Federal legislation has become a political crap shoot. Thousand page statutes metastasize into thousands of pages of rules and regulations written to “clarify” the latest impenetrable law. Nancy Pelosi’s seemingly harebrained comment, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” is really the guiding principle in today’s D.C. legislative process. It’s like a game of chance where you have to “buy a card” to see what kind of hand the feds are holding.
So what are voters to believe when another multi-foot high bill is being wheelbarrowed to and from secretive meetings in the Senate? One side, led mostly by Senators Marco Rubio and Chuck Schumer says the border security will be the best it’s ever been. The other side led by Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul claims it’s a sham. Who’s right?
The whole process has only gotten this far because Marco Rubio, birthed from the Tea Party Movement, has given powerful assurances that our southern border will be made secure. His conservative credentials, especially early on, carried a lot of weight. But now, some of those devils always found in the details, are raising their pointy little pitchforks. Skepticism is growing and Rubio’s credibility is being challenged, even from the “right”.
It all seems so confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. The answer to one simple question can go a long way in analyzing whether Marco or his critics are correct. When it comes to this issue are a majority of Americans willing to bet Senator Rubio can do something President Reagan couldn’t? Because when all the spin disappears, that is at the heart of the latest political back and forth.
The two men appear to have lots in common. The Gipper was, and Marco is, personable, bright, articulate, telegenic, and charismatic. Both men raised themselves from lower middle class backgrounds through hard work and an unwavering, optimistic belief in American exceptionalism. They lived the dream and came to believe others can do the same. But, there are also differences between these two men.
After a decade in the Florida House of Representatives, including 2 years as speaker, Mr. Rubio gained national attention when sworn into the U.S. Senate in January 2011. At 39, he was among the youngest of his colleagues. Ronald Reagan spent 8 years as the Governor of California, before being elected President of the United States. Upon his 1/20/81 inauguration, he was days away from his 70th birthday and the oldest man ever voted into the Oval Office.
These are significant distinctions. Reagan, while in the middle of the Cold War, had already lived through The Great Depression, WWII, and Korean War. A steely resolve forged by the fire of those life experiences made him a very tough negotiator. He was probably the guy you wouldn’t want sitting in on your poker game. Rubio has no such resume’….yet. He’s a terrific campaigner and compelling speaker, but hasn’t come anywhere close to amassing the kind of history and therefore wisdom of Ronald Reagan.
Marco is eager, anxious, and very, maybe too confident, in his ability to persuade. Reagan was eager to promote his ideas, but not anxious. Self-assurance in his considerable persuasive gifts, was seasoned by years of difficult political fights that had made him properly wary of opponents.
In addition to what’s been written here, it’s critical to remember the political landscape in 1986. Republicans controlled the Senate, and Ronald Reagan entered the battle over immigration reform/border security as one of the most popular and successful American presidents of the 20th Century. At this juncture in his career, Marco Rubio has served two plus years as the Junior Senator from Florida. The GOP has the the House, and Democrats hold both the Senate and White House.
Which returns us to our question. Does Mr. Rubio have special gifts and powers today that Mr. Reagan didn’t have 27 years ago? Is he likely a better match at negotiating against the likes of a devious and highly partisan Chuck Schumer, than Reagan would have been? Is a President Obama more likely to support stricter border control and enforcement measures than a President Reagan?
Sadly this latest legislative immigration gamble seems more and more like a Three-card Monte con game. For those unfamiliar with the scam, a dealer and shill sucker some “mark” into thinking he can wager and win money by following (usually) the Queen of Hearts as she’s being moved, face down with two other cards, around a table. The ringer makes winning look easy. The overly confident victim jumps right in, with no success, because the game is rigged. Right now, it looks like Marco’s anxious to try his luck with Chuck Schumer shilling and Barack Obama dealing.
Regarding his adversaries Ronald Reagan famously said “Trust but verify.” Marco Rubio, on the other hand, seems content to tell his opponents to “Deal!”, assuming they’ll keep cards coming from the top of the deck.
OK now. Whose ready to bet Senator Marco Rubio can do something on securing our southern boundaries that President Ronald Reagan was unable to do?