March 26, 2018


Marco Rubio's Lonely Fight: The Florida senator's political and cultural boundary-crossing is hurting him now, but it may be just what America needs in the future. (REIHAN SALAM  FEB 23, 2018, The Atlantic)

Inevitably, champions of gun rights were appalled by Rubio's apparent surrender on raising the age limit to purchase a rifle, and his willingness to consider a ban on high-capacity magazines. Opponents of the NRA were equally incensed by Rubio's failure to condemn the organization, and for not moving further in their direction. Left unnoticed is that he was, in his fitful way, working towards a position that just might represent a workable compromise between warring camps.

This isn't the first time Rubio's efforts to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable have gotten him into trouble. During the Obama administration, he was skewered for crafting an immigration bill that would have granted legal status to a large majority of unauthorized immigrants, something he pledged not to do as a Senate candidate in 2010, and that would have sharply increased immigration levels. Though much of the criticism of the Gang of Eight bill was richly deserved, and though I opposed it, it's not hard to offer a sympathetic interpretation of his failed effort: Rubio saw an opportunity for a lasting settlement of an issue that divides newcomers and the established, and he went for it. But the price he paid was high. One could argue that Rubio's central role in the Gang of Eight sealed his fate in the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

More recently, he threatened to blow up Republican efforts to pass a sweeping tax bill unless his fellow lawmakers increased the refundable portion of its expanded child credit, a measure that would have made the bill far more of a boon to low- and middle-income households--including newcomer households like the one in which he was raised. In doing so, Rubio made an enemy of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, which lambasted him on more than one occasion for embracing redistribution, and he provoked members of the all-important GOP donor class. What he failed to do, however, was win over a critical mass of Senate Democrats to his cause. In the end, Rubio managed to get at least part of what he was asking for. The refundable portion of the credit was ultimately increased. And yet he gained little in the way of respect from egalitarians for his lonely crusade.

It's easy to see Rubio as a tragic figure. But that would be a mistake. Right now, his boundary-crossing makes him a target. In the years to come, as the country continues to change, and as the need for new settlements that can reconcile the clashing interests of newcomers and the established grows more urgent, we'll need him, and others like him, all the more.

He's obviously the ideal vp pick for Nikki, but it would be nice if he governed something first.

Posted by at March 26, 2018 4:53 AM