This post has been updated as of 10:30 am on October 29.

The Huffington Post reports on October 28 that Tea Party Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) a Gang of Eight member and key immigration supporter, is now backing away from his own CIR bill. See Marco Rubio Backs Away From Own Immigration Bill Becoming Law.

Huffpost mentions that "Rubio received pushback from some conservatives for his support of comprehensive immigration reform, and has gone mostly silent on the issue."

Et tu, Marco?

However, some analysts are arguing that Senator Rubio's retreat on immigration reform in October, 2013 AD is not really a replay of the events in the Roman Senate on March 15, 44 BC, because Rubio has not actually changed his position on reform.

Seung Min Kim, for example, writes the following in Politico Marco Rubio sparks immigration debate (October 28):

"The Florida Senator has long called for giving House Republicans some space to come up with their own plan. And some advocates believe Rubio's call to focus on piecemeal aspects of reform could actually pave the way for some kind of agreement between the House and Senate."

Who believes this, actually?

Kim quotes the eternally optimistic voice of reform advocate Tamar Jacoby, who still insists:

"This is making a more doable task for House Republicans. House Republicans are trying to pass pieces that add up to a package...'We'll meet you halfway' is essentially what the message is."

Very nice idea, but meeting halfway is exactly what the House Republicans are trying to avoid at all costs. For them, going to conference with the Democratic-controlled Senate on immigration reform would be like meeting with the devil himself.

This reminds me of Jacoby's statement in the LA Times this last summer that the House "piecemeal" bills would eventually add up like beads on a "necklace". In view of what has happened since, leaves on a funeral wreath might be a better analogy.

As I have argued before, the problem with the "piecemeal" approach is not with the process, but with the substance. If the House were to pass a hundred piecemeal bills that together added up to real reform, who would complain?

But, as Kim makes clear in her article:

"A top concern of advocates is that if lawmakers only focus on areas of immigration reform with broad bipartisan agreement, one big group will be left out: the estimated 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in this country."

Rubio's retreat has also given aid and comfort to the anti-immigration reform side. Kim quotes an aide to a GOP lawmaker who opposes reform as follows:

"His [Rubio's] turnaround represents an admission that, on substance, the [Democratic CIR] bill is a catastrophe...This should be the end of anyone seriously attempting to promote this awful, awful, proposal."

Nor has backing down on CIR helped Rubio very much with his own former Tea Party allies.

Kim writes that Roy Beck, Executive Director of anti-immigrant NumbersUSA said of Rubio's turnaround on CIR:

"He's going to be digging himself out a hole for some time."

For those who balk at comparing Marco Rubio with Marcus Brutus, however, another comparison may be more apt:

To paraphrase Shakespeare, Marco Rubio is in effect saying the same thing about reform that Marcus Antonius said of Julius Caesar:

"I come to bury CIR, not to praise it."