John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Rubio Strikes A Nerve

Posted on April 2, 2012

It was George M. Cohan who reportedly said, “I don’t care what you say about me, as long as you spell my name right.”

By that principle, leading Democrats have been spelling Marco Rubio’s name correctly, and he probably shouldn’t care what they are saying about him.

But there can be no question that they are talking about him a lot.

Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, is so concerned about Mr. Rubio’s ideas on immigration reform that he took the rare stop of writing an op-ed in a leading newspaper in the Senator’s home state, condemning his efforts to reach consensus on immigration reform, although he never quite mentioned him by name.

That is the updated version of Senatorial courtesy, I guess.

Chuck Schumer, Mr. Reid’s top political strategist in the Senate, wasn’t so subtle.

He said, quite bizarrely, that Rubio’s endorsement of Romney was not a sign of strength, but a sign of weakness. “They're trying to make amends for the horrible shape they're in with Hispanic voters. Hispanic voters are very hostile to Mitt Romney and the Republicans because of their anti-immigration stands."

That Rubio’s star power can bring some heft to the Romney ticket and that Rubio’s ideas on how to fix our immigration laws has some resonance within the Hispanic community has clearly rattled leading Democrats.

Right now, Republicans aren’t faring that well with Hispanic voters.

The numbers don’t lie. The primary campaign has been brutal, and the leading nominee has had to move to the right on immigration and other issues.

Rubio, better than most Senators, understands that fact. Obviously, he is from an immigrant family, and Florida is a state of immigrants. So from both a professional and personal perspective, the junior Senator understands that the GOP has to move closer to the middle on immigration issues.

That move to the middle makes the Democrats very nervous, because they know that they have a lousy record on immigration reform. When they controlled Congress with the largest majorities in a generation, they decided to use all of their political capital passing Obamacare rather than dealing with our broken immigration system. Now that Republicans control the House, they would rather blame them then find a common-sense solution.

For the Democrats running the Senate, they would rather play politics than make progress. And they see Marco Rubio as an existential threat to that plan.

Rubio shouldn’t care what they say about him, as long as they spell his name right.