I have never understood Marco Rubio’s appeal. To me, he’s a typical white as paste Republican. But given that he is a Cuban American, the Republicans can claim that he is a Latino and so he shows that the party has diversity. As it is, he got into the Senate because of a three-way race during a very pro-Republican year. He embarrassed himself when he gave the response to the State of the Union address. And his efforts at being a “reform” Republican were a total failure, despite being tepid. Above all, I see him as a man-boy: he seems like he ought to be the president of the college Young Republicans club.
It is possible that Rubio could catch on with the public. But at this point, I think he is mostly a big deal because he’s a Republican who the mainstream media can paint as a moderate. Of course, he is anything but. He’s a global warming denier. He’s against same sex marriage. He voted against the Violence Against Women Act — but of course he claimed that he wanted to vote for it but there was just this one thing that he couldn’t abide. He’s against relations with Cuba. And of course he’s virulently anti-choice and very much pro-gun. If the mainstream media reported on his policies accurately, he would never have a chance. But what are the odds that the mainstream media is going to be interested in his policy positions?
On Monday, Brian Beutler wrote, Marco Rubio Is the Most Disingenuous Republican Running for President. You see, the Republicans understand that all else being equal, they will lose any presidential election. The truth is that the Democrats are just more popular than the Republicans. So various candidates are looking for ways to seem more friendly to the middle class. They don’t want to be seen as candidates of the rich — the way that Mitt Romney was.
Back a year ago, Jonathan Chait wrote, I Have Seen the Future of the Republican Party, and It Is George W Bush. He argued that the Republicans were going to abandon their obsession with deficits and start spending like it was 2001. There was never any question of that. Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans never care about the budget when they are in power. And so Rubio is following this plan. Last year, he put together a tax plan that, unlike previous Republican plans, would actually help the middle class. Of course, that’s what Bush said. When the plan came out, it added $2.4 trillion to the federal debt over ten years. And it consisted mostly of tax cuts for the rich with some “modest middle class benefits” thrown in. But apparently, even this was too little for the plutocrats.
So Rubio came out with another plan. The new plan includes even more benefits for the rich. This includes the elimination of capital gains taxes and the inheritance tax. Rubio may be young, but his ideas are just a recycling of what Republicans always want to do. It’s interesting that Michael Gerson was praising Rubio’s “new ideas” and complaining that all Democrats want to do is push old ideas like raising the minimum wage to the level it was in 1969. Meanwhile, one of the big “new ideas” of the Republicans is to get rid of the minimum wage altogether. I’m looking forward to other “new ideas” like the 78 hour work week.
What we can depend on from Marco Rubio is that he will go right along with the conservative movement. Unlike liberals, conservatives aren’t expected to have “Sister Souljah moments.” Because the media will pretend that extremists like Rubio are actually moderates. There is really nothing ideologically that separates Rubio from Ted Cruz. But I’d actually rather have Cruz as a president. At least he is able to think for himself. Rubio is just another Republican automaton. He’s a Young Republican, all grown up.