This excerpt of Lizza’s new piece (paywalled) on immigration reform is attracting a lot of attention:
“There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it,” a Rubio aide told me. “There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it. And so you can’t obviously discuss that publicly.”
Remind me again: Passing the Gang of Eight bill is, theoretically, supposed to increase our chances of winning, right? Is “some of you can’t cut it” a message that sounds like a winner in, say, Ohio or Pennsylvania or any of the other 48 states where middle-class voters are already nervous about competition for jobs turning even fiercer in a high-unemployment economy?
Chait calls the Rubio aide quote “not only a piece of shocking candor, but also the biggest single blunder the pro-reform coalition has committed so far”:
Party elites may nod along when they read it, but there’s a reason nobody in politics ever says anything like this. The quote comes at a precarious moment for immigration reform. Conservatives have formed the most plausible basis for a counterattack against the bill — they are demanding draconian restrictions on the ability of legalized immigrants to obtain any kind of subsidized health insurance, for years to come. If they can successfully frame immigration reform as an expansion, or even a tacit recognition, of the hated Obamacare, they’ll unleash the right-wing fury that has thus far failed to materialize as expected.
(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty)