Marco Rubio: Is a great last name enough to woo national Latino voters?

Marco Rubio: Latino friend or foe?  That's the question posed in today's Al Dia:

Líderes hispanos y activistas de inmigración esperaban que Rubio tomara una postura más moderada en vistas de una campaña electoral, pero en su lugar, el republicano ha tomado una postura de mayor oposición al DREAM-Act, y se refiere a cualquier medida que no esté relacionada con la seguridad fronteriza y al verificación de estatus migratorio para trabajar, como “amnistía”.

In short, activists continue to hope that Senator Rubio's position on immigration will evolve...back to what it was.  From Scott Wong at Politico:

as a state lawmaker in 2003 and 2004, Rubio co-sponsored a bill providing an in-state tuition break for high-achieving children of illegal immigrants. As speaker of the Florida House, Rubio blocked several bills from coming to the floor, saying it was Washington’s responsibility to solve the immigration problem.

But rather than stepping up on the issue, Rubio has stepped back.  From Politico:

...backed by grass-roots tea party activists on the campaign trail, Rubio tacked right on the immigration issue and never looked back. He endorsed Arizona’s controversial immigration law that is being challenged by the Obama administration in the courts. And he opposed an earlier version of the DREAM Act that was twice filibustered by Republicans in the Senate.

“My position is unchanged from the campaign that I ran on,” Rubio said. “I’m not here to break campaign promises.”

Marco Rubio is undoubtedly smart and charming.  His future is bright.  He has an opportunity here to demonstrate leadership and to act as a bridge between disparate communities.  Instead, he is playing it safe.  That is the real crisis of leadership. 

Rubio's name is freqently mentioned as a Republican vice-presidential candidate.  The implication is that having a Hispanic on the ticket makes it easier for Republicans to win in the Sunbelt.  But a last name isn't enough to woo Latino voters.  While Rubio carried the Cuban vote, he did not carry the non-Cuban vote in his own state.  If Rubio wants to be a national player he will need to take up the mantle of reform for his people, for his party, for America.  If he doesn't, it will be a big loss for him, for his party and for the people who sent him to congress.