Mitt Romney must like to be called a “flip-flopper” (or even a “liar”). Why else would he constantly change his opinions, take credit for things he opposed and repeat debunked lies? Perhaps these insults help Mitt cloak the fact that could really hurt him. On every issue that matters, Romney is the most extreme major-party candidate for president since Barry Goldwater.
He wants tax cuts for the rich much larger than George W. Bush’s, a new cold war with Russia, and huge cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and anything that doesn’t specifically help rich people. But there is another issue on which he has staked out a position far to the right of his party’s last two presidential candidates: immigration.
Desperately bashing Rick Perry during the primaries, Mitt demanded “self-deportation” for undocumented workers, even grandmas who have lived in this country for decades. He chastised Perry for endorsing the Texas version of the DREAM Act, vowing to veto the Democratic bill that would give young people who came to this country before the age of sixteen a path to citizenship, if they complete military service or a four-year degree.
On Friday, the President announced that he would stop all deportations of young people who would be eligible for the DREAM Act, a great victory for the Latino community and a serious challenge to Romney, who already trails the President among Latino voters by 67-31 per cent.
Mitt’s vague and meandering response basically boiled down to: I agree with Marco Rubio, whatever it was Marco Rubio said or will say.
Naturally, Romney has been trying to move toward the center on immigration for months, but he has no history of supporting immigration reform (as John McCain and George W. Bush did). His substitute for substance is to embrace Marco Rubio.
In case you haven’t noticed, Marco Rubio, Republican Senator from Florida, is an actual Latino. He’s one of the few—if not the only—nationally known Latinos in the GOP. He’s a Cuban American whose family immigrated to this country during the 1950s. He’s telegenic, popular in swing-state Florida, and uncomfortable with the anti-immigrant prejudice typified by Arizona’s GOP, many Republican officials, and…Mitt Romney.
Rubio is the great hope of a party that could disappear from the national stage in coming decades if it continues to lose the Latino vote so lopsidedly. He’s a frontrunner to be chosen as Romney’s running mate.
As he strives to make the GOP appear less xenophobic and racist, Rubio has concocted his own version of the DREAM Act — which would have no path to citizenship. To Latinos his DREAM Act appears to be more of a nightmare. It is evidently even less popular with Latinos than Mitt Romney himself.
The most entertaining aspect of this charade is that Rubio’s DREAM Act hasn’t even been filed yet. The chances of persuading a significant number of House Republicans to vote for anything that helps the children of undocumented workers in an election year seemed slim to none, until now. But the President has put Romney between somewhere between a rock a very hard place, so we can now expect a Congressional vote — and an embarrassing brawl on the Republican side.
Marco Rubio is Mitt’s only hope when it comes to immigration, an issue where the Republican candidate’s blatant pandering to extremism could cost him the presidency . So whatever Marco’s for, Mitt’s for — for now.