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NYT Quietly Cheers Senate’s Amnesty Vote, Rubio

From the New York Times:

Senate, 68 to 32, Passes Overhaul for Immigration

By ASHLEY PARKER and JONATHAN MARTIN | June 27, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday approved the most significant overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws in a generation with broad support generated by a sense among leading Republicans that the party needed to join with Democrats to remove a wedge between Republicans and Hispanic voters.

And let’s not forget how much our immigration laws were ‘reformed’ the last time. They were so reformed we ended up with (at least) 11 million more illegal aliens. Who knows how much more this ‘reform’ will bring us?

The strong 68-to-32 vote in the often polarized Senate tossed the issue into the House, where the Republican leadership has said that it will not take up the Senate measure and is instead focused on much narrower legislation that would not provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country. Party leaders hope that the Senate action will put pressure on the House.

Leading up to the final votes, which the senators cast at their desks to mark the import of the moment, members of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” who drafted the framework of the legislation, took to the Senate floor to make a final argument for the measure. Among them was Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, who is one of his party’s leading Hispanic voices. When Mr. Rubio finished, the other senators in the group surrounded him on the floor, patting him on the back and offering words of encouragement. “Good job,” one said. “I’m proud of you,” another offered…

And why not? Senator Rubio has probably scuttled any chance he ever had by being the Democrats’ ‘Judas Goat’ for amnesty.

(A Judas Goat is a goat that has been trained to lead sheep to a specific destination, such as the slaughter house, while its own life is spared. To be fair, the Judas goats do not realize how they are being used.)

Byron York spells out how Mr. Rubio was key, via the Washington Examiner:

Rubio’s immigration strategy worked brilliantly, but disappointed many

By BYRON YORK | JUNE 27, 2013

… From the beginning, many Senate Republicans were terrified of immigration reform. They knew a large part of their base opposed any measure that smelled of "amnesty." But they were also deeply shaken by last November’s election results, in which Mitt Romney won just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. Some GOP strategists, and some Senate colleagues, told them the Republican Party would be finished unless it supported reform.

What to do? First, they tried not to stick their necks out. For several months, if you asked a Republican senator a substantive question about immigration, the answer was, "Let’s see what Marco comes up with."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has been more than the GOP point man on immigration. From January, when the Gang of Eight announced its intentions, until April, when it unveiled its bill, Rubio was the man Republicans hid behind. "We’re waiting for Marco" became the Senate Republican caucus’ unofficial position on immigration.

After the Gang unveiled its bill, one might have expected GOP lawmakers to take a stand. Instead, many still deferred to Rubio, saying they were waiting to see what kind of improvements he might deliver.

Republicans were able to keep their heads down in part because there wasn’t a lot of pressure coming from the anti-reform conservative base. And that owed a great deal to the Gang’s decision to dispatch Rubio, elected as a Tea Party favorite in 2010 and viewed as a future leader of the Republican Party, on a mission to allay conservative suspicions about the bill.

"Menendez told me that Rubio’s role was to ‘work over the conservative universe, particularly the conservative opinion-maker universe,’ in order to ‘neutralize them’ and, in some cases, ‘proselytize them,’" the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza reported recently, referring to Democratic Gang member Robert Menendez. The leader of the Gang, Democrat Charles Schumer, "was delighted to have a Tea Party conservative who could sell an immigration bill to the right," Lizza wrote.

The plan worked brilliantly. Conservative talk radio hosts who might have instinctively opposed immigration reform as conceived by Schumer gave Rubio a respectful hearing and a lot of room. When Rubio told them the bill would secure the border first, they believed him.

Later, when it became unavoidably clear that, in fact, the bill would first legalize millions of currently illegal immigrants, and only after that start the work of securing the border, some conservatives began to express skepticism, disappointment and opposition. But Rubio’s neutralization campaign had bought the Gang precious months to write the bill and gather momentum before conservatives began to realize what was actually in it…

An alternative headline for this article could be: ‘How The Conservatives Got Played — Again.’

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, June 28th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

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