine Rubio’s policies, but instead focuses solely on his rhetoric and appearance:
Don’t focus on the substance of his policy commitments, argues Brooks. Focus on the rhetoric in his speeches. Because when politicians talk upliftingly about their hopes and dreams for hardworking Americans, that is when they reveal their most genuine selves. … Bush in 2000 made a habit of taking photo opportunities with African-Americans all the time, a smart gambit that contributed to his image as a centrist. Rubio’s personal identity gives him a leg up in this regard. The only flaw in the plan is the possibility that reporters will focus on the substance of your agenda instead of the “signals” you send with your political messaging. If David Brooks is any indication, Rubio doesn’t have much to worry about.
Indeed, Brooks praises Rubio for his understanding of “globalization” even though Rubio–more than another candidate–has pushed to expand the longstanding donor class globalist agenda. Brooks writes:
In a series of major policy speeches over the past two years … Rubio has emphasized that new structural problems threaten the American dream: technology displacing workers, globalization suppressing wages and the decline of marriage widening inequality.
In a speech before the Council of Foreign Relations, Rubio endorsed Barack Obama and Paul Ryan’s trade agenda–describing globalist trade pacts as the “second pillar” of his three-pillared foreign policy strategy.
“My second pillar,” Rubio declared, “is the protection of the American economy in a globalized world,” adding, “It is more important than ever that Congress give the president [Barack Obama] trade promotion authority so that he can finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.”
The Ryan and Rubio vision of open borders trade and immigration policies would allow for the free and legal movement of foreign goods, people, and labor across international boundaries. Under such a policy, any willing employer could hire any willing worker regardless of where he lives–thus driving down the cost of labor for CEOs, but denying Americans any preferential treatment for jobs, benefits, and services in their own country.
A recent study from Georgetown University’s Eric Gould has found that this globalist vision is one of the driving forces behind income inequality, pushing down wages for working Americans:
The overall evidence suggests that the manufacturing and immigration trends have hollowed-out the overall demand for middle-skilled workers in all sectors, while increasing the supply of workers in lower skilled jobs. Both phenomena are producing downward pressure on the relative wages of workers at the low end of the income distribution.
While globalist trade and immigration policies have been favored by donors for decades, they are overwhelmingly opposed by the Republican electorate. By a nearly 5-to-1 margin Republican voters think these trade deals, which have been championed by Ryan and Rubio, slash wages rather than raise them. Only 11% of Republican voters believe these so-called free trade deals will increase wages. Similarly, according to Pew, 9 in 10 Republican voters disagree with Ryan and Rubio on immigration, and want to see future immigration levels decreased rather than increased.
Conservatives have observed that far from taking the GOP in a new direction for tomorrow, Rubio and Ryan are stuck in the failed policies of the past. Rush Limbaugh has made clear his view that, with Ryan as Speaker and Rubio as President, the donor class and old guard Republican leadership will finally complete what they have been pining to do for a decade: within “12-to-18 months, the donor-class agenda [will be] implemented, including amnesty and whatever else they want.”
As one senior GOP operative told Breitbart News, “Rubio and Ryan are merely the youngest clerics of an old, discredited political faith, who have taken that ideology to its most radical extreme.”