Much ink has been spilled over the Paul Ryan VP Pick and whether it is the game change the Romney campaign needed to win in November. I don’t think Ryan has an effect on the electoral hopes of the GOP this go around, however the Ryan pick has several long term implications for the GOP as a whole. The first of these being that Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s chances of becoming president of the United states, in my opinion has dwindled to close to zero. This may not be initially clear for many reasons the least of which being you may not know who Marco Rubio is, or that people think that he could be president.
The reason I wanted to talk about Rubio is mostly because the coverage of Paul Ryan is boring. Ryan is not fiscal hawk trying to reign in Washington excess, or some champion of the Ayn Randian ethos who will enlighten people of her brilliance on self-reliance psychopathic selfishness. He’s just another believer in trickle-down/supply-side economics. Maybe one day I’ll go into again why even George H.W. Bush called this voodoo economics, but today I wanted to look at who was passed over in the VP process and what that means for the GOP Long term.
For those who don’t know Marco Rubio is a Florida Senator of Cuban decent who many on the right characterize as a potential presidential hopeful in the future. Many people in GOP circles were talking about Rubio as a potential vice-presidential pick for one blatantly obvious reason his potential appeal to Latino voters. I don’t think this would have worked, I think it would have been much like picking Sarah Palin to try to peel women voters from Obama. The thing is at least with the Palin pick they were trying and the fact that they didn’t even try this go around is a telling problem for Marco Rubio’s presidential hopes and the GOP’s appeal to the Latino community as a whole.
This is really what it boils down to, the GOP has a minority problem and they have no interest in addressing it. Back during the reality show that was the GOP primary the GOP honestly wanted us to believe that they took a Herman Cain nomination seriously. The fact is there was no way Herman Cain was going to receive the nomination, let alone become the next president. So why was he there? Herman Cain was there for the same reason Michelle Bachman, and Sarah Palin before her, were given a spotlights, to show the Grand Old Party isn’t just the old white male party. But much like the bigot who tries to say they’re not racist because they have minority friends the GOP tries to trot out the occasional minority to prove they don’t just represent old white men.
The question becomes why does GOP have such a hard time appealing to minority and women voters. As I mentioned before most of the GOP outreach program has been to basically elevate women and minorities within the GOP regardless of their competency as leaders. This isn’t always the case, but Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Bachman are obvious examples. That said, from a competency stand point I cannot make judgments of Marco Rubio’s appeal to a broader base. He may have leadership skills but so far in his first term in office as a senator he either hasn’t exhibited them or they haven’t been spotlighted. Unfortunately for Rubio it is more than just a lack of competent representative leadership that plague his ambition. From a policy and rhetoric standpoint the GOP is toxic to minorities which makes all of their candidates evoke lipstick and pig metaphors.
The illegals problem
Language is important. We all know this, how you say something is often times more important than what you say. The GOP knows this too, which is why they renamed the estate tax the “death tax” or their anti-contraception bills personhood bills. They do the calculations and the polling to know if they choose the right words they can sell ideas to the mainstream that have failed in the past. So far though, they have yet to find a similar messaging for many of their minority related policies. One of the biggest of these messaging blunders is the over the top rhetoric on immigration reform. Few would argue that we should have totally open borders. What many have acknowledge though is that it is virtually impossible to 100% secure the borders, they are simply too big. We could erect fences, walls, even patrol the border with automated drones and there would still be undocumented border crossings. Nothing is 100% secure. Security is always a balance of cost, probability of outcomes. Banks are not impenatrable however they are able to decrease their probabilty of break ins by reducing the number of access points and hardening those points to the point that it is cost prohibitive to attempt to steal from them. It cost banks a lot of money to do this and they are only securing a single building. The Berlin Wall took tremendous resources to maintain and still there were border crossings. At some point you have to ask yourself what’s the point. It is at this point that the rhetoric of the GOP comes into play. We have to secure the borders because people are coming in illegally. We have to do it because the illegals are ruining the country.
Let me talk for a moment about the whole illegals terminology, while yes it is technically true that they have broken the law, the crime they are commiting is not as severe as the naming would signify. The majority of people entering this country illegally are not criminals, far from it, most are hard working self-sufficient families. Why? because by the very nature of their status they must survive in this country without drawing too much attention to themselves. Under many circumstances any public activity will result in them getting investigated and could potentially lead to deportation. They must be extra careful because everything they have could be lost in an instant. They come to this country because things in their home country are so bad that they are willing to risk everything, including many times thier lives, to come to this country.
When I talk about immigrants this way people tend to think I want totally open borders. I don’t, there should be some measure of control on the influx of new people, and there are certainly people who would be more desired then others, i.e. we would want more scientists then delivery people. I totally acknowledge that large undocumented immigrants can put a tremendous strain on state and local resources from schools to hospitals. The thing is most of the issues revolving around illegal immigration, have nothing to do with the fact that they entered the country illegally. The best analogy for the GOP immigration stance is the prohibition of alcohol in this country. Prohibition certainly reduced the amount of drinking in this country, but it proved that you couldn’t eliminate it. At the same time the symptoms prohibition was meant to address: crime, corruption and “the breakdown of morals” could all have been said to increase under prohibition. When we finally broke from our national insanity and repealed prohbition and instead put forth reasonable regulations on alcohol there was no precipitous rise in the amount of drinking. Catagorizing undocumented immigration as illegal immigration criminalizes what would otherwise be lawful people. This can lead to other unlawful activity as to avoid detection they may do things like acquire fraudulent documentation. More importantly though it compromises their ability to prevent actual criminal activity. An illegal immigrant is much less likely to report criminal activity as it may affect their status in this country, as a result their communities become shelters for criminal activity.
Why this spells doom for Rubio
The Ryan pick means there is no chance that the republican party will temper their rhetoric on immigration. Which means if they win this year they will win largely without the backing of the latino community. If they lose they will most likely continue their fervent pitch against any kind of reform as to prevent an Obama victory. Either way their will be no appeals to the latino community in the near future. As a result even if he tried to run on his cultural background, his political background would likely make him a pariah among many in the latino community. This is not to say that the latino community will vote soley on the immigration issue, but it is hard to see how the rest of the republican mantra has a great appeal to minority communities in general.