May
2

Tea Party Patriots leader: Cruz > Rubio

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Tea party members have soured on Sen. Marco Rubio as a result of his prominent involvement with an immigration bill they say is being rushed without a full hearing.

That’s the assessment of Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, who told The RUN the Florida freshman is hurting himself with the movement because he’s failing to administer a deliberative process on the Gang of Eight’s immigration proposal.

“I think what Marco Rubio’s doing right now hurts him because the process is so similar to the process we experienced in Obamacare,” she said.

Martin also praised Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for his opposition to the bill, which is outlined in greater detail in my piece for The Daily Beast.

When asked which names she hears her members talk about most frequently as potential presidential candidates, Martin pointed to Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul.

“I think what Marco Rubio is doing right now is not the way the Senate is supposed to be operating.  It’s certainly not deliberative.  He’s even said himself opponents to the immigration and amnesty bill have valid points that he’s like answers to.  Well, he wrote the bill.  Why didn’t he think of those points as he was writing the 844 pages?,” she said.

The big takeaway: Martin consistently praised Cruz and critiqued Rubio throughout the interview.

Below is a lightly edited transcript of my entire conversation with Martin, whose group claims 15 million members:

Catanese: I wanted to get your response to Sen. Ted Cruz’s reaction to the immigration bill, given that he’s been the one sort of heading up the fight and the opposition, raising concerns with a lot of the measures.

Martin: We appreciate what he’s doing in the sense that he’s fighting against the bill.  And really what we appreciate the most is that he’s asking questions and trying to understand exactly what is in the 844 pages and what are the implications of it.  That’s been one of our biggest concerns with the process and the speech in which the bill’s moving through the Senate.  No one fully understands what’s fully inside the bill.

Catanese: He seems like he’s not going to end up supporting it.  Is that where you guys are at?

Martin: I think at the moment what our biggest concern is the process.  I don’t know that we fully understand everything that’s inside the bill.  It’s so large and it’s moving through so quickly.  There have been so few hearings that we want to make sure everything that’s in it and the implications of it before we say yes, we’re for it, or no we’re against it.  If we’re not able to fully understand it, then we would be opposed to it.  If it truly secures the border, that may be a different story.  Our stance on immigration and amnesty the entire time has been, first secure the border and then come back and talk to us about everything else.  We don’t believe the government will actually secure the border.  They don’t keep any of the promises that they make, except that they spend money like crazy.

Catanese: So you could be open to a path to citizenship?

Martin: I’m not saying that we’re open to it.  I’m saying that our first and foremost concern is that the government actually secures the border.  It’s like when the government says, ‘Oh, let us raise taxes right now and then we’ll come back and cut spending a few years from now.’  The spending cuts never happen.

Catanese: So what do you think of Ted Cruz’s approach, specifically on the immigration bill and in general, just watching him as a Senator?

Martin: I think that he is asking the tough questions, especially in the hearings and he’s doing what he can to force the Senate to be more deliberative.  That’s a good thing.  And the people in the tea party movement appreciate that.  They also appreciate that he’s guiding principal is the Constitution.

Catanese: Do you think that sets him apart from other Republican senators?

Martin: I think that he and a small handful of other Senators actually use the Constitution as their guiding principle.

Catanese: Would you put Marco Rubio in that category?

Martin: I think what Marco Rubio’s doing right now is ignoring . . . I think what Marco Rubio is doing right now is not the way the Senate is supposed to be operating.  It’s certainly not deliberative.  He’s even said himself opponents to the immigration and amnesty bill have valid points that he’s like answers to.  Well, he wrote the bill.  Why didn’t he think of those points as he was writing the 844 pages?

Catanese: I’m curious to get your thoughts on what you think of Ted Cruz as a potential presidential candidate.

Martin: There are people in the movement that are interested in that.  I think most people right now are more interested in what’s happening legislatively speaking this year then looking to who’s going to be the presidential candidate three years from now.

Catanese: So you’re not hearing a lot of feedback on Rubio, Cruz, Rand Paul, the differences between them, early on?

Martin: Mostly when people talk to the groups that I’ve talked to — and I’ve been to probably 10 or 15 different states since January — The groups that I’ve talked to, they all talk about Ted Cruz and about Rand Paul.  Those are the two names I hear about most frequently.  I haven’t scientifically mentioned that, it’s anecdotal.

Catanese: Sure.  Why do you think they’re being mentioned more than Rubio?

Martin: I think that they have proven repeatedly to be champions of the Constitution and they’re asking tough questions.  They appreciate the fact that they’re fighting and fighting for freedom.  When you go and look at what Rand Paul did about the drone issue and the way he tied the drone issue to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, people really appreciated that.  Ted Cruz, when he’s giving speeches, he’s constantly talking about the Constitution and what the Constitution means.

Catanese: So do you think what Marco Rubio’s doing on immigration is hurting him with Constitutional conservatives?

Martin: I think what Marco Rubio’s doing right now hurts him because the process is so similar to the process we experienced in Obamacare.  We do not like a bill being rushed through where we don’t fully understand the costs and the applications and how it’ll limit freedom when it was all Democrats.  We still don’t like it when it’s Republicans and Democrats doing the same thing.

Catanese: But in reading Rubio’s releases and talking to his people, they seem to be slowing the process down, calling for more hearings, they’re going on talk radio . . .

Martin: Are they doing that or is the people that are rising up demanding more hearings?

Catanese: So you’re saying their reacting to you?

Martin: I believe they are reacting, yes.

Catanese: What do you think will end up happening with immigration?  Are you hoping there is a compromise or are you hoping it will go down in defeat?

Martin: What I want to see is happen is we see what’s fully inside the bill and what the implications are.  Sen. [Max] Baucus wrote the Obamacare law and the irony that he wrote it and calls it a train wreck and doesn’t know whether it’s actually affordable or not is not lost on any of us.  We don’t need more train wreck legislation.

http://therun2016.com/tea-party-patriots-leader-cruz-rubio/

(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore)
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