Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Marco Rubio, now more than ever.

“If the president can rewrite federal laws that he doesn't like, there is no limit to his power. Then, he will not be a president. He will be a king.”

--Andrew Napolitano, Reason

The “king” is out to block the rise of Marco Rubio, Florida’s dynamic Hispanic senator, to a place on Mitt Romney’s ticket.

“Intrade” (the legal online betting service) today has Marco Rubio third at 14% odds in the race to be Romney’s vice president, behind Rob Portman (24%) and Tim Pawlenty (17%), but ahead of Paul Ryan (8%) and Bobby Jindal (6%). Conservative George Will on ABC said he preferred more excitement than Portman or Pawlenty (hardly a challenge), then completely skipped over Rubio without mentioning him to say his man was Louisiana Governor Jindal because Ryan should stay in congress.


I don’t know that Romney’s veep will be Rubio. But I know it SHOULD be Rubio. And certainly in part because of what happened June 15, not in spite of it. Rubio’s odds dropped and Will skipped over him after Obama issued an unconstitutional executive order blocking deportations of illegals under 30 who have committed no crime. In his “dictator-for-life”-type action, Obama decreed a version of the Dream Act earlier rejected by Congress. Last year, Obama himself called such an executive order illegal. This year, King Obama.

Has Romney now given up on the Hispanic vote?

Obama’s Dream Act decree was aimed at Marco Rubio, in an effort to leap past Rubio’s rising appeal to the Latino vote, and his possible selection as Romney’s vice president. Listen to John Aloysius Farrell, in the liberal National Journal:
President Obama coolly pre-empted Rubio's heralded efforts to draft a version of the Dream Act that would appeal to both Hispanic voters and the GOP's conservative base. . . Obama got there first, leaving Rubio's long labors irrelevant.
Saying a rush to Dream Act passage is no longer an option for him, Farrell quotes Rubio:
"If I introduce a piece of legislation and it immediately triggers a partisan war and name calling, I set back the cause. This White House didn't reach out. If you're really serious about finding a solution to this problem, don't you work with the people interested in this? If you're really interested in a bipartisan solution and you read in the newspaper that there is a Republican senator working on an idea, don't you reach out to them? That never happened... They're not really serious."
"I was hoping this issue could be elevated above politics," Rubio said. "Obviously...I was pretty naive."
Obama’s Dream Act decree is the best thing that’s happened to his campaign in weeks. USA TODAY is out with a poll confirming Obama now leads Romney 66%-25% among Hispanics, matching his 2008 election showing. Romney now is the weakest among Latinos of any presidential contender since 1996, yet that’s 16 years during which the Hispanic voting percentage doubled.

Of course, Obama’s Dream Act decree improved his results: Hispanics support Obama’s executive order by 82% to 16%. Gloated Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, Romney
has the most conservative position on immigration reform of any nominee of our lifetime. It's not the only issue Latino voters care about, but it is an important issue that shows people whose side they are on, and it's clear that Mitt Romney's against them.
So doesn’t this all guarantee Romney will raise his campaign excitement level while grabbing a larger chunk of the Hispanic vote by making Latin American Rubio his vice president? Why are Rubio’s numbers instead down, and why does George Will pass over Rubio when talking Romney veep? What’s up?

A clue comes from MSNBC, a network, one can safely say, 100% dedicated to Obama’s re-election. MSNBC just finished a panel on why Romney won’t pick Rubio for veep. Liberal John Heilemann of New York magazine, also co-author of the inside access book Game Change about Obama’s 2008 victory, says the Romney folks want “someone on the ticket who immediately clears the bar of ready to be commander in chief on day one,” a non-distraction who will keep the focus on Obama and the economy, not someone who will “generate a lot of stories” about past “controversial aspects.”

Fellow panelist Manuel Roig-Franzia, staff writer at the liberal Washington Post and author of The Rise of Marco Rubio, a book whose publication was timed to coincide exactly with the June 19 release of Rubio’s own memoir, helpfully added that Rubio owns a house with Florida congressman David Rivera that “was about to be put into foreclosure” until they were able to “scramble and pay the bill.” Wow. What dirt. Rubio had trouble keeping a home afloat in Florida, one of the country’s worst housing markets? That ought to end his vice president dreams, right? No, of course not.

Here’s what Rubio’s chances come down to. Will the Romney people, folks heavily under the influence of their dinner-companion “frienemies” in Washington DC and New York, buy into the idea that Rubio is Sarah Palin II, the veep candidate from Hell who must be rejected in favor of a Portman or Pawlenty, folks somewhat similar to ideal vice president Dick Cheney, able to take over “on day one”? The Romney folks—to me losers in the mold of Tom Dewey (1944, 1948), Nixon-Lodge (1960), Nelson Rockefeller (1964), Jerry Ford (1976), George H.W. Bush (loser in 1980 and 1992, a winner in 1988 because “no new taxes” George ran as the Reagan-Bush junior partner), Bob Dole (1996), and John McCain (2008)—would indeed pick a Cheney over a Palin (in their view, McCain’s fatal mistake).

Sarah Palin. Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton. John Kennedy. They are all people who generated excitement and brought in new voters. Rubio would be the first Hispanic vice president, and as such, in line for the presidency. His presence on the ticket would help Romney carry Florida, Virginia, Nevada, and Colorado. For that excellent reason, Democrats don’t want Romney choosing Rubio. That’s why they are “Palinizing” Rubio—what Democrats and the legacy media do when they fear a potential Republican winner.

Rubio is young yet polished beyond his years, far more tested nationally than was Palin in 2008, and unlike Obama, Rubio would be only running for vice president, not president. Cheney was a good if highly controversial V.P., but he brought few new votes to the ticket during the super-close 2000 election. Rubio could do much more.

Do I expect the Romney folks to do the right thing?

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