Forgiving Rubio, or How to 'Stumble' on Immigration All the Way to the White House

Marco Rubio was embraced by the media and Democrats in 2013 when he supported immigration reform, much to the ire of his conservative base.  The media took the opportunity to paint his wayward supporters who opposed his efforts as backward extremists, upon no other grounds than the “everybody knows” doctrine that Mark Steyn succinctly described in After America: Get Ready for Armageddon.

For example, “everybody knows” that not allowing the government to tax your energy consumption to its heart’s desire will cause the oceans to boil over (despite the inherent silliness in that assumption).  “Everybody knows” that the best thing that can be done to reduce violent crime is to increase welfare spending and expand gun control (notwithstanding the ample evidence suggesting that the exact opposite is true).  And “everybody knows” that legislating amnesty for illegal aliens who will do the unskilled jobs Americans “won’t do” while collecting billions in taxpayer-funded benefits is good for the economy (with utter disregard for the insanity required to actually believe that).  

Somehow, this is all true.  Don’t ask questions.  It’s just the stuff that “everybody knows.”

So when Rubio backed off from his amnesty position, seemingly due to the political flak he took, he was labeled a “scalded dog” by “one influential Republican consultant.”

“After immigration reform passed the Senate, Rubio could have continued his crusade and worked to ensure that the House passed something as well,” write Jon Ward and Andrew Romano at Yahoo! in a conspicuously partisan piece titled “Inside Marco Rubio’s stumble on immigration and what it says about his ability to lead.”  Instead of continuing his “crusade,” as the authors obviously feel he should have done, he “changed the subject,” choosing to join Ted Cruz on his “quixotic quest to defund Obamacare.” 

All this is clearly meant to be evidence suggesting that Rubio lacks the leadership necessary to be president.

This poses a troubling question: is the assertion of their piece, and other criticisms like it, that a representative not listening to one’s body of constituents while acting out personal “crusades” forges a preferable path to actually listening to one’s constituents and amending one’s actions in accordance to the will of the people who supported said representative?  If that’s the case, what good can reasonably come of writing a letter to one’s senator, or petitioning one’s representative via town hall meeting, or even asking simple questions about politics at all after any of one’s representatives is elected?  The politician is engaged in his or her own “crusade,” for better or worse.  As for you – the taxpayer and the constituent funding it – your part in the discussion is over. 

On the other hand, if public policy positions were to have one infallible litmus test among representatives elected by a group of constituents, what might it be?

It is the will of the People who elected and offer continuing support for said representative.  Established law must be observed, but nothing should be done without consideration of the People.  We are the rightful owners and sovereigns of this country, not the career politicians or their personal “crusades,” which may align with or run afoul of whatever fashionable ideas might be espoused by politicians and the media. 

The irony of all of this is that the driving narratives of Barack Obama and the media are entirely contrary to the people’s will, if the most recent Congressional elections last November are any consideration.  The president and the media can cling to the notion that the majority of people support fast-track amnesty for illegal aliens, and the idea that repealing Obamacare is a losing political position, but Republicans won the most resounding electoral victory in six decades last year by running against amnesty, and by running on the prospect of repealing Obamacare, thus mitigating its damage.  Conservative representatives were bolstered by Ted Cruz’s “quixotic quest to defund Obamacare,” and the staunch opposition to amnesty won Republicans the faith and support of the American people such that they now have a mandate to enforce our will in Congress. 

Establishment types in the Republican Party have been squandering that opportunity, supporting and passing a trillion-dollar CRomnibus bill last December and goose-stepping to the ObamaTrade drumbeat that would grant executive authority over trade agreements while diminishing legislative power in global commerce.  (Et tu, Paul Ryan?)

But what should be apparent is that it’s not about what “everybody knows” or accepts about politics.  It’s about the American people’s desired path for our country.  And if Rubio understands that it is not about his personal crusades, but about what the People desire, and ultimately about the values of individual achievement and limited government standing in opposition to the voices espousing universal entitlement and collectivist ambition, he and others trumpeting that message will have our support -- and with it, a better chance at winning the presidential election in 2016.

 William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.