Being on Rubio's side of the aisle, Byron says far more gently more or less what I said a bit more directly on Tuesday, namely, that the junior senator of Florida might be giving himself big headaches come 2016 with this immigration push:
...as far as Republican primary voters are concerned, Rubio has taken a huge risk by hanging out with a bad crowd. McCain, fellow GOP Gang of Eight member Lindsey Graham (known to some critics as "Lindsey Grahamnesty") and Democrat Charles Schumer are not a popular bunch with the GOP base.
The bottom line is that if Rubio is playing a long game, as the GOP strategist suggests, he's running a significant risk of never making it through the Republican primaries. And if he's playing a shorter game, and insists on tough, GOP-pleasing measures, he risks blowing up the whole immigration project and looking like the villain.
Byron sets all this up by arguing, probably rightly, that passing a lot of big legislaiton ain't what gets a person to the White House. Barack Obama did little to nothing legislatively, and John McCain did a lot. Those statements are both true but they are not proof of causality, either. The question I'd like to see York tease out, as he's one of your better conservative writers, is whether he thinks the GOP base is going to be every bit as nutso in '16 as it was in '12, booing gay soldiers and demanding that their candidates make various professions of heartfelt bigotry. I would guess the base will be slightly more pragmatic next time--not pro-same-sex marriage, for example, but not demanding the usual blood oaths against it. That would grant Rubio a little more wiggle room. But I still think he'll be better off overall if immigration dies and he can say to the base, "Hey, I tried, but the crazy liberals asked too much of me."