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Rubio, O Rubio, wherefore art thou, Rubio?

Posted in: Election 2012
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Yes, it was hard to believe that Marco Rubio was not being vetted as a vice presidential possibility by Mitt Romney. Romney revealed that the Florida senator is under consideration and claimed that an ABC News report to the contrary was off-base. But today Rubio still isn’t talking.

Rubio has some obvious qualities that would make him an attractive pick. He is a young Latino from a state that Romney needs in his electoral column. At least one recent poll suggests that a Romney/Rubio ticket would even the playing field in the Sunshine State.

But that dream team ticket is not all that it seems. For several months, Rubio dangled the idea of proposing a conservative alternative to the DREAM Act, which would give children of undocumented aliens a pathway to citizenship.  Rubio’s plan never saw the light of day.  President Obama’s executive order giving a two-year stay from deportation to people under the age of 30 who were brought to the US illegally as children squashed any thoughts that Republicans may have had of using a Rubio plan as an election year talking point.

The widespread support for the White House executive order, especially from immigration advocates and Latino civic leaders, means that the Rubio proposal, whatever it was, will only be a dim memory for the Latino voters that Romney is trying desperately to court. Another poll of Latino voters in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Virginia, and yes, Florida, found that 49 percent of those surveyed said the decision made it more likely for them to support the president.

There’s more bad news in the Electoral College. The Latino vote in key states such as Texas is growing and is trending Democratic, a big problem for the Republicans this year and going forward. Yet Team Romney seems to have bought into at least one component of what Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia calls the “ five myths” about Rubio: that his presence on the GOP ticket would attract Latino voters.

Cuban Americans like Rubio have tended not to view immigration issues as, say, Mexican Americans do. Roig-Franzia writes: “There are also lingering historical resentments between non-Cuban Latinos — approximately 96 percent of the U.S. Latino population — and Cubans, who receive preferential immigration treatment. Rubio has drawn a distinction, saying that he has ‘nothing against immigrants, but my parents are exiles.’”

His current and future national prospects have prodded Rubio to soften his image. Consider this excerpt from his conveniently timed autobiography-cum-campaign manifesto: "If my kids went to sleep hungry every night and my country didn't give me an opportunity to feed them, there isn't a law, no matter how restrictive, that would prevent me from coming here." Some commentators suspect that Rubio may be nudging Romney to speak louder on immigration issues that he seems inclined to shy away from.

Speaking up about immigration won’t necessarily help Mitt Romney, however. He doesn’t support the DREAM Act, likes Arizona’s tough immigration laws (as does Rubio), and has talked about supporting harsher legislation that would force people to “self deport.”  Latino voters, and others who are concerned about a hardening of US immigration policies, are unlikely to forget any of that just because someone like Marco Rubio is on the Republican ticket.

                                                                                                                            --GABRIELLE GURLEY


BEACON HILL

The Massachusetts Senate approves a T bailout, WBUR reports.

The state Office of Campaign and Political Finance asks Attorney General Martha Coakley to force Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua to file campaign forms, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A Kingston police sergeant who is also a selectman is seeking a restraining order and criminal complaint against the town administrator who she says has made several threats against her. The administrator has been placed on leave as well.

Westport voters rejected all five ballot questions that would have level-funded the town budget as well as upgrade some outdated services and equipment.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

Title IX at 40: Frank Deford offers his take. CommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan did his own local analysis in the fall 2010 issue found here.

The overrated Cory Booker?

ELECTION 2012

Greater Boston has a discussion of the pros and cons for Sen. Scott Brown of turning down the debate at the Kennedy Institute after Vicki Kennedy refuses to commit to stay neutral in the race. The Phoenix’s David Bernstein floats the theory that Brown’s anti-Kennedy posturing is a play for conservative Catholic votes. Scot Lehigh scores the Vicki Kennedy-Scotto bout for the senator.

The Times looks at Mitt Romney’s efforts to put Michigan in play. US Weekly reports that Mitt and Brit have the same car elevator.

The Globe looks back at his higher ed initiatives as governor, which didn’t get too far.

The Obama campaign takes a run at Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit advocacy group that can accept unlimited contributions without disclosing its donors.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A study by the Wharton School found women at financial firms earn two-thirds of what their male colleagues make in large part because they are given inferior accounts.

EDUCATION

Mum’s the word at Roxbury Community College, where the departing president, Terrence Gomes, and the school’s board of trustees have signed non-disclosure agreements that bar them from speaking ill of one another.

The state’s Teacher of the Year explains why a strict seniority system isn’t best for schools -- or teachers.

A teacher at Andover High School urges her colleagues to stall on the school’s accreditation until the teachers union gets a new contract, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Some Hingham parents are upset that school officials have hired a lawyer from the Boston Public Schools to oversee the town’s special education program.

HEALTH CARE

Both the House and the governor’s office are in favor of lifting the ban on gifts to physicians from pharmaceutical companies because of its impact on the economy but the Senate has shown no interest in joining.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The former Gov. Oliver Ames estate in Easton will become a public park after the town purchased the property from trustees with funds from the Community Preservation account and state money.

Cape Wind opponents want a federal investigation into what they’re calling state and federal bullying of the FAA.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A Methuen DPW worker is arrested for selling oxycontin from his truck, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he is moving ahead with plans to shut down several prisons, the Chicago Tribune reports (via Governing).


MEDIA

Self-plagiarism scandal rocks the New Yorker, the Daily Beast reports.

Recovers.org, the Knight News Challenge winner, is profiled by the Nieman Journalism Lab.

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