You have to have a lot of credibility and courage to take positions beyond the platform of your party in politics these days.
Party loyalty is valued above effectiveness. If nothing ever gets done, there is plenty of blame to go around. The last thing that is considered is compromise.
One of those risk takers is Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Rubio has the standing to do something as outside the lines as joining with Sen. Chuck Schumer on an immigration reform framework.
Not only is Rubio a Hispanic – making criticisms of his position about immigration issues politically difficult – but he is also from Florida, a state where immigration reform will be greeted with open arms.
The group of Senators took the reins on immigration reform because they saw areas on which everyone can agree.
For illegal immigrants already in the country, the recommendations included a clear path to citizenship so that those people can stop living on the edge of society and begin contributing legally.
Some on the right side of the political spectrum criticize this position because it rewards people who have violated our laws in the first place. It takes someone with Rubio to bridge the gap between the conservatives and ultra conservatives in his party.
In order to make up for allowing a path to citizenship for those here now, the framework includes increased enforcement at our borders – going as far as to encourage the increased use of unmanned drones flying over the borders.
The plan also appeases those on the right with a more detailed worker identification program that ensures that hiring undocumented employees is risky and punished effectively.
There is no way to make everyone happy when you are legislating issues like gun control and immigration reform.
But if both sides can begin to work together and allow each side to leave negotiations with its key platform policies in place, this do-nothing Congress may find itself legislating effectively and not saving all of its action for when it is up against a deadline that can shut down the country or send tax rates skyrocketing.
It is nice to see Rubio taking a calculated risk and using his political capital to try to get things done. This effort could be a difference maker for the Republicans in 2016.
Even though Obama has won easily in the Electoral College in the past two elections, even marginal gains among minority voters would make a big difference for the GOP going forward.
Kent Bush is the publisher of The Augusta Daily Gazette, The El Dorado Times, and The Andover American newspapers. He can be reached at:firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kent Bush
The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
By Kent Bush
Updated Jan. 29, 2013 @ 7:24 am
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