Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Who Ever Decided To Call It A "Deep Bench" Never Looked To Closely At What Makes Rubio Tick


Rubio's excuse for abandoning his Senate seat while running for president-- which is not what fellow Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz or Bernie Sanders have done-- is that mere senators and congressmen can't get anything done anyway. I suspect most of his colleagues would beg to differ. What he's done is kind of similar to what Chris Christie did by spending 72% of his time outside of New Jersey. Both of these guys should resign and stop cheating the citizens of Florida and New Jersey. Rubio doesn't just miss votes. He has completely abandoned the crucial Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard he chairs, which has only had 2 meetings since he became chairman and is crucial for Climate Change planning, a pretty important issue for many of his constituents. Ironically, Christie was slinging mud at Rubio for missing Senate votes. These guys have no sense of self-awareness at all... or maybe no respect for the voters. Yesterday Christie tore into Rubio with a vengeance: "I just don't think Marco Rubio's going to be able to slime his way to the White House." No, that wasn't Herr Trumpf it was Christie.

"The guy who advocated for amnesty and then ran away when the topic got too hot tells you two things: He’s not a reliable conservative, A, and B, whenever it gets too hot, Marco turns tail and runs. I’m not the least bit concerned that Marco Rubio will hurt me with conservatives. Marco Rubio has work himself to do with conservatives."
Yesterday Chuck Todd and his colleagues at MTP's "First Read," noted that the rest of the GOP field has pounced on the Jersey pig-boy lately. "Kasich's Super PAC," he wrote, "has whacked Christie over New Jersey's budget deficit; Jeb Bush's Right to Rise Super PAC jabbed the New Jersey governor (as well as Kasich); and yesterday, Marco Rubio's Super PAC threw the kitchen sink at Christie [ad below]. 'One high-tax, Common Core, liberal-energy loving, Obamacare-Medicaid-expanding president is enough,' the Rubio Super PAC ad goes."

But the big battle shaping up is to see who will face Herr Trumpf in the end-- Cruz of Rubio. Cruz has probably noticed that every time Rubio attacks him, which he does frequently and with increasing desperation, Cruz's numbers go up. So he's not punching down all that much. The new NBC national tracking poll released yesterday shows Cruz with 18% trailing Trumpf (35%) and Rubio struggling to stay in double digits down at 13%.

Right-wing writer Byron York points to the stretch that Rubio has been making in his senseless and ineffective jihad against Cruz, noting that he's now "quick to accuse his fellow Republicans of aiding the world's most notorious terrorist organization. 'If ISIS had lobbyists in Washington, they would have spent millions to support the anti-intelligence law that was just passed with the help of some Republicans now running for president,' Rubio said in foreign policy speech delivered Monday in Hooksett, New Hampshire." Rubio, the old fashioned neocon who doesn't quite understand that the consititution prohibits domestic spying on American citizens for a reason, was talking about Rand Paul and, more importantly, Ted Cruz. Rubio-- like I said, desperate-- went so far as to note, referring to Cruz and Paul that "We have isolationist candidates who are apparently more passionate about weakening our military and intelligence capabilities than they are about destroying our enemies."
On the campaign trail, Rubio has been citing the USA Freedom Act to accuse Cruz of weakening national security. Now, Rubio has escalated his attack, saying Cruz and ISIS were on the same side with the legislation.

Beyond going wildly over the top, has Rubio looked at who else voted for the USA Freedom Act? There are a lot of Republicans-- conservatives whose support Rubio will need in this campaign-- who acted, in Rubio's telling, in concert with those imaginary ISIS lobbyists.

The bill passed by a vote of 67 to 32 in the Senate and 338 to 88 in the House.

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley voted for the USA Freedom Act. Rubio's ISIS-would-support-that-bill accusation surely can't sit well with the senior GOP senator in the nation's first-voting state. (The other Iowa Republican in the Senate, Joni Ernst, voted against the bill.)

Iowa's three-member Republican House delegation split on the bill, with Rep. David Young voting for it, and Reps. Steve King (a Cruz endorser) and Rod Blum against it.

In New Hampshire, the only Republican senator, Kelly Ayotte, voted for the USA Freedom Act. She most likely does not feel that she did the bidding of imagined ISIS lobbyists. (New Hampshire's only Republican congressman, Frank Guinta, voted against the bill.)

In South Carolina, Sen. Tim Scott, a key figure in that state's presidential politics, voted for the Freedom Act. He, too, most likely does not feel he did ISIS's bidding. The state's other senator, Lindsey Graham, did not vote, although he surely would have voted against the bill.

South Carolina has six Republican members of the House. They split evenly, with Trey Gowdy, Joe Wilson, and Tom Rice voting yes, and Mark Sanford, Mick Mulvaney, and Jeff Duncan voting no. (It should be noted that some of the "no" votes in the House were from Republicans who felt the bill did not go far enough in restricting government surveillance, the opposite of Rubio's position.)

Gowdy not only voted for the USA Freedom Act, he was one of the bill's original co-sponsors in the House. That is remarkable, because Rubio was absolutely delighted recently to win Gowdy's endorsement, even bringing Gowdy to Iowa to speak at Rubio events. And now, Rubio portrays those who voted for the Freedom Act as somehow helping ISIS by passing a bill the terrorist organization would surely support.

Again: "If ISIS had lobbyists in Washington, they would have spent millions to support the anti-intelligence law that was just passed with the help of some Republicans now running for president," Rubio said.

...It's an understatement to say that Ted Cruz is not universally liked among Republicans. But it's also hard to see how Rubio could convince many GOP voters, even those who don't support Cruz, that Cruz is somehow soft on national defense. And yet that is apparently what Rubio hopes to do.

In the third Republican debate, Rubio memorably smacked down Jeb Bush after Bush clumsily attacked Rubio's Senate attendance record. "The only reason why you're doing it now is because we're running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you," Rubio said to Bush.

Now Rubio is swinging wildly at Cruz, because they're running for the same position and, perhaps, because someone has convinced him that doing so will help him. It seems hard to believe it will.
Poor young fogey! The robotic little candidate has so much on his mind these days and the last thing he needs is for all the old fast living, coke and cash charges to break out into the open. (I get the feeling the Democrats want to wait to see if he gets the nomination before the Sacramento Party House becomes an issue.) Meanwhile, though, the Washington Post let the national audience know what Floridians have long known about Marco: there's something sleazy about this guy that's even sleazier than most politicians, sleazy that a seasoned sleaze-bag who's been doing it for decades, like Schumer, knows how to cover up but that a young fogey gets tripped up on.
When Marco Rubio was majority whip of the Florida House of Representatives, he used his official position to urge state regulators to grant a real estate license to his brother-in-law, a convicted cocaine trafficker who had been released from prison 20 months earlier, according to records obtained by the Washington Post.

In July 2002, Rubio sent a letter on his official statehouse stationery to the Florida Division of Real Estate, recommending Orlando Cicilia “for licensure without reservation.” The letter, obtained by the Washington Post under the Florida Public Records Act, offers a glimpse of Rubio using his growing political power to assist his troubled brother-in-law and provides new insight into how the young lawmaker intertwined his personal and political lives.

Rubio did not disclose in the letter that Cicilia was married to his sister, Barbara, or that the former cocaine dealer was living at the time in the same West Miami home as Rubio’s parents. He wrote that he had known Cicilia “for over 25 years,” without elaborating.

Rubio has avoided discussing Cicilia’s case in detail and has declined to answer questions about his relationship with his brother-in-law. Earlier this month, prior to The Post publishing an article about Cicilia’s case, Rubio declined to answer a written question about whether he had helped win the approval of his brother-in-law’s real estate license.

Rubio also declined to say whether he or his family received financial assistance from Cicilia, who was convicted in a high-profile 1989 trial of distributing $15 million worth of cocaine. The federal government seized Cicilia’s home; the money has never been found.

Cicilia, 58, could not be reached for comment. He still lives in the same home as Rubio’s mother and has appeared at campaign events for his brother-in-law. Rubio-affiliated PACs and campaigns, including his ongoing presidential operation, have paid Cicilia’s two sons more than $130,000 in the past decade.

...Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, a government watchdog group in Washington, said Rubio’s role concerned her.

“Someone who serves their time should be a productive member of society, and it’s important for families to help each other, but it’s wrong to use your public office for personal or private gain,” Brian said.

By not disclosing his relationship, Rubio withheld a key piece of information from the real estate board, Brian added. “The general rule of thumb I apply to conflicts of interest is, if you can’t eliminate them, you need to manage them by disclosing the conflict,” she said. “I’m uncomfortable that he didn’t acknowledge the conflict.”

Rubio, a Republican who represents Florida in the U.S. Senate, was a 16-year-old high school junior in 1987 when Cicilia was arrested in one of the largest drug cases in Florida history. There has never been any evidence that Rubio or his family knew that Cicilia was dealing cocaine, although Drug Enforcement Administration surveillance records show Cicilia stored cocaine from the drug ring at his home, a few miles away from where Rubio and his parents lived.
Rubio has been lucky. He's never been caught. And once he was in Tallahassee he had David Rivera handling the dirty work for him. Is that guy in prison yet or did he flee the country again? Or running for Congress again?

Rivera brings an aura of impropriety with him when he shows up at Marco's events

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