Friday, November 27, 2015

Marco Rubio-- A Drastically Overrated And Unprepared Young Fogey


Elderly Republican establishment types thought Rubio could save them from the Trumpf-Cruz onslaught because... he has a Hispanic name? He got a weave to cover up his bald spot? Because they believe the Koch brothers can buy off Hispanic voters for him? He's got what it takes to capture the youth vote? Rubio has always appeared to me to be a mean, crusty old man trapped in a younger man's body. Spanish-language media caught on sooner than mainstream media has and routinely refers to him as "un joven viejo (a young fogey). It takes around a minute and a half of going through his positions on issues to realize he's not capturing any of the youth vote besides some poor schlubbs whose parents made them go through home-schooling-- and that segment of the vote is being contested by Cruz, Santorum, Huckabee, Dr. Ben and even Trumpy as well.

I mean millennials seem to care a lot about Climate Change, right? That's not exactly a Rubio strong suit. In fact, Climate Scientists, asked to grade all the Republican candidates on Climate Science gave Rubio a really low F. They all got F's but Rubio's F was based on being wrong 79% of the time. Yes, the Republican who's gonna excite the kids scored a 21%-- better than Dr. Ben's 13%, sure but worse than Fiorina (28%), Rand Paul (38%), Kasich (47%), Christie (54%) or the Jebster (64%). How does that hold up against Hillary. She got a 94%.

As for the openness and acceptance that millennials are reputed to represent... not a strong suit for Rubio either. He may look-- to some-- like a reasonable guy, he's another Republican homophobic maniac, filled with the kind of bigotry and prejudice younger voters detest and run away from. In an interview on the hip and happening Pat Robertson Christian Broadcasting Network yesterday, kewl Marco insisted that Supreme Court decisions on women's choice and gay marriage are anything but "settle law." He's ready to keep fighting and contended that red state governments should ignore the Supreme Court when they believe their rulings go against, what he called "God’s rules."
We are clearly called, in the Bible, to adhere to our civil authorities, but that conflicts with also a requirement to adhere to God’s rules. When those two come in conflict, God’s rules always win. In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin, violate God’s law and sin; if we’re ordered to stop preaching the gospel; if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that. We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin... If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called on to participate in that process to try to change it-- not ignoring it, but trying to change the law. And that’s what we’re endeavoring to do here. I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman.
I suppose what he's saying there is something like, "elect me and I'll pick Supreme Court judges who will turn back the clock and outlaw marriage equality and women's choice-- no exceptions for anything. Who knows what other reactionary policies he would use as part of his litmus test.

Policy aside, Rubio still wants non-evangelical supporters-- like gay-friendly billionaire hedge fund predator Paul Singer maybe?-- that he's fine with the gays. Even though Rubio hired crazy homo-hater Eric Teetsel as his director of faith outreach to pacify Iowa evangelicals who worry that Rubio is too beholden to Singer, he knows he can just Teetsel after the primary.
It all highlights just how politically dicey the marriage issue can be for Republicans. Same-sex marriage is supported by a majority of Americans and a growing number of Republicans, particularly younger ones. But it’s still very unpopular among white evangelicals, a major GOP voting bloc that holds a lot of sway in states with early primary contests, such as Iowa and South Carolina.

Singer, a major GOP donor, endorsed Rubio last month. When New York legalized same-sex marriage in 2011, Singer played a pivotal role in the successful effort by meeting with Republican legislators and spending significant sums on advertising to praise the move’s backers.

Just a year later, the billionaire’s future presidential favorite cut an automated phone call for an organization that fought Singer tooth-and-nail in the halls of Albany: the National Organization for Marriage, which is the country’s most energetic and outspoken group fighting same-sex marriage. NOM teamed up with the Floridian to tape robocalls about the importance of opposing marriage equality. The calls went to swing-state voters and voters in states where the issue was on the ballot.

Now Rubio is tap-dancing around the mess by hiring the toxic Teetsel. Last week the New Yorker feature on Rubio was aptly entitled The Opportunist. An alternative title could have been "The GOP's Completely Scripted Candidate." Or phony candidate. He's both. In his self-serving autobiography he admits he was an "inattentive and undisciplined student," which helps account for why he always sounds like an overly ambitious automaton who's memorized whatever he says and is just regurgitating it from memory.
Rubio, who has entered six elections and never lost, is alert to the appearance of overweening ambition. “All my life I’ve been in a hurry to get to my future,” he wrote in his memoir, An American Son, published in 2012, his second year in the Senate. In conversation, he sometimes answers so quickly that his friend Dennis Baxley, a Republican in the Florida House, once gave him a piece of advice. “I said, ‘Marco, don’t change anything you’re saying, but just wait, like, three seconds before you say it, and you’ll look so pensive.’ ” When things go wrong, Rubio’s impatience can suggest a man climbing too fast for his own good. In Washington foreign-policy circles, people remember a moment at the Brookings Institution, in April, 2012, when Rubio was delivering a major foreign-policy speech. Reaching the final page, he discovered that it had been removed accidentally from the lectern. Some politicians might have improvised; Rubio stopped awkwardly, in mid-sentence, and asked for the page to be returned.

...On several issues, Rubio has taken a position that suits the faithful in the primaries but is guaranteed to repel voters in a general election. His most obvious vulnerability is on abortion. In the first Republican debate, Rubio said that his opposition to abortion extends to cases of rape or incest – a position at odds with that of more than three-quarters of Americans. [David] Axelrod told me, “No exceptions is a position so extreme that no Republican candidate has ever held it. Presidential races are defined by moments. Maybe he will try to amend that position, but in the age of video it’s hard to extinguish a declarative statement like that.”

When I asked Rubio about it, he said, somewhat confusingly, “Look, I personally believe that all life is worthy of protection, and therefore I don’t ever require, nor have I ever advocated, that I won’t support a law unless it has exceptions.” After some more twists and turns, I sensed that we had reached the line he plans to use in a general election: “My goal is to save as many lives as possible, and I’ll support anything that does that. Even if it has exceptions.”
People who actually know about foreign policy, also know that Marco Rubio doesn't. As Michael Brendan Dougherty, who does, put it in his Rubio essay for This Week, Rubio is criminally overrated on foreign policy, basically by people who know even less about it that Rubio does. Rubio brags about his purported foreign policy expertise incessantly. Dougherty refers to Rubio's discombobulated and incoherent ideas on foreign policy as "dumber than a brick in a tumble-dryer" as well as "dangerous" and points out that the depth of Rubio's "knowledge"-- even of fundamental basics like the difference between Shiites and Sunnis-- is somewhat akin to an average junior high school kid's.
[G]iven the record of Republican hawks over the last two decades, I wouldn't be surprised if a future Rubio administration ends up [arming Islamic State fighters and providing "devastating air support" to them], through a mixture of hubris, democratizing enthusiasm, and sheer stupidity-- just as the Bush administration cheered on democratic elections that empowered Hamas, and a war that led to a destabilized Iraq where Sunni extremism now flourishes. Bush was not alone: Other GOP hawks cheered on revolutions and civil wars that led not to liberal democracies, but terrorism, extremism, and anarchy.

Rubio has a reputation for foreign policy expertise because he chooses to talk about foreign policy often, promises large budgets to the Pentagon, and mostly pronounces the words correctly. Rubio's foreign policy consists of babyish moralizing, a cultivated ignorance of history, and a deliberate blindness to consequences. This is the same "foreign policy expertise" that led to a misbegotten war in Iraq and empowered Sunni insurgencies across the Middle East.

It will be enormously popular among people who think nothing of wasting money and other people's lives. Or as Rubio may one day call them from the West Wing, "my fellow Americans."



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