Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series covering why each and every candidate for president in 2016 is an awful human being who should not for the love of God be elected to any position of responsibility ever.
Marco Rubio has been starched, ironed, and his dials have been tuned to maximum likability and competence. The junior senator from Florida is handsome and young (for politics), and he isn’t just another boring middle-aged white guy for the Republicans to rally behind. While the Democrats choose between an ancient Jewish dude and an old white lady, the Republicans, if they choose to accept it, can pick the more fluent in Spanish candidate out of three possibilities (vaya con dios, Jeb!).
One thing the Republicans learned from the slow, sad petering out of Jeb Bush’s campaign is that neither they nor America are particularly interested in adding a third President Bush to the list. A second President Clinton, quite possibly. But she’d be a lady one! Having three males who were all born Bush just seems a bit too lizard-person oligarchical. If you need to continue doing the same old shit, but make it look as if you are breaking new ground, take a page from the Democrat’s “no, really, Clinton is a totally different candidates than the other centrist authoritarians because ovaries” strategy.
It’s nice that Rubio’s Cuban heritage is not a hindrance to his acceptance by the GOP. That’s the only nice thing about the checklist candidate who was the former speaker of the Florida House. On the few issues in which he was decent Rubio has gotten worse since he first sat in his Senate seat in 2011. He certainly has come down much harder on the issue of immigration. Because you’ve got to when you’re still in third place nationally. You’ve got to if you’re trying to steal the xenophobic demographic from Trump while still preaching vintage 2005 GOP-brand intervention and spying.
Speaking of peak Bush years, a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage would have been just fine with Marco Rubio. He was also a fan of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and thought it should stick around even if federalism (sigh) meant states could vote to legalize gay marriage if they must. Lately, he—like so many other would-be social conservatives–has grudgingly accepted that gay marriage is good and legal, federally-speaking.
Unsurprisingly, Rubio is opposed to the legal reasoning of Roe v. Wade and is dying to protect life at conception. He told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly while defending his pro-life purity against slurs that he is OK with rape or incest abortion exceptions, “I support any legislation that reduces the number of abortions, so that means a 20-week abortion ban” would be a step in the right direction.
Back when he was a state representative and being tough on crime was even more popular, Rubio was down with mandatory life sentences and DNA collection for certain sex crimes. Back in 2006 he also whined about there being too many appeals before prisoners get executed.
Today the senator is bold enough to support medical marijuana, but he is actively opposed to legalizing it for recreational use. Because, in Rubio’s view, there is no way to enjoy marijuana without plague and pestilence raining down upon American society. As recently as 2014 he was very gung-ho about the feds going after legal marijuana in the states. Clearly he isn’t as interested in federalism as some of his fellow GOPers.
MARCO RUBIO’S ODD ANSWER TO ‘DID YOU SMOKE MARIJUANA?’
Notably, Rubio used to be softer on immigration and amnesty for originally-illegal immigrants. He co-sponsored the dead Senate bill that might have led to reform (while also fattening the border security to twice its weight). Trump sucking the oxygen out of the room means that there isn’t even a place for George W. Bush-style immigration policy.
During Rand Paul’s 2013 anti-drone talking filibuster, Rubio skipped down to the Senate floor to vaguely help out, quote rappers and mostly to just remind people that he, Marco Rubio, still existed and was a Republican, and Republicans are better than Democrats.
By helping with Paul’s filibuster, which made many a headline, Rubio was reminding people that they might someday want to vote for him for a higher office. Those people turned out to be GOP standard-bearers such as Bob Dole or Orrin Hatch, who are appalled by Trump’s inability to be leashed by the party and by Sen. Ted Cruz’s lingering whiff of iconoclasm/wackobirdism.
Because darn if Rubio’s campaign motto (“A New American Century”) isn’t suspiciously close to the title of a defunct but deadly neocon think tank known as “The Project for a New American Century.” The latter’s power to actually provoke the U.S. into an invasion of Iraq has been debated, but the involvement and support of William Kristol, Dick Cheney and Jeb Bush, among other luminaries, is not.
Rubio is a hawk OR he wants to appeal to hawks OR – worst of all – both. He can be a proud hawk the way someone named Bush can’t be anymore, but maybe a guy named Rubio without a dynasty covered in the blood of a few hundred thousand dead people could redeem the good name of American nosiness.
Rubio is for going hard after ISIS and also Syrian President Bashar Assad, which shouldn’t be at all complicated. He wanted regime change in Libya and Syria. He most assuredly would have voted for the Iraq war had he been in national government in 2003.
On spying, Rubio is always on the side of the National Security Agency (NSA). So much so that he thought the compromise-reform of the USA Freedom Act was basically a big old cuddle with ISIS. Rubio would rather keep the enormously broad powers of USA PATRIOT’s section 215 for extra, super deluxe safety reasons. And better still, and stepping up Trump’s game of anti-Muslim chicken, Rubio wants to consider “closing down” places where radicalism brews, not just mosques. Like any good politician, Rubio did not clarify what that would actually entail or what sort of government force it might involve.
Rubio does seem like the good, safe, proper GOP choice. Many pundits and Rubio fans have been waiting for their man’s breakout moment. Yet the necessary enthusiasm for such a moment, even in the face of a Trump, Clinton or Cruz victory, appears to be a mirage. The Rubio engine has sputtered hopefully, then failed to turn over, in spite of some eager backers at big, important conservative media such as the Weekly Standard and National Review and more than $8.5 million in ads being splurged on Rubio as of December.
Ted Cruz isn’t the only senator who can score a reality show coup. The dude from Pawn Stars is down with Rubio. And as we all know, as Pawn Stars goes, so goes Storage Wars.
We have an excess of conspiracy theorists in the world, and one reason is the fact that men such as Marco Rubio give themselves campaign mottos that are one word removed from neocon think tank names. A New American Century. Seriously, just call it A New Bilderberg Century, dude. Fully troll Alex Jones.
In perma-third place, and never taking off, Rubio’s touted inevitability appears to be impossible.
He’s 44, but Rubio comes off like a teenage activist speaking at CPAC about his passion for ‘life’ and low taxes.
It doesn’t help that in his personality he comes off so trained. The late, lamented candidate Gov. Chris Christie nobly tried to commit campaign murder-suicide by accusing Rubio of being more talking points than man during the New Hampshire GOP debate. The resulting Rubio malfunction appeared to first bestow upon him a Mitt Romney-like reputation of a robotic nature. But it didn’t stick. Rubio isn’t even memorable enough to provoke such negative feedback. Hell, Romney was the nominee, and Rubio isn’t going to be unless something very different happens. Romney had his more moderate past that he had to squelch. Rubio is more pure conservative. In fact, never before was a man so carefully packaged to appeal to how his party looked a decade ago (including the initially “soft” immigration stance). Nobody told Rubio or his backers who are so desperate to preserve the status quo, but the flavor seems to have soured since the the mid-aughts.
He’s 44, but Rubio comes off like a teenage activist speaking at CPAC about his passion for “life” and low taxes. He knows he’s the most impressive kid at the grown-up table, but he’s never going to get a girlfriend if he doesn’t have some kind of rebellious phase. All the Wiz Khalifa quotes in the world can’t help Rubio escape his fate as the student council president who is about to lose the race to the guy who streaked during the football game.