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Will Rubio's "Obama the Tyrant" Inference Change GOP Minds on CIR? By Roger Algase

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The recent statement by pro-reform Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to other Republicans that if the House doesn't pass a legalization bill similar to the Senate's S.744, President Obama will legalize 11 million unauthorized immigrants through executive action has been greeted by many immigration reform supporters as if it were an endorsement of Plan B rather then a warning against it.

Regardless of the actual merits of Plan B (which immigration reformers should support, in my view, despite the formidable political and legal risks); the (seemingly remote) chances that President Obama might ever carry it out, and its (questionable) Constitutionality, all discussed in my recent posts, it is important to understand what Rubio really meant.

As Kevin Drum points out in Mother Jones (where he also referred to an August 13 Washington Post column by Greg Sargent making a similar point), Rubio's intention was not to endorse Plan B, but to use it as a scare tactic in order to bring his anti-immigrant Tea Party base over to the side of reform.

Drum writes as follows in his August 15 comment Rubio: Pass Immigration Reform or Obama the Tyrant Will Do Even Worse:

"...Rubio's latest effort isn't likely to cut much ice with opponents of immigration reform. Rather, it's interesting for what it says about how Rubio views his Tea Party Base. Basically, he's given up on reasoning with them. Instead, he figures the only way to win them over is to appeal to their paranoid belief in Obama the tyrant, the man whose unilaterally ruining America by running roughshod over Congress with his dictatorial executive order powers. Reason might not work, but perhaps they hate and fear Obama even more than 11 million undocumented immigrants."


Drum adds, in a comment with the same spirit as my own recent post comparing the Tea Party to the Golem from Jewish folklore:

"And who would know better than Rubio. After all he helped build this base."

First, it is important to point out that, as Greg Sargent mentioned in his WP column, the GOP fear of a Plan B presidential legalization executive order is not only based on the "Obama the Tyrant" bogeyman (which Rubio demagogically played to without actually using that phrase), but also on the fear that Plan B might lead to legalization without the increased border security and e-verify so dear to Republican hearts.

Drum's last sentence might also remind those who are familiar with classical literature of a phrase in Ovid's invocation to the gods at the beginning of Metamorphoses​, his most famous poem:

nam vos mustatis et illas ("After all, you [gods] changed even these")

No one can dispute that the Tea Party has made big changes in the Republican party, and in American politics in general. But just as the numerous transformations which Ovid describes in his lengthy poem were by no means all beneficial ones (not to mention the change in his own circumstances when he was "deported" from Rome for the rest of his life shortly after completing the poem by a real tyrant, Augustus Caesar), the Tea Party which forms Rubio's base has pulled the GOP far to the right on immigration, as well as on so many other issues.

Tea Party sympathizing (or fearing) House Republicans are now trying to carry out their own destructive "metamorphosis" of CIR, by transforming the Senate's comprehensive legalization bill into a number of smaller, enforcement-only ones.

Will Rubio's attempt to suggest that Obama is a tyrant capable of anything bring about a metamporphosis in the implacable opposition to immigration reform by the majority of House Republicans? This remains to be seen.

Here are the links:

To Kevin Drum:

www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/08/rubio-immigration-reform-obama-tyrant

To Greg Sargent:

www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/08/13/how-republicans-can-save-the-country-from-barack-obama/








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Updated 08-15-2013 at 10:14 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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