This morning POLITICO published a story that pitted Texas Senator Ted Cruz in a potential fight over Immigration against Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ted Cruz, he’s got a lot of similarities with Rubio. Family ties to Cuba, Tea Party favorite, dynamic speaking ability, and a bright future.
These ties would make him the obvious favorite to oppose Rubio on his “Gang of 8″ legislation as the article says.
Not so fast.
Cruz has got the ambition. You see it when he speaks. A forceful delivery that means business and demands results.
But he’d better think twice before becoming the face of opposition for this immigration reform plan. I’ll explain why.
He just got there and doesn’t have the Rubio’s national name ID: Rubio has had two books released, been on the cover of Time, been vetted for Vice-President, and spoofed on the Simpsons and Saturday Night Live. He’s already feuding with Jay-Z and Pitbull (kinda) and has Jeb (Bush) singing his praises. He also broke the “Full Ginsberg” record by appearing on 6 Sunday morning talkers on the same day.
Cruz spoke at the RNC and did a terrific job but he’s still a stranger to the average voter. Rubio has more credibility at this point.
Texas is not Florida: Don’t mess with Texas, I know, I know but Texas is red for the foreseeable future. The GOP needs Florida and that means they need Rubio to put up a valiant fight during this immigration battle, to at least convince the I4 corridor that they’re serious about the issues that effect the growing Hispanic population, in one of the country’s biggest swing states.
His efforts would hurt the GOP with the entire demographic.
At some point, politics becomes a finesse game: The smoke throwers always find this out eventually. There is no way to oppose this immigration plan without eventually positioning yourself as a major media antagonist. Cruz would have to accept openly voice his support for a plan that deports 11 million undocumented immigrants. Not only is this not practical but there are no alternatives. Ask Mitt Romney how that worked out.
He’d become the “big bad” in the mainstream media and that eventually crosses over to the moderates. That’s not the reputation you want.
Working with Rubio and conditionally supporting the legislation would pay dividends in the future: What Cruz should do is trim the legislation here and there, then get behind it. Think about it. As compelling as showdown between Cruz and Rubio sounds, imagine a united front between the two. Cruz could pick up the phone, throw some conditions into the debate and get this legislation passed. There is plenty of room for winners in these talks.
There is a lot of negative, and very little positive for the rising star from the lone star state, in fighting this legislation. He would be far better off putting his mark on this historic reform, than trying to destroy it.