So, would Charlie Crist have been better than @MarcoRubio ?

Posted by: Phineas on July 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

You know it’s bad when conservative commentators like Allahpundit find themselves asking that question:

Even now, even after everything, I strongly prefer his flip-flopping to the grotesque omnibus opportunism of Charlie Crist. But it’s worth asking: How different would the Senate have looked since 2010 with Crist in there instead of Rubio? What would have changed in terms of actual policy? If anything, without Rubio to woo conservatives, the Senate immigration effort would have been in deeper trouble than it is now. The fact that we have to pause and even consider this sort of “what if Crist won?” hypothetical makes me think maybe we should hold off on the Rubio tributes. For now.

The question arises because of the very flip-flopping that Allah mentions. Rubio’s transformation from an anti-amnesty, fix the gosh-darned border hawk into an immigration squish has been nothing less that stunning. It’s like the person you thought was your sweet grandmother ripping off her rubber mask and revealing herself as your lifelong arch-nemesis. And then laughing maniacally as you’re lead away to the dungeons.

To give you an idea of how much he’s changed, here’s an excerpt from a 2009 article wherein Rubio criticizes Reagan for the 1986 amnesty (h/t Patterico):

Rubio delivered a six-minute discourse on immigration policy in which he brought up The Gipper’s support for the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which granted amnesty to most undocumented workers who could prove they had been in the country continuously for the previous five years. 

“In 1986 Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to 3 million people,” Rubio said. “You know what happened, in addition to becoming 11 million a decade later? There were people trying to enter the country legally, who had done the paperwork, who were here legally, who were going through the process, who claimed, all of a sudden, ‘No, no no no , I’m illegal.’ Because it was easier to do the amnesty program than it was to do the legal process.”

“If you grant amnesty, the message that you’re sending is that if you come in this country and stay here long enough, we will let you stay. And no one will ever come through the legal process if you do that.”

Rubio said the U.S. must first get control of its borders and its visa system, which often allows people to enter legally but remain after their visas expire.

And to drive the point home, watch as he makes the argument even more strongly:

(h/t Legal Insurrection, where you’ll find a transcript)

I think you can understand why, now, his role in the Gang of 8 has left me feeling I should be scraping a pie off my face. The man who went on program after program on radio and TV trying to sell a lemon of an immigration bill to conservatives is not the same guy in that quote and in that video. They look alike, they sound alike,  but the new guy is clearly the evil twin from another universe. He just needs the van Dyke.

Or, rather than being an evil dimension-hopping doppelganger, candidate Rubio was lying massively back then, always really favored some sort of amnesty, and is now cynically fronting the Gang of Eight in order to present himself as a “leader” for 2016.

I think we can guess which is really true.

There’s no hiding it: my disappointment in Marco Rubio is deep, painful, and abiding. From the moment I saw the video of his farewell speech as Florida House Speaker, I thought this guy has “it.” The right political principles combined with ample charisma and a marvelous talent for communication. A sure future president, one I was certain would be great.

Sure, Lucy. I’ll kick that football.

Conn Carroll, a border hawk, writes that, in spite of it all, he still loves Rubio because he acted as a gentleman throughout, treated his opponents with respect, and never intended to deceive. I find that last part especially hard to square with the quote and video above, for Rubio is not a dummy. He has to know the border security provisions in this bill are garbage. Given that, how is the repetition of slickly delivered, deceptive talking points on Hannity and Limbaugh and O’Reilly treating your opponents with respect?

No, my love affair with Marco Rubio is over. If he wants to get back in my good graces, he’ll have to do a penance that makes Henry IV’s walk to Canossa look like a stroll in the park.

And his chances for the 2016 nomination, too, should be over, if he runs. This wasn’t some minor flip-flop that can be passed over; border security, immigration, and the rule of law are core issues. If he wins the nomination, I’ll vote for him, as he’d still be better than Hillary or whatever progressive the Democrats put up, but, in the primaries, I’m looking elsewhere.

To answer Allahpundit’s question, right now I’d have to say “Yeah, ‘Spray-Tan Charlie’ might well have been better.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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12 Responses to “So, would Charlie Crist have been better than @MarcoRubio ?”


  1. arcman46 says:

    As far as I’m concerned, as soon as he teamed up with Chuck Schumer, he was done as a possible presidential candidate.

  2. Great White Rat says:

    right now I’d have to say “Yeah, ‘Spray-Tan Charlie’ might well have been better.”

    Not so sure about that. You’re basing this entirely on the current amnesty bill. Who’s to say Crist wouldn’t have been in the Evil Eight instead of Rubio?

    Besides, there are many other issues the Senate has had to tackle where Rubio didn’t betray us, and Crist might have RINO’d on us. We will never know how many, but his recent conversion to the Dems should give us a good hint.

    Other than that, I’m with you. I said here, back in 2010, that I saw Rubio as President some day. No more. Every funds solicitation I get with his name on it goes directly to the trash can.

    And as for Allahpundit’s assertion that Rubio’s support for the bill wooed conservatives, I’d disagree. I don’t think it had any effect on conservative support for the bill. Unlike liberals, we’re concerned with the ideas, not the person voicing them. When we heard Rubio’s flip-flop, we didn’t do a face-palm, and say, “why, yes, we’ve been wrong all along and more illegal immigration is great because Rubio says so!” Nope. We reacted like you and I both did.

  3. Great White Rat says:

    And ditto to what arcman46 said. If Rubio trusts a thoroughly loathsome snake like Schumer, he’s either gullible, or stupid, or both. In any of those cases, I don’t want him in the White House.

  4. ALman says:

    Rubio and Christie have been disappointing, lately. Cain? Done. Huntsman? Done. Gingrich? Done. Bachmann? Done. Paul? Not likely.
    Ryan? Not likely. Romney? Done.

    Hey! What’s that song I hear? “I’m still standing!” Who’s singing it?
    Oh, Sarah . . .

  5. Libertarian Advocate says:

    Rubio is TOAST. Schumer is looking for the butter ;)

  6. Mwalimu Daudi says:

    A choice between Rubio and Crist? Hard to say who is better, although the difference continues to narrow. I am beginning to dread what other surprises may be in store for us.

    But those who are counting Rubio out in 2016 might want to remember John McCain, and how he ended up with the nomination in 2008. Or Mitt Romneycare in 2012. The lefty GOP Establishment has strengthened in recent years despite running the party into the ground.

    If the GOP Establishment lines up behind Rubio, it will be hard to keep the nomination from him (although they are guaranteeing another electoral disaster). Then conservatives will be faced with an increasingly familiar choice: support the Establishment candidate knowing he will lose, throw support behind an independent or third-party candidate certain to be hotly opposed by both the Democrats and the GOP, or take a powder.

  7. Rubio consorting with Schumer did as much damage to his presumed conservative credentials as did The Crisco Kid’s rubbing elbows with Obhammud. What is the new word for evading and vacillating, “evolving”?

    Off the top of your head, name the nine GOP members who took part in the circular firing squad they called a selection process in 2012. Hint: there was one black, one woman, two Texans, and five others.

  8. Dave says:

    Rubio is done. You don’t suppose Schumer and the rest would have sucked him into this deal deliberately, do you? You don’t suppose they’d realize this was an opportunity to ruin him for 2016, no matter how the amnesty bill turned out? Nah, they’d never think of that…

  9. The nine GOP candidates were Cain, Bachmann, Paul, and Perry (those hinted at); also Romney, Gingrich, Pawlenty, Santorum, and Johnson.

  10. Lorica says:

    Crist would be just as big of a train wreck. He would have chummied up to these doofus idiots like McCain and Gramnesty and probably sucked up to Reed too. Rubio is just being used as a tool, and he thinks he is being noble. Your not Marco, you are being used. There are all sorts of “border security” bills that have become law and yet we still have an open boarder. It is idiotic to assume that this will change when Dems need this slave class to vote for them so badly. – Lorica

  11. Brontefan says:

    I agree with the article.. and would like to add something about all these media types who insist “something MUST be done.” WHY? People came here illegally, breaking our laws, staying to continue to break our laws… and now, we MUST do something about them? I would say that the 1986 ONE TIME ONLY law that provided amnesty to some 3 million plus illegals was the first mistake. Once you reward illegal behavior, you guarantee more of the same.

    Rubio may have begun as a Tea Party candidate, but he has lost that status by joining Schumer in this push. Listening to Bill O’Reilly and Brit Hume last night… insist that SOMETHING MUST be done… makes me furious. And when I see my close friend who was rear-ended by an illegal in a NEW pickup without insurance–as she continues to create a new life with her severe back problems–I get furious about what we are supposed to do for them. Also, no matter what is written in this immigration bill–our government will not keep their promises and enforce it the same way they enforce massive regulations against American taxpayers.

  12. Carlos says:

    I fail to understand the surprise with Rubio. The only “surprise” is that he flipped so soon. Happens to nearly everyone who gets the sweet siren song of D.C.

    Maybe Marco ran a private poll that showed he was going to lose if he ran next week, and he’s just finding a path to the enormous riches that seem to find most (if not all) former legislators? I don’t know.

    But I do know that there is something seriously wrong when our nation is 1) governed by career politicians, and 2) those politicians (generally, almost without exception) end up multiple times richer after their “service” (and before their high-income lobbying) has been completed.

    Actually, I’m glad Rubio’s true ideology has come out this early. Saves a lot of embarrassment from conservatives trying to explain away things like a trillion-dollar deficit from “conservatives” like GW. I doubt seriously if Marco would be too far behind.