Marco Rubio is navigating a treacherous path by becoming the GOP’s point man on immigration matters. His being Hispanic may seem to his Anglo brethren as a big plus, but in his specific case it could be a hindrance.
“Pies secos, pies mojados,” is how “wet foot, dry foot” is rendered by Spanish speakers (including legal and illegal immigrants from Mexico), and it means that being the son of Cuban immigrants, Marco Rubio doesn’t have any idea what it is to be part of a family of unwanted new arrivals, any more than if he were the son of an Iowa farmer. Other Latinos might regard him with a certain amount of escepticismo unless he can convince them that he is the fresh, humane, sincere face of the New and Improved Republican Party. Good luck with that.
Speaking of Iowa, that and many other factors are the moving parts upon which our dewy-faced senator must keep his eye in the coming months. The road to 2016 is strewn with mines. It isn’t as though he’s preening in a vacuum, either. Bobby Jindal has a similarly compelling narrative without that pesky little problem about his parents having arrived in Miami before Fidel even took power (making them economic opportunists rather than refugees). We will see if young Marco has the skills to finesse this and other speed bumps.
So far, at least, Sen. Rubio has passed the Rush Limbaugh test. He called in to the Bombastic Bloviator’s show the other day and was not filleted the way someone else preaching moderation on a topic as sensitive as immigration might have been. If he can count on Rush to pull his punches at the right moment during the primaries, the dittoheads won’t know not to vote for him.
In today’s Republican Party, that’s tantamount to an endorsement.