RUBIO: OUT OF THE VEEPSTAKES, APPARENTLY?
I think you can safely ignore the "DREAM ACT Lite" that's Marco Rubio and a handful of other Republicans are proposing. Even though this is a watered-down version of the original DREAM Act (it offers legal status to undocumented young people who attend college or join the military, but lacks a direct path to full citizenship), it's being proposed at a moment when the Republican Party is doubling down on its most polarizing (and base-inspiring) positions on issues. That means the vast majority of Republicans aren't going to touch it with a ten-foot pole. Especially in the House, most Republicans would do everything in their power to prevent this from going anywhere if it ever came before them.
And don't make too much of the fact that a guy who's considered a rising star in the GOP is going against party orthodoxy. It doesn't mean the party is really changing.
Republicans want their politicians to be hardcore, but if you're a GOP pol, you get a pass on certain issues if they affect a group of which you're a member. That's why John McCain, a torture victim, was able to get away with saying that waterboarding is torture. That's why Dick Cheney, father of a lesbian, was able to get away with positive words about gay marriage. That's why, more recently, the usually extremely hardcore congressman Allen West, an African-American, was able to get away with expressing outrage at the death of Trayvon Martin.
These carve-outs for Republicans basically track with right-wing thinking about empathy: If an issue doesn't affect you personally, or an affinity group of yours, why should you give a crap about how it affects other people?
So Rubio, as a Hispanic, can support a version of the DREAM Act. But the vast majority of the party, and especially the crazy base, is no more likely to go along with him than it is to go along with McCain on torture or Cheney on gay marriage.
Which is why I think this means Rubio can be ruled out as Romney's running mate. Putting an "amnesty" supporter on the ticket (to the base, everything other than "ship 'em all back" is "amnesty") would be like picking a pro-choice running mate -- it would be Republican heresy. What Rubio is saying is just an attempt to bamboozle Hispanic voters while the rest of the party, Romney almost certainly included, reaffirms a hard-right stance on immigration.
Or maybe I'm wrong. But I doubt it.