Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has a problem, especially if he wants to run for president in 2016. That immigration bill that has his face all over it? Some of his friends on the right—the ones whose support propelled him into the U.S. Senate—are pretty peeved about it.
So, in an apparent move to make amends, he’s joined the latest battle in the “war on women” by agreeing, according to the Weekly Standard, to sponsor legislation that, like the House bill before it, would ban abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization. According to the Standard’s Fred Barnes, Rubio is expected to announce his sponsorship of the bill when Congress returns after the Independence Day recess.
Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants and a rising star in the GOP, won his Senate seat with the support of religious-right and Tea Party activists who sought to derail the candidacy of former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican who earned the ill will of the right for appearing on the same stage as President Barack Obama in 2009 to tout the financial stimulus dollars the president’s plan would send to the Sunshine State. That Crist literally hugged the president was a matter of great disgust to critical Tea Party commentators, who helped launch Rubio’s primary challenge to Crist’s Senate bid. (Crist actually wound up running as an independent when it became clear he couldn’t win the primary.)
As part of the so-called Gang of Eight—the group of senators who crafted the immigration reform bill that passed the Senate last week—Rubio is now getting a taste of what Crist faced four years ago, the very mention of his name eliciting boos at a recent Tea Party gathering on Capitol Hill last month.
Then there was this tweet from Sarah Palin after the immigration bill passed the Senate:
“Obama Calls Rubio to Congratulate Him on Immigration Reform” http://t.co/K8FUXBsFhG …Hope it was worth 30 pieces of silver.
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) June 28, 2013
Put another way, per Palin’s biblical worldview, Rubio = Judas.
In truth, both the Republican Party and its right flank are split on the matter of immigration reform. On day one of the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference, abortion was mentioned only obliquely by a roster of senators who graced the luncheon platform, but Rubio was warmly received after making the case for immigration reform. Coalition Executive Director Ralph Reed is a savvy political strategist who knows that the GOP needs to broaden its base to include Latinos and Asians if it is to win national elections.
But others, including such right-wing poobahs as Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint and Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell, who helped catapult Rubio into the Senate, are strongly opposed to any immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship, which they refer to as “amnesty.” And during his Senate campaign, the National Review’s Jonathan Strong reminds us, Rubio called it that too. Strong writes that during a debate, Rubio said that an “earned path to citizenship is basically code for amnesty.”
Strong notes that Rubio failed, on immigration, to take the counsel of his housemates at the infamous C Street house owned by The Family (also known as The Fellowship), the secretive right-wing religious organization exposed by journalist Jeff Sharlet as a power-courting group that has supported dictators around the world. But Rubio clearly took a cue from one of them, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who earlier this year introduced his own version of the 20-week ban.
If there’s one point at which all factions of the right converge, it’s that women need to be knocked back into their place. Lately, 20-week abortion bans, based on model legislation crafted by the National Right to Life Committee, are all the rage, propelled in part by a January Gallup survey that shows public support for barring abortion in the second trimester, which, according to Gallup, 64 percent of those polled support.
Such support, though, is based on broadly drawn questions, and when when researchers ask specifically about a 20-week ban, other surveys, such as a recent National Journal poll, find support wanes. The National Journal poll found 48 percent support for such bans—already in effect in 12 states, and currently under consideration, with fierce debate, in Texas. But among Republicans, support for 20-week bans is much higher: 59 percent. And before he can ascend the stage of the 2016 Republican National Convention as its nominee, Rubio will have to win a Republican primary.
So, women, get under that bus!
h/t Mollie Reilly, Huffington Post