This Sunday on “This Week,” ABC’s Jonathan Karl pressed Florida Senator, Marco Rubio, on whether he would support his own immigration bill were it to come to the Senate floor as is. Rubio was evasive to say the least.
KARL: You are the primary architect, author of the bill that came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, immigration reform. I have a basic question for you, Senator — do you support your own bill?
RUBIO: Obviously, I think it’s an excellent starting point. And I think 95, 96 percent of the bill is in perfect shape and ready to go. But there are elements that need to be improved. This is how the legislative process is supposed to work. You offer an idea. You get public input and input of your other colleagues. From these criticisms and observations come new ideas about how to make it better. And of course, you can’t ignore that. These things need to be addressed. And we have the opportunity to do that now, in particular on the border security element. Look, the majority of Americans, the vast majority of conservative Republicans are prepared to support immigration reform, but only if we can ensure we’re not going to have another wave of illegal immigration in the future. And I think they have pointed to valid criticisms of how the border security plan is structured in the bill, and quite frankly, reasonable ways to address it.
KARL: If it stays the way it is on border security, do you vote for it?
RUBIO: I don’t want to get involved in the hypotheticals and ultimatums.
Hypotheticals and ultimatums? It’s his damn bill. He is the face of this legislation. How can he possibly not have an answer to that question? This reminds of John McCain in 2008 who said he would not vote for his own bipartisan immigration legislation. Sure, Rubio is under a lot of pressure from the far right base of the GOP which helped him get elected in the first place. On the other hand, Rubio also knows that the Republican Party needs to get this issue off the table or face a demographic tsunami of Latino voters that will destroy the chances of the GOP gaining majority votes in many–if not most–future state-wide and national elections.
And of course, there is the matter of 2016 for Senator Rubio as well. Rubio is quite ambitious and has his eye on the presidential prize. For him to succeed, he has to find a way to make it through the very conservative republican primary and somehow manage to be palatable to the population at large in the general. And now Rubio is hinting at following in the footsteps of John McCain. Is Rubio now going to say we have to finish the “danged fence“? How did that work out?