• Email
  • Share:

How Chuck Schumer ran rings around Marco Rubio

Anyone who considers Marco Rubio suitable for the presidency should read this piece by Rich Lowry. We would expect a president to be able, at a minimum, to hold his own in negotiations with the smartest people in the opposition party. As Lowry shows, Rubio has failed that test:

If you are going to have any hope of passing a sweeping amnesty bill in a divided Congress, you need a conservative Republican with credibility with the party’s base willing to go out and aggressively advocate for it. If he is a potential front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, all the better. . . .

Schumer rightly recognized the importance of keeping on board Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been tireless and fearless in making the case for the Gang of Eight’s approach. The muted reaction of the right to the bill is a testament to its fondness and respect for Rubio.

Schumer managed to hold Rubio and win his grudging respect, while selling him a lopsided deal. Rubio traded amnesty — although he refuses to call it that — for an enforcement plan on paper and a commission to be named later.

Under the bill, no additional enforcement has to take place before undocumented immigrants get legalized. The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security merely has to come up with a strategy for enforcement and notify Congress that it has commenced. It doesn’t matter if it is a good, bad or indifferent plan, so long as it is a plan. Then, an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants get legal status.

The bill stipulates that we will establish a 90 percent effectiveness rate at catching people trying to cross the border in five years. If that goal isn’t achieved, then a bipartisan border commission swoops in to take charge and come up with its own report and recommendations. And if the commission fails to produce these recommendations within 180 days, well then, the bill demands that the Department of Homeland Security come up with yet another border-security plan!

Schumer’s genius is to have placated Rubio not just with promises, but with new versions of old promises. Rubio touts the bill’s mandate for the creation of an exit-entry tracking system, a key piece of the puzzle of controlling who comes here. Congress first mandated the creation of such a system in 1996. . . . .

If the Gang of Eight bill becomes law, a natural political dynamic will take over. Denying any undocumented immigrant newly legal status will seem arbitrary and unfair, and so the notionally tough requirements for legal status will be only loosely applied. Pro-amnesty advocacy groups and the business lobby will work to undermine enforcement in the courts and in Congress. And the new argument against Republicans will become that they are alienating Latino voters by insisting on an inexcusably drawn-out process for formerly undocumented immigrants to get citizenship (and become voters).

No doubt, Chuck Schumer has already thought all this through. That’s why he’s Chuck Schumer.

It’s possible that Rubio didn’t really get outfoxed by Schumer. Perhaps the Florida Senator doesn’t believe in Schumer’s promises any more than Schumer does, and extracted them only for the purpose of trying to sell amnesty to conservatives.

If this is the case, then Rubio is clever enough to be president, but not principled enough that conservatives should support him in that quest. But it looks to me like Schumer simply sold Rubio a bill of goods.

Recommend this Power Line article to your Facebook friends.

Responses