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Conservative Consensus: Marco Rubio Has Lost Our Trust

In the aftermath of Florida’s Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s star role as the face of the Obama-backed “Gang of Eight” amnesty for illegal aliens bill, the consensus among conservative leaders is that Rubio has lost the trust of the conservative grassroots.

Marco Rubio
Part of the reason is that, as Byron York of the Washington Examiner put it, “...Any reasonable reading of Rubio's positions [on amnesty for illegal aliens] then and now leads to the conclusion that he has executed a flip-flop of Romneyesque proportions. Rubio's flip-flop is even worse politically. While Romney switched to a position that was popular with the Republican base, Rubio has done just the opposite.”

In the pantheon of political sins detested by grassroots conservative activists, flip-flopping is near the top of the list, but changing one’s position and refusing to admit to the flip-flop ranks even higher.

And Rubio is upping even Mitt Romney in that regard.

Back when Rubio was an obscure underdog Senate candidate running against an incumbent Governor for the Republican nomination for the seat he now holds he said, “We’ve got to secure the borders in our existing system first before we can even begin to have a conversation about the other elements of immigration.” He then added in a debate that an “earned path to citizenship is basically code for amnesty.”

As Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith noted in a recent blog post, during an appearance on “Meet the Press” back in April, Rubio explained that in 2010 he opposed a "blanket amnesty." Today's Gang of Eight bill, he continued, "is not blanket amnesty." In response to an inquiry from Smith, Rubio's Senate spokesman added that "Sen. Rubio opposed the 2007 immigration reform -- and his position has not changed."

This is why conservatives were both outraged and derisive when Mitt Romney said, "I've been as consistent as human beings can be," with regard to his habit of changing his stand on issues as the exigencies of his political campaigns dictated.

Of course, as John Stanton of BuzzFeed Politics observed, Rubio and his supporters may be banking on conservatives having a short-memory – something the movement has repeatedly demonstrated it does not, in fact, have.

Case in point cited by Stanton (as we noted above) conservative distrust with Mitt Romney’s past dogged him throughout last year’s campaign. Stanton also reminds that Senator John McCain’s work in favor of the Bush amnesty bill crippled his support amongst many base voters in 2008.

Erick Erickson, whose RedState.com organized “money bombs” to help Rubio in his campaign for the Senate, seconded this view in an article for National Review Online by Jonathan Strong. “I think he has completely reversed himself on the position,” Erickson said. “It’s somewhat bothersome that he refuses to admit a reversal or even an evolution. Somehow trying to reconcile his former opposition to now, it cheapens his image, and I don’t know that he understands that.”

And therein is the problem for Marco Rubio if he chooses to pursue his much-rumored national political ambitions.

Conservatives might be willing to accept a change in position based the fact that Senator Rubio had new information, had made a new interpretation of principle or even an open statement of simply being in error previously – what they won’t accept and won’t respect is a 2016 version of, "I've been as consistent as human beings can be."

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Rubio

I wanted to believe in him too, but I saw the first signs, and red flags went up. Believe it or not, there is a conservative segment of the founding Hispanic community in Florida, and most of them are Cuban. I think that they are disappointed as well. A lot of people feel sold out right now. Join the club. By club I meant the "I won't get fooled again club".

I cannot for the life of me

I cannot for the life of me comprehend how anyone who holds office in the U.S. federal government can even contemplate changing our current immigration laws in order to give amnesty to illegal aliens. 11 million illegal aliens residing in the U.S. is not a sign that our immigration laws are broken. It is a sign that they are not being enforced!

In addition, the citizens of this great country have zero trust that any new immigration laws will be enforced any more than the current immigration laws are enforced. So what makes them think new immigration laws will be an improvement over the existing immigration laws?

Changing our current immigration laws in order to allow 11 million illegal aliens to stay in the U.S. and be put on a path to citizenship cannot be defended legally, morally, or otherwise. Respect for the rule of law should be first and foremost for anyone holding public office!

It is blatantly obvious that one of the real reasons behind the push for immigration reform is our political leaders do not want to enforce the current immigration laws. This conveys to me that our political leaders do not have respect for the rule of law!

The fact that the majority of U.S. citizens do not want any form of amnesty for illegal aliens cannot be disputed. So I ask, what happened to one of the foundations of our form of government where political leaders are supposed to represent the people? Why do our political leaders instead think it is somehow more important to acquiesce to special interest groups like big business, illegal aliens, and even other countries than to the people of the United States?

Do they not see that by not representing the people our political leaders are undermining our very form of government?

The U.S. federal government passing any form of amnesty will lead to a widespread effect of zero respect for the rule of law as well as towards those who hold office in U.S. federal government exactly because our political leaders did not respect the rule of law nor the people.