Boehner to Rubio’s Hopes of Passing GOP Dream Act: In Your Dreams

Marco Rubio, up and coming GOPER, Florida Senator and supposed Vice Presidential option for presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, has gotten a lot of press and political pundit buzz from his efforts to drum up support for a Republican version of the Dream Act. While some have argued this is nothing more than an election year ploy by the GOP for damage control on its dismal numbers among Latino voters, Rubio seems serious — and the prospects for it passing this year seem increasingly grim.

The latest twist comes from comments by House Speaker John Boehner –who is shaping up as a political figure that will help Democrats win over independent voters, Latinos and women voters. He in effect has said to Rubio “in your dreams” about any hopes of any kind of a version of the Dream Act this year.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) poured cold water Thursday on efforts by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to advance immigration reform by suggesting that such a plan would not be able to pass the GOP-led House this year.

Asked by a reporter whether he thought the House could pass an immigration measure this year that focused on more than just border security, Boehner said: “There’s always hope.”

The speaker said he has spoken to Rubio about his plan. “I found it of interest, but the problem with this issue is that we’re operating in a very hostile political environment. To deal with a very difficult issue like this, I think it would be difficult at best.”

Rubio is pushing what his office describes as an “alternative” to the Democratic-backed Dream Act that would create a path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants. The senator’s bill would legalize certain young people who came to the United States while they were children by granting non-immigrant visas so they could remain in the U.S. for college or to serve in the military.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Rubio is actively courting immigrant advocates who usually side with the White House on the issue, but have grown frustrated with President Obama’s policies. Some of the activists say they are open to Rubio’s effort, even if it falls short of the original Dream Act.

This context is important since the Latino vote could help determine the winner in the Presidential election. In a piece on how the GOP is almost intentionally hurting itself with groups it will need to win, Salon notes:

It’s almost as if the GOP can’t help itself.

Start with Hispanic voters, whose electoral heft keeps growing as they comprise an ever-larger portion of the electorate. Hispanics now favor President Obama over Romney by more than two to one, according to a recent Pew poll.

The movement of Hispanics into the Democratic camp has been going on for decades. What are Republicans doing to woo them back? Replicating California Republican Governor Pete Wilson’s disastrous support almost twenty years ago for Proposition 187 – which would have screened out undocumented immigrants from public schools, health care, and other social services, and required law-enforcement officials to report any “suspected” illegals. (Wilson, you may remember, lost that year’s election, and California’s Republican Party has never recovered.)

The Arizona law now before the Supreme Court – sponsored by Republicans in the state and copied by Republican legislators and governors in several others – would authorize police to stop anyone looking Hispanic and demand proof of citizenship. It’s nativism disguised as law enforcement.

Romney is trying to distance himself from that law, but it’s not working. That may be because he dubbed it a “model law” during February’s Republican primary debate in Arizona, and because its author (former state senator Russell Pearce, who was ousted in a special election last November largely by angry Hispanic voters) says he’s working closely with Romney advisers.

Hispanics are also reacting to Romney’s attack just a few months ago on GOP rival Texas Governor Rick Perry for supporting in-state tuition at the University of Texas for children of undocumented immigrants. And to Romney’s advocacy of what he calls “self-deportation” – making life so difficult for undocumented immigrants and their families that they choose to leave.

As if all this weren’t enough, the GOP has been pushing voter ID laws all over America, whose obvious aim is to intimidate Hispanic voters so they won’t come to the polls. But they may have the opposite effect – emboldening the vast majority of ethnic Hispanics, who are American citizens, to vote in even greater numbers and lend even more support to Obama and other Democrats.

Many analysts believe Rubio has been auditioning for the Romney Veep spot this week. But some polls have suggested putting Rubio on the ticket wouldn’t help the GOP and CNN contributor Ruben Navarrette Jr. flatly says the Florida Senator can’t help the GOP for a variety of reasons. There is also a strong argument for putting Rubio on the ticket.

Rubio’s apparent brick wall on the Dream Act (the GOP’s most conservative and Tea Party members) underscores the continuing divide in the GOP between the Bush family wing and the party’s more conservative base. Rubio — who Jeb Bush has made it clear he would love to see run for Vice President — is on the same wavelength as the Bushes on immigration. Boehner, once again, is coming across as a seemingly gutless leader who comes across as someone who follows the leadership of his members and talk show hosts rather than trying to persuade and shape the GOP legislative response. He often seems to be more of a party base servant and messenger than House Majority Leader who can direct legislation — or change minds.

It could be argued that if a Rubio Dream Act doesn’t materialize most voters won’t notice. But it will add one more strand to the seemingly heaping plate of political spaghetti strands that Latino voters now see piled high — strands that seldom tilt in Latino’s favor. And on election day they might just say “meatballs” to the GOP.

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  • zephyr

    “Rubio’s apparent brick wall on the Dream Act (the GOP’s most conservative and Tea Party members) underscores the continuing divide in the GOP between the Bush family wing and the party’s more conservative base.”

    Indeed it does. I suspect the divide within the the GOP is going to make it very difficult for them to choose a VP. They want someone who will appeal to their ultra-conservative base, but the disaster of Sarah Palin is still fresh in their minds. Any red meat pick is going to get an incredible amount of scrutiny from democrats and the media. And a moderate candidate? Well… they already have a quasi-moderate in the form of Romney, so they don’t need two. What to do, what to do…

  • RP

    I offer that the Tea Party would never exist had the federal government fulfilled its obligation to America.
    1. Enforcement of the current immigration laws. Had it not been so easy for illegals to get to this country, get a job and stay here using entitlement programs designed for the poor citizens of this country, some people may not be demanding state laws like Arizona’s. Their law is not the problem, it is the symptom of the federal governments illness.
    2. Excessive deficits. Had the federal government not cut taxes, increased spending and increased the debt of this country to 15 trillion (give or take a few) and project 20 trillion by 2016, some people would not be demanding a balanced budget amendment.
    3. Wasteful spending. Had the federal government developed a zero based budget, demanded accountability for each dollar spent and required yearly reviews of every government program to eliminate waste and duplication of services, some people may not be demading sever cuts in entitlement programs today. Just getting the senate to pass a budget after 3 years might be a good start.

    Both parties are to blame and when someone like Rubio proposes programs that are intelligent compromises and fixes the problem, one can only expect it to flame out because politics on both sides will get in the way.

  • bluebelle

    Its not the fact that the TP wants to cut the deficit, wasteful spending and the debt that is troublesome. It is the WAY they are going about it– ruthlessly attempting to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, elderly and middle class that is problematic. There is no attempt to spread out the pain just massive spending cuts to those who can least afford them, while the rich and corporate interests get generous tax cuts.

    The TP is not a grass roots organization– it is corporate backed and run by the Koch brothers who do not have the country’s best interests at heart. Corporations have a profit motive and are amoral–so they don’t care about the devastation their agenda will cause.

  • slamfu

    Agreed with Blue on this. Every American wants a balanced budget and a strong nation. We just have vastly different ideas on how to go about it. I don’t know exactly how it got started, but in the 90′s the GOP started to go off the rails with their ideas. Before that, it seems the GOP understood you had to have taxes to pay for stuff. In the 60′s and 70′s, hell since WWII, taxes were sky high compared to today. The economy did well, and the GOP never really made such a huge deal about taxes. It was understood that we need to pay for being the top nation in the world, its not cheap. And that govt was needed.

    But somewhere they came up with a few talking points like taxes destroy the economy, the govt wants to vanish the 2nd ammendment, we need to return to some imaginary 1950′s style morality, and immigrants are the cause of nothing but problems even though a huge chunk of this nation are immigrants or descended from those who got here in the last 100 years or so. That our military NEEDS to be $600Bn a year in size even though $300Bn gives us the budget of the next 5 nations combined, that education is a “Liberal” thing and is something we should frown upon, that its not good enough that christians are free to practice their thing, but everyone else should adhere to it as well and anything short of that is persecution of christian beliefs.

    What the dems today are largely trying to do is return us to a system that worked really well for a really long time. After the Great Depression a lot of things changed and for the better. A lot of rules were put in place regarding our food supply, our money supply, how money is distributed. It worked. Things got really good. And today’s GOP wants to basically flush all of that in lieu of a poorly thought out narrative that as if the way we were doing things weren’t there for a reason. We’ve already lived in the nation they want to make. We were much weaker and not a real world power when we did. They wish to return us to that state.

  • zephyr

    Re: the tax system as it existed in the 50′s and 60′s.. sure we could learn from that. The middle class was even strong enough to survive on single household incomes! Alas, for too many folks history didn’t begin until 2008, which effectively eliminates any chance of learning from it. Sorry bout that kids.

  • The_Ohioan

    Though Rubio’s version of the Dream Act isn’t clear yet, it seems there is no citizenship involved in its reform; just legalized visitors. Maybe we will get to see just what he proposes – if he ever gets a chance to actually propose it.