538Refugees predicted back in April why Marco Rubio would be the VP pick because of Romney’s lagging support amongst the latino/hispanic community. There was also the perception that it wouldn’t hurt Romney’s chances to carry the swing state of Florida despite evidence to the contrary that shows that historically VP picks rarely result in the home state guarantee.
Romney, of course, hasn’t helped himself in the matter by publicly declaring that he would reject the DREAM Act. Whether hispanics think immigration is a priority issue or not, it’s got to speak volumes to them about how a Romney administration values their cohort.
Then came the Obama administration’s historic announcement this past Friday and the ensuing maelstrom of criticism that its timing was merely for political gain. Well, yeah. But not for the reasons Republicans think. The Obama immigration policy wasn’t some ‘come to Jesus’ moment like the shift on gay marriage was. This has been in the administration’s quiver ever since Senate Republicans rejected the DREAM Act back in 2010. Several hispanic congressmen have been on President’s heels about it ever since. And the timing? The President was about to jet off to a G20 summit in Mexico.
Marco Rubio had been working on what would essentially be DREAM Lite ™ and the Romney campaign was probably going to use that in order to get back in the good graces of the latino community. Couple that with a VP nomination and poof, instant Mexican karma. But this morning, ABC News reports that Rubio isn’t being vetted for the job. He hasn’t been asked to fill out any questionnaires or submit any financials in the two months since Romney instituted the search process.
In the wake of the President’s announcement, Rubio has shelved his immigration plan saying that the President ‘tossed a grenade’ into the plans. Critics say that President Obama stole Rubio’s thunder. Obama can’t steal what was never yours to begin with. Senate Republicans tried that back in December of 2010 when they filibustered it 55-41 for the purely political reason of not giving the President a perceived victory.
By forcing the President’s hand, that decision has come back to haunt them. Was the timing of the President’s announcement fortuitous? Probably not. But it’s hard to believe that had Rubio finished DREAM Lite that Romney would not have been all over the airwaves accusing the President of not having an immigration policy. In fact he has been on the airwaves saying Obama hasn’t had an immigration policy in 3 1/2 years while ignoring the fact that Obama tried to champion the original DREAM Act which, ironically, was a Republican idea in the first place. Romney claims to have a solution to the immigration issue but has been mum on the details. He has refused repeatedly to answer the question of whether or not he would overturn the President’s policy if elected.
The President has boxed Romney into an uncomfortable corner. Either he he rejects President Obama’s position altogether and risk losing a key demographic that could be the deciding factor in the election or he flip flops on his original stance against the DREAM Act and alienates the hardcore Tea Partiers. But then Mr. Etch-a-Sketch has been no stranger to flip flops. He’s done it so much that it’s probably his footwear of choice. Easy on, easy off.
Whether political or not, President Obama’s decision was done for all the right reasons. Given the intransigence in congress he really had little choice. That it had favourable political benefits is just gravy.
What’s sauce for the goose, eh Mr. Romney?
- Romney’s what-Rubio-says immigration stance (miamiherald.com)
- Marco Rubio may help Mitt Romney win over just the right amount of Hispanic voters (ireport.cnn.com)
- Rubio: Obama Derailed DREAM Act (commentarymagazine.com)
- Romney dodges immigration questions (politico.com)
- Obama’s immigration trap (politico.com)
- Marco Rubio Not Being Vetted to be Mitt Romney’s Running Mate (ABC News)
- Rubio to shelve GOP immigration plan (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)