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Jackson: Pasco’s remorse-free Rubio fans

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Published:   |   Updated: April 30, 2013 at 10:56 AM

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HUDSON Few of us achieve adulthood without having experienced buyer’s remorse, that thrumming ruefulness that, regarding one big decision or another, we have chosen poorly.

You probably can name a half-dozen episodes of buyer’s remorse off the top of your head, and I could provide examples, but then you’d probably read too much into them and I would experience buyer’s remorse about this paragraph.

Here’s the thing about buyer’s remorse. We tend to keep our disappointments to ourselves.

One reason is self-preservation. No sense risking word slithering back to our wives — whom we truly, genuinely adore, treasure and worship — by revealing to friends that our sense of buyer’s remorse includes our failure to ask out certain women during our college days.

Another reason is we hate to reveal our lapses in judgment. I mean, we’re happy to tell the world we loaded up on Disney stock at $22 and sold Krispy Kreme at its peak, but nobody needs to know we bought Facebook on its IPO.

The same applies to politics. Once you’ve crawled out on a limb for a candidate — contributed to his campaign, put his signs in our yard and on our bumpers, talked him up at parties, inked in his bubble on Election Day — it’s not easy to acknowledge, publicly, he’s back at the trunk with a chain saw.

Not that that’s what we think describes, entirely, the relationship between Pasco County Republicans and Marco Rubio, who are scheduled to be back in each other’s company Tuesday for the first time since his election to the U.S. Senate in 2010. An election, it bears noting, that owes much to the local GOP’s early and enthusiastic embrace of his campaign, beginning with Rubio’s resounding, breakthrough triumph in a Pasco Republican executive committee straw poll that lured the first storm clouds to Charlie Crist’s “inevitability summer.”

On one issue after another, from the economy to taxes to implementation of Obamacare to gun rights to presidential appointments subject to Senate approval, Rubio has lined up precisely where grassroots Republicans — which is to say conservatives — imagined he would. But now that he has emerged as the GOP face of the Gang of 8’s massive, and massively flawed, immigration reform package, that creeping sense of déjà uh-oh is back.

I mean, it’s not like Rubio’s fans regret buying the whole car … yet. So far, their lament is limited to the undercoating, and maybe the extended service contract.

Still, “flawed” is the nicest thing skeptical students of the proposal can say about it. And we’re not just talking conservatives. “Neoliberal” commentator Mickey Kaus, who challenged Barbara Boxer in California’s 2010 Democratic senatorial primary, has written extensively about a plan he calls fraudulent, fakery, bull and an amnesty magnet.

Kaus’ primary target? Not Democrats Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin or Robert Menendez, the progenitors of such shenanigans, but Rubio, from whom better was expected.

As National Review contributor Stanley Kurtz wrote last week, “A lot of folks thought that Rubio in particular would find a more genuine compromise. Now maybe that was a false hope. If so, I’ve learned something, and I’d venture to say lots of others have as well.”

So far, Pasco Republicans seem not to have noticed. They managed to over-buy the reception with Rubio (at $250 a pop) that precedes Tuesday’s Reagan Day Dinner at Spartan Manor. As for the dinner itself, organizers may have to use shoehorns to get all 531 diners seated.

“Marco Rubio could screw up on (immigration),” says dinner volunteer Dan Hamm, 56, an ultrasound technician from Hudson, “and they’ll still give him a pass. They’ll count on him to be hawkish on everything else.”

Hamm may be on to something. Posting on our Facebook page, Juli Aguayo De Hassler, head of Pasco’s Hispanic Republican Club, writes, “(Rubio) has been firm with his convictions and values, his conservative message and the family tradition he represents. His story is one that many families that move to this great nation can identify themselves with pursuing and fulfilling the American dream.”

Adds Saint Leo University alumnus and Lutz resident Matt Curran, “I supported (Rubio) from Day 1 of his Senate campaign. … I’m a libertarian-leaning fiscal conservative who thinks our over-regulation of immigration is a bigger problem than enforcing bad laws.”

Buyer’s remorse? Seems no one around here is ’fessing up yet. Maybe — could it be? — they don’t have anything to ’fess up about. Unless they’re just keeping it to themselves.


tjackson@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1851

https://www.facebook.com/TomJacksonTribune

Twitter: @tjacksonTBO

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