The shimmering dreams of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio have taken a few hits in the last week.
He voted for -- no, he co-sponsored and voted for -- that nutty amendment that would have permitted any employer to refuse to insure any procedure or drug he had moral objections to. Not just religious objections, and not just contraception. Moral objections, whatever they are.
Need treatment for diabetes? How about heart trouble? What if your boss decides you’ve failed to take care of yourself and doesn’t want to be financially responsible for what he considers your bad choices?
Don’t look to Marco Rubio for relief.
This is what you do when you want to be vice president. You tilt so far to the right you nearly fall over in nonsense about protecting religious institutions from that un-Christian president.
Then along comes the case of Daniela Pelaez. Pelaez is the North Miami High School valedictorian who faces possible deportation back to Colombia later this month because she came here illegally when she was four. Pelaez is a poster child for the Dream Act, which would have allowed her to attend college at in-state rates. With protests beginning to grow on her behalf, Rubio now is having to spin, spin, spin his hypocrisy over a teenager at his alma mater.
“From what I’ve read in press accounts, the story of Daniela Pelaez is exactly the kind of case I have been talking about. It’s the kind of real life example I’ve discussed with many of my colleagues who agree that we should find a way to help talented kids like this,” he said.
What would Rubio do for undocumented C-students at North Miami High? Send them back until they pulled up their grades?
Most worrisome for Rubio, though, are troubling poll numbers that suggest such hard-line positions won’t deliver Hispanics for Republicans.
A Fox News poll of 1,200 likely Hispanic voters released this week showed they overwhelmingly favor President Obama over any Republican candidate — a whopping 70 percent for Obama compared to 17 percent for Mitt Romney, for instance. It’s hard to see how putting Rubio on the ticket would overcome the wobble in Hispanic support for the GOP.
Regrettably, even Rubio is not capable of a miracle.
No, Rubio is merely a U.S. senator driven by his own self-interest, not the public’s. He’s in a terrible spot, trying to have it all ways. He will certainly keep trying, until he finds he is no miracle worker -- not for his party, and not for himself.
Mary Jo Melone, former columnist with the Tampa Bay Times, is a writer in Tampa.
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