"Menendez told me that Rubio's role was to 'work over the conservative universe, particularly the conservative opinion-maker universe,' in order to 'neutralize them' and, in some cases, 'proselytize them,'" the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza reported recently, referring to Democratic Gang member Robert Menendez. The leader of the Gang, Democrat Charles Schumer, "was delighted to have a Tea Party conservative who could sell an immigration bill to the right," Lizza wrote.
The plan worked brilliantly. Conservative talk radio hosts who might have instinctively opposed immigration reform as conceived by Schumer gave Rubio a respectful hearing and a lot of room. When Rubio told them the bill would secure the border first, they believed him.
Later, when it became unavoidably clear that, in fact, the bill would first legalize millions of currently illegal immigrants, and only after that start the work of securing the border, some conservatives began to express skepticism, disappointment and opposition. But Rubio's neutralization campaign had bought the Gang precious months to write the bill and gather momentum before conservatives began to realize what was actually in it.Marco Rubio let himself be used not only a stalking horse but a Trojan horse. If Rubio was so easily manipulated by Senate Democrats, is there any question that Rubio would be putty in the hands of real opponents like the Russians or Chinese?
And then there are the conservative thinkers who trusted him. What is this spate of supposedly sensible conservatives becoming groupies over Rubio like Ann Coulter with Chris Christie and Mitt Romney?