Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) went all-in to become the face of the “Gang of Eight” and the Senate’s immigration bill, which the Congressional Budget Office claimed would lower the wages of working class Americans while not solving the illegal immigration problem.
But the day after Rubio’s signature legislation passed the Senate on June 27, as Breitbart News wrote, he went silent. Rubio seems intent on not even pushing for his signature bill to become law.
“What’s there to advocate for?” Rubio told Politico when asked if he would work with House Members to pass similar legislation.“I don’t think the best way to get a result for immigration reform in this country is to somehow try to muscle the House.”
He said the “Senate bill has passed the Senate,” and the House needed “the time and space… to come up with their ideas about how to reform immigration – and I hope they will – but that’s up to them.”
Rubio’s staffers, many of whom sold Rubio on the idea of pushing for immigration reform, also seem to realize the damage their advice has wrought to his brand.
As Twitchy reported, Rubio, his chief spokesman, and his chief-of-staff have also been silent on Twitter after relentlessly promoting immigration reform in the months leading up to the bill’s passage in the Senate.
Politico also observed that Rubio consultant Todd Harris, who is usually “gregarious” in promoting himself and his clients to the mainstream press, “uncharacteristically resisted eight days of calls and emails” about the story.
Politico wrote that the “very issue Rubio (and Harris) thought would be a game-changing, legacy-builder looks like a big liability for the Florida senator.” They suggest the formerly “self-confident presidential hopeful suddenly looks wobbly, even a little weak, as he searches for what’s next.”
These are clear signs, as the Los Angeles Times wrote, that Rubio has “bowed out” of the debate and “appears to have decided to give House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH) space to work with his often unruly majority.” His spokesman told the Times, “The House has an opportunity to improve on the Senate’s efforts and advance reform further, but they should be given the deference to decide the best way forward.”
Rubio’s popularity has plummeted among conservatives and Republicans, particularly in the key presidential nominating state of Iowa, home of the nation’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. CNN observed that Republican candidates in the 2014 midterm elections in are now even slamming Rubio. The network observed that the bottom line is, “If midterm Republican candidates in Iowa think they can score points with conservative voters by attacking Rubio and tying him to President Obama and reborn pragmatist John McCain, Rubio’s got some critical repair work to do on the right.”
Rubio will try to win back conservatives by advocating pro-life bills and fighting against Obamacare and the national debt, but National Review editor Rich Lowry, who went all-in against the immigration bill along with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, said, “Fairly or not, everything he does now is going to be seen as an effort to make up for what he did on the immigration bill.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a Gang of Eight member, said Rubio should use what political capital he has left to influence House Members to pass the bill.
Establishment Republican strategist, mainstream media favorite, and McCain ally Mike Murphy agrees with Graham. Though Rubio was elected with the support of conservatives opposed to amnesty, Murphy told Politico he would advise Rubio to push for the Senate’s immigration bill because Rubio had to “[d]ance with the one that brung you.” Murphy also said Rubio should ignore his advisers who may be “super-sensitive to the downside in Republican primary politics.”