Despite his best efforts to rally conservatives behind immigration reform, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is starting to feel the heat from the right, drawing heavy fire even from previous conservative ally Sarah Palin, and weakening his position with Republicans across the nation.
On Sunday and Monday, the former Alaska governor, best known for being the vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket in 2008, ripped into Rubio and his immigration reform proposal.
Just like they did with Obamacare, some in Congress intend to Pelosi the amnesty bill, Palin posted on Facebook on Monday, referring to the liberal Democratic House leader, Nancy Pelosi. Theyll pass it in order to find out whats in it. And just like the unpopular, unaffordable Obamacare disaster, this pandering, rewarding-the-rule-breakers, still-no-border-security, special-interests-ridden, 24-pound disaster of a bill is not supported by informed Americans.
I am an ardent supporter of legal immigration, Palin insisted. Im proud that our country is so desirable that it has been a melting pot making a diverse people united as the most exceptional nation on earth for over two centuries. But I join every American with an ounce of common sense insisting that any discussion about immigration must center on a secure border. The amnesty bill before the Senate is completely toothless on border security.
Palin called out Rubio, who is expected to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, by name -- while talking up one of his possible rivals, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Its beyond disingenuous for anyone to claim that a vote for this bill is a vote for security, Palin wrote. Look no further than the fact that Senator Rubio and amnesty supporters nixed Senator Thunes amendment that required the feds to finally build part of a needed security fence before moving forward on the status of illegal immigrants whove already broken the law to be here.
"And if shooting down the border fence wasn't proof enough, they blew another chance by killing Senator Pauls Trust But Verify amendment which required the completion of a fence in five years and required Congress to vote on whether the border is actually secure before furthering any immigration measures. And then they blew it yet again, nixing Senator Cornyns Results amendment, which also required border enforcement standards. Now the Senates pro-amnesty crowd is offering a fig leaf to security via the Corker-Hoeven Amendment, but this is really nothing more than empty promises. Its amnesty right now and border security eh, well, someday.
Palin promised to make immigration a major issue in the 2014 election cycle, comparing it to 2010 when the tea party movement helped propel Republican gains as Americans rallied against President Barack Obamas federal health-care law.
As the Senate moves to pass amnesty, the only bright spot in this travesty is the rallying revolution we can look forward to, Palin wrote on Monday. For just as opposition to Obamacare became a rallying cry for the 2010 midterm elections, opposition to this fundamentally transforming amnesty bill will galvanize the grass roots in next years elections. And 2014 is just around the corner.
Nor was this Palins only attack on Rubio in recent days. On Sunday, Palin highlighted a story from Townhall.com which insisted Rubio shifted his position on immigration between when he ran for the Senate in 2010 and today.
Politicians wonder why we can't trust them? Palin demanded on Facebook on Sunday before including Alaskas two U.S. senators -- Democrat Mark Begich and Republican Lisa Murkowski. Campaign flip-flops like this and carve-out bribes in the Amnesty Bill for politicians like Begich and Murkowski to exempt Alaska seafood workers.
For his part, Rubio continues to try to win conservatives over to his immigration reform bill. On Monday he took to the pages of Human Events which, for decades, has been a leading conservative journal. Rubio returned to the theme of American exceptionalism in his essay.
America is a special country, Rubio wrote. Its so special that people want to come here from all over the world, and they are able to because we have always been a welcoming society. In fact, over 1 million people come legally every single year. No other country comes even close to us, and we are a stronger, more prosperous and more dynamic country because of it. We also understand that America is so special and unique that some people are willing to risk their lives to come here illegally. And as compassionate people, we understand that reality and the desperation that usually drives it, and our heart breaks at the stories of what people have to go through to come here.
Unfortunately, decades of broken promises have led to a crisis on our southern border and an illegal immigrant population of 11 million people living in de facto amnesty, Rubio continued. This situation hurts America, and its why strong border security and enforcement measures must be an important part of the Senate immigration bill currently being debate.
The immigration reform bill is expected to pass the Senate this week with perhaps as many as 70 votes -- far more than the 60 needed to break a filibuster. But its fate in the Republican-controlled House remains uncertain.
In the meantime, a new poll finds Rubio is starting to become increasingly less popular with conservatives as he continues to be front and center on immigration reform -- showing that his high visibility on the issue could hurt his chances for the White House in 2016.
A Rasmussen Reports poll released on Monday finds 58 percent of Republicans across the nation have a favorable view of Rubio -- down from 68 percent in a Rasmussen poll from May. Rubio is seen as unfavorable by 16 percent of Republicans while 25 percent are undecided.
The poll of 1,000 likely voters was taken from June 20-21 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 904-521-3722.