Sen. Rubio’s Ready To Be President, Bless His Heart!
Sen. Marco Rubio has been clamoring for our attention, lately, so I’ve decided to give him some. That shouldn’t take long because the man has only been a senator for two less-than-illustrious years. Prior to that he served in the Florida House of Representatives for eight years, including two as Speaker, but he’d probably just as soon we don’t delve too deeply into that period and the events that very likely rendered him unsuitable for the Romney veep job in 2012.
Nevertheless, TIME magazine went ahead and anointed him The Republican Savior in early 2013, not so much for his leadership skills or actual achievements. Apparently, it was just because they liked the “cut of his jib” i.e., telegenic, young, Christian Latino. Rubio had a bit of a rough year after that, though, when he allowed his heart to rule his GOP lizard brain, and figured out a way to give 12 million immigrants false hope of a bipartisan nature. The House of Representatives cured him of that fever dream.
Young Rubio has recently resurfaced, though, and evidently still believes the Republican Savior hype. As a result he has declared that he’s ready for the Oval Office and is confident he’d eat Hillary Clinton’s lunch . . . if she runs. If he runs . . .
And, in the process, Rubio proves Josh Karp‘s point that:
No one looks less presidential than the guy trying to look presidential.
Karp, is communications director for the Florida Democratic Party.
Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a former chairman of the Florida Republican Party, said
. . . it is unfair to judge Mr. Rubio’s every move through the prism of presidential politics. Instead of being seen as an effective senator, Mr. Cardenas said, Mr. Rubio is often gauged as whether he can be the “savior of the Republican Party,” as Time magazine dubbed him last year.
It’s not been his performance that we’ve been judging; it’s the impossible set of expectations that were thrust upon him.
So, I guess it’s only fair to take a look at Sen. Rubio’s half-time record in the Senate . . .
Oh, dear. So maybe the number of laws you’ve written isn’t the be-all and end-all . . . Let’s look elsewhere, I’m sure there’s a good reason, or two, why this guy would be considered The Republican Savior.
Maybe he’s a brilliant policy wonk with a lot of fresh new ideas to reinvigorate the establishment? After all Rubio is a member of the Senate Science Committee and represents a state facing an extraordinary threat from rising sea levels.
Surely he’s on top of that . . .?
What I have a problem with is these changes to our law that somehow politicians say are going to change our weather. That’s absurd. … [T]o say you are going to pass a bill that’s going to change the weather is a lie and you’re going to devastate our economy.
I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. That’s what I do not believe.
Maybe he’s more of an economics kind of guy . . . ?
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Thursday there isn’t much point in raising tax rates on the wealthy, because they also have the money to hire people who will help them get out of paying taxes.
“The billionaires and millionaires that are going to be impacted by higher rates, they can afford to hire the best lawyers, lobbyists and accountants in America to figure out how not to pay those higher rates,” Rubio told National Journal’s Major Garrett at The Atlantic Washington Ideas Forum. “The people that are going to get stuck by that bill are the small businesses, the partnerships, the S corporations, that cannot hire the lawyers to get them out of it.”
OK, OK. Maybe he’s more of a constitutionalist? Republicans seem to have a lot of them lately . . .
In a discussion with Eric Metaxas at last year’s Florida Family Policy Council summit, Sen. Marco Rubio said that the separation of church and state is a myth, arguing that the First Amendment only precludes an “officially sanctioned denomination.”
“This notion of separation between church and state, you won’t find those words in the Constitution,” Rubio said. “That doesn’t mean that we should have an officially sanctioned denomination.”
Or maybe foreign policy is more Rubio’s bag . . . ?
Here he is at CPAC 2014:
“[Rubio] said that China is threatening to take parts of the South China Sea … a nuclear North Korea is testing missiles, Venezuela is slaughtering protesters, and Cuba remains an oppressive dictatorship.
“He added that Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons and regional hegemony and Russia is attempting to ‘reconstitute’ the former Soviet Union.”
What all these countries have in common, said Rubio, is “totalitarian governments.”
Rubio proposes a U.S. foreign policy of leading the world to “stand up to the spread of totalitarianism.”
Utterly confused and dumbfounded yet? don’t worry, it’s all a lot simpler than it seems.
The answer’s been right there all along, at least since that TIME article by Mike Grunwald about Rubio being the Republican Savior. It’s in a little vignette toward the end of the article:
Rubio still teaches a class at Florida International University, and one recent morning he was telling his students—almost all Hispanic immigrants or children of immigrants—how politics really works. His topic was the Florida House of Representatives, and he didn’t need notes to explain why the legislative body he once led is so partisan and polarized. “If you know the only way to lose your seat is to get out-conservatived in a primary, you’ll never let anyone get to your right,” Rubio said. He’s clearly a political animal. “I’m not telling you this is how it should be,” he said with a grin. “But it’s how it is. This isn’t a good-government class. This is a politics class.”
Rubio’s detractors, and even some admirers, suggest that his career so far has been less about good government than politics and self-promotion. His autobiography recounts virtually no substantive achievements beyond a hometown tree-planting project.
And, once you scratch that surface, there’s history to back it up:
As a state legislator from the overwhelmingly Hispanic community of West Miami, he supported legislation that would allow undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition. After being selected as house speaker in 2005, he scuttled several Republican efforts to crack down on undocumented immigrants. The obscure book he published laying out his agenda, 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future, included three ideas for preventing identity theft and zero about immigration.
But when he announced his underdog campaign for the Senate in 2010, Rubio became a hard-liner. He attacked then governor Charlie Crist’s support for reform as Obama-friendly liberal amnesty and opposed the Dream Act, which would have given legal status to those sympathetic immigrants brought here as kids. He started out 30 points behind, with the GOP establishment lined up behind the moderate Crist. While immigration wasn’t the big issue in the primary—Crist had embraced the Obama stimulus and even literally embraced Obama at a stimulus rally—it helped convince the party’s base of older, exurban Tea Partyers that the hip-hop-loving Cuban American was one of them. Crist was forced to quit the party to run as an independent.
I think that Sen. Rubio has permanently burned his bridges with Latinos rendering him a lot less useful to and perhaps even a touch radioactive for the GOP in 2016. And, as Chuck Strouse of the Miami NewTimes laid out there are at least Five Reasons Marco Rubio Isn’t Ready to Be President anyway. One of which is (spoiler alert) he probably can’t win his own state.
But these are strange times so—who knows? with a Koch-infusion and somebody putting the right words in his mouth and a case of Poland Spring under the podium maybe Rubio can beat Hillary. Or, maybe pigs will fly past us as we’re traveling to Oz?