“Nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable.” – William F. Buckley, Jr.
Today’s endorsement of Marco Rubio by Trey Gowdy should shore up Marco Rubio’s lack of conservative credentials. Or does it?
Considering Ted Cruz’s steady rise in the polls and projected win in a head-to-head matchup with Hillary Clinton, let’s dispense with the unelectable myth when it comes to the Senator from Texas.
While Rubio has a C (79%) rating from Conservative Review and Gowdy is at a B (86%) rating, there’s a bit more to the story. Rubio has come under fire from conservatives ever since the dubious “Gang of 8” amnesty bill back in 2013 which he co-sponsored. A closer look at Gowdy’s record indicates he, at least, was willing to consider immigration reform measures before border security.
Much like Rubio’s defining “Gang of 8” campaign flaw, Gowdy is weak on immigration issues, never having taken a clear conservative stance to agree to the securing of the border first. So, it’s no surprise Gowdy came out in support of Rubio today. Both Republicans are otherwise fairly solid conservatives, with the exception of Rubio’s tendency toward military adventurism, but we can tackle that exception another time.
As conservatives, we should learn the lesson of President Reagan’s signing of the Simpson-Mazzoli Act of 1986, which granted approximately 4 million illegal aliens legal status. That one-time-only bill addressed the illegal aliens already in the U.S. and was approved with the proviso that the border would be secured. Promptly after passage, though, then Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil, stripped funding for border security.
What happened to Reagan’s immigration bill clearly shows us why it’s critical we demand a secure border first, lest weak conservatives like Rubio and Gowdy repeat the mistakes of the past. Ted Cruz is a candidate who knows his conservative history and thankfully, he won’t make that mistake.
Photo credit: Trey Gowdy