Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) played a prominent role in shaping the Senate's bipartisan immigration-reform bill, and after hedging more than once, the Floridian ended up voting for the popular legislation. His follow-through, however, has been a little spotty.
In October, for example, Rubio predicted congressional Republicans would kill immigration reform because President Obama hurt GOP lawmakers' feelings when they shut down the government. Three months later, it's still not clear how or why that was supposed to make sense.
This week, Rubio presented a new reason why Republicans may decide to kill the reform effort.
Sen. Marco Rubio, a major player on immigration policy, said Wednesday that there was no chance now of passing a broad overhaul because Republicans have lost trust in President Barack Obama. [...] Rubio said the Obama administration has lost credibility as a result of how it handled the 2012 attack against a U.S. outpost in Libya and accusations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups.
The senator specifically said he's talked to Republican lawmakers who "pointed to the IRS scandal and the Benghazi stuff" as reasons to oppose immigration reform. As the argument goes, these controversies provide "evidence" that "undermines" GOP confidence.
There are two main problems with this.
The first is that the argument itself is predicated on a bogus premise: that President Obama routinely ignores laws he doesn't like, so Republicans are disinclined to pass anything at all.
The argument first made the rounds last July, when it was thoroughly discredited.
The second angle has to do with the "scandals" Republicans claim to be outraged by. There is, of course, no IRS scandal and the allegations raised by conservatives have been proven to be wrong. Likewise, "the Benghazi stuff" refers to conspiracy theories unsupported by reality.
Indeed, I'm especially interested in the timeline. The deadly attack on the Benghazi outpost was in September 2012. A few months later, despite the far-right conspiracy theories, congressional Republicans began working with Democrats on immigration reform. Eventually, they reached a compromise agreement, and last summer, it passed the Senate. This week, House Republicans sketched out some reform ideas of their own.
Rubio, however, believes the effort will fail because of conspiracy theories from a year and a half ago? Because of an attack that occurred before he started working with Democrats on a reform package?