Aside from making a couple of speeches blaming President Obama for all the ills of the world and a few imaginary ones, as all Republicans do these days, Marco Rubio has been all but invisible since he was elected to the Senate. Now we may have a clue as to why. Along with looking for ways to drum up campaign cash and starting a PAC, no doubt he's been busy memorizing the script for another big speech he's set to make tonight at the Reagan Library in California:
Just days after Marco Rubio’s election as Florida’s newest Republican U.S. senator, former First Lady Nancy Reagan wrote to him, asking him to speak at her husband’s presidential library.
“You’ve been identified as someone to watch on the national political scene. I’m looking forward to watching you in your new role,” she said, in an invitation that no admirer of her late husband, former President Ronald Reagan, could decline. “Americans are curious to get to know you. I believe the Reagan Library would be a great venue for you to deliver an address.”
“Ronald Reagan was elected when I was in third grade and Ronald Reagan left office when I was in high school,” Rubio said last week. “So he basically defined the era in which I grew up in, in every way possible. And to this day, so much of what Reagan stood for is still what we’re still debating about.”
While Rubio was busy searching Wikipedia for those dates, perhaps he should have spent a little time reading up on Reagan's actual record. Like so many other GOP-Tea Party members before him, he praises Reagan while ignoring the reality that if Reagan were alive today he would be run out of the party as way too liberal. But Rubio has never been one to let the facts get in the way of a good sound bite. The tired and true method of inserting the name "Ronald Reagan" into a speech as many times as possible fits the Rubio cut and paste phraseology mold like a glove. Maybe he'll get lucky with that speech tonight and nobody will notice?
Not so much, at least when it comes to Rubio's record on immigration and Reagan's, which he either ignores or is just plain ignorant of.
An immigration advocacy group is jumping on Sen. Marco Rubio's speech this evening at the Ronald Reagan Library in California, saying the Florida lawmaker does not not embody the former president on the issue.
"It’s sad, but true. When it comes to immigration, Senator Marco Rubio has more in common with Rep. Lamar Smith and Senator Jeff Sessions than he does with President Reagan," said Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America’s Voice.
The group criticized Rubio's opposition to the DREAM Act, support for E-Verify and the GOP's "border-first" mantra. "Latino voters can see through Rubio’s shine, and it’s time he looked in the mirror as well,” said Tramonte.
Reagan's moderate record on immigration is often overlooked by conservatives. In 1986, he signed an immigration reform bill, the first in 20 years, that legalized the status for 1.7-million people. Many consider that "amnesty."
Maybe sometime between third grade and high school Rubio should have come across some actual facts about Reagan and history in the making. If not, surely sometime between then and now he could have cracked a book? Or Google?
Oh who am I kidding? Who needs facts when you've got Citizens United and Frank Luntz?