Marco Rubio's One Appalling, Unforgiveable Mistake

Francis Wilkinson writes editorials on politics and U.S. domestic policy for Bloomberg View. He was executive editor of the Week. He was previously a national affairs writer for Rolling Stone, a communications consultant and a political media strategist.
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Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida displayed courage (and ambition, but that's hardly rare) working to write and pass comprehensive immigration legislation in the Senate.

Having had the guts to take a risk, naturally, he must suffer for it.

Here is Politico, the political stock exchange, reporting on Rubio's share price, the trajectory of which can be gleaned from the public retreat of Rubio and his adviser Todd Harris.

"The very issue Rubio (and Harris) thought would be a game-changing, legacy-builder looks like a big liability for the Florida senator, at least right now. In the process, the self-confident presidential hopeful suddenly looks wobbly, even a little weak, as he searches for what's next.

Rubio spent six months working over Senate Republicans only to get stiffed by 70 percent of them. He has gone underground on the issue ever since, ducking reporters on Capitol Hill."

The lesson, of course, is that there are far greater rewards in moving with the herd than in trying to change its direction, even if its direction leads over a cliff. While Rubio was working to accomplish something difficult -- to improve the status quo -- most of his likely rivals for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination offered no constructive proposals. And if immigration reform dies, the do-nothings will be the ones feted (and not only by Politico) for their political savvy.

Rubio is young and talented. Too bad he made the rookie mistake of trying.

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