Friday, May 14, 2010

Marco Rubio Changes His Mind About Arizona's Immigration Law

Here is a great article about Marco Rubio from The Week:
There's a fresh twist in the debate over Arizona's tough new immigration law. Although Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio — a Tea Party favorite — initially warned that the legislation could turn Arizona into a "police state," he says he's comfortable with the law after the state made controversial revisions to its language last weekend. (The law, reports the Christian Science Monitor, now specifies "that police may only question the immigration status of those they suspect of being in the country illegally if they have already stopped them for a different reason.") Democrats promptly accused Rubio of flip-flopping. What accounts for his U-turn?
The article questions why Rubio has changed his mind, and asks three questions.  The first is whether he is trying to pander to his base, because after all, they are the ones who are doing the legwork for Rubio.  The second question is whether he actually believes that the changes to the law take race out of the equation, and the third is that now that the changes have been made, is he trying to court the mainstream GOP?

My opinion is a combination of the first and last - Rubio came out against the law, and if you noticed from the responses on Big Government to Dr. Ronald L. Trowbridge's article, it was a surefire way to piss off his biggest supporters.  Now that Rubio is backing the law, those far-right fiends will be back on his side, but now that governor Jan Brewer signed an executive order and some meaningless amendments to the law, Rubio can try to pass his position off as being more moderate - he can try to claim that he held out until they fixed the bill.

As we all know, the changes were no improvement to the legislation, and Rubio is just showing that he is an opportunist.  His advertisements try to play off governor Charlie Crist's decision to run independently from the Republican establishment, claiming that he is the candidate with principles, but his decision just proves that he is another right-wing opportunist.  At least when Crist flip-flops, he has the decency to say he's doing it for the majority of his constituents.

One big reason for this change, in my opinion, is not only the above reasons I mentioned, but because Rubio no longer has to contend for the GOP spot since Crist decided to run as an independent.  Typically, the candidate moves back to the center after the primaries, to try to entice the other side to vote for them.  Rubio, the conservative pick, was going against Crist and his established moderate position.  Rubio maybe tried to eat into Crist's base by distancing himself from the bill, but since Crist dropped out of the running after the bill was passed, Rubio was now freed up to continue courting the conservatives.  Sure he said he was "mainstream", but his actions seem to prove otherwise.

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