Wave Goodbye, Marco
The Republican Party and the mainstream media have invested a lot in the narrative of Marco Rubio as the head of the golden ticket for the GOP establishment. (Never mind that just a couple years ago they also branded him as the "darling of the Tea Party.") One need look no further than his "victory speech" when he came in third in Iowa to know that he's cashing in on it as well.
Reciting a victory speech for losing is indicative of Rubio, because his entire political career and the narrative that goes with it is based on a myth. Rubio rewrote the story of his parents coming here from Cuba and he was easily caught in a lie simply because he couldn't count. (How "inspired" can you be by your parents' story when you can't even get the dates right?) He says that Ronald Reagan is his mentor, yet if you look at what Rubio claims to stand for, it's the fictitious Reagan the right has created that he admires, not the one who actually existed.
Rubio claims he pulled himself up by his bootstraps and lived paycheck to paycheck. Nope. He's climbed the career ladder on rungs of favors and money from highly placed political insiders and the rich. His "living paycheck to paycheck" was really living off a Republican Party credit card and PACS while working as a lobbyist and a lawmaker. He's enriched himself with cushy jobs he really didn't "work" at very hard, from so-called teaching positions at universities where he was paid more than those who actually earned their positions, to his current job as a Senator where he holds the record for missed votes, not just since he began running for President, but since he got to Washington. The minute he landed the job, he went to work crafting a narrative for his own political future by making speeches and publishing books that were probably written by others.
In short, Marco Rubio is a myth. But that's only part of the myth, because what he isn't is a "moderate" as he and the media narrative would have you believe. When you peel away the other horrible GOP candidates, Rubio is just as radical and extreme as the rest. He's just quieter about it. Trump speaks of databases for Muslims and rounding them up, where Rubio wants to monitor places where they gather. Trump called Mexicans drug dealers and rapists, while "Immigration Rubio" says he wants others to have the opportunity to live the American dream as he did, yet he's pulling up the ladder behind him and burning it just in case, including rejecting President Obama's prospects for improved U.S. relations with Cuba. Ted Cruz speaks of carpet bombing other countries, and while Rubio hasn't yet proposed war crimes, his warmongering views are crafted by neocons and they aren't that different. Cruz recently hung out with the "kill the gays" religious crowd, while Rubio has spent his share of time in the past with many similar fanatics.
Rubio's proposed SCOTUS appointees who will turn back the clock on gay marriage, and he wants rape victims to carry their attacker's child because "he" chooses life at all costs, just as long as those same mothers and children don't want health care now, nor a safety net later on. He's bragging about making it harder and more expensive to get health insurance for everyday Americans, while also voluntarily enjoying the benefits of Obamabcare for himself and his family. Of course, if he could end Obamacare period, he would. After all, he can well afford insurance without the subsidy he's enjoying now simply because he can.
If you look at his proposals, they read like a wish list from the Koch brothers, because they are. (He wouldn't have gotten into the Senate without them.) Cutting taxes for the rich who are barely paying any as it is now, while letting the "free market" loose at everyone else's expense. He claims he's "not a scientist" and says the climate is always changing, but he's really saying what his oil company donors have dictated to him, which is kill any regulation and taxes that will cut into their profits, planet be damned. He wants guns for everyone, including those on the no-fly list because freedom! He wants to end Social Security by raising the retirement age, and Medicare, which his well crafted message calls "strengthening." He wants to privatize the VA, while creating more veterans with "boots on the ground" in "fill in the blank." Regulations that protect consumers? Gone. Unions? Crushed. Minimum wage? Forget it. Education? Good luck jumping through his hoops to get one.
And because his ideas are extremely unpopular with those who are actually paying attention to them, he's all for making it that much harder to vote.
He promises he's the candidate of the future when what he really wants is to set back the clock.
But here's the problem with living a myth. When you've been at it as long as Rubio, you start to believe it, especially when others keep reinforcing it. Those of us who've watched Rubio in action for years here in Florida have heard the same canned speech so many times we could recite it ourselves in our sleep. No doubt he can too. But all that time he's spent memorizing talking points crafted for him by others is about to be tested. Because he can't go off script. He doesn't stick to FOX for broadcast messaging and steer clear of actual one on one conversations with voters for no reason. If you take away his talking points, you have a fumbling robot whose battery is running low. He's never existed in the real world and has no idea what it's like for those who do. If any given scenario doesn't play out the way his index cards tell him, he's lost. I don't like, nor do I agree with anything Chris Christie says, but I have to say he was spot on when he compared Rubio to a "bubble boy." Many of us, myself included, have been saying this for a long time, and we've waited to see when the rest of the country would notice.
They finally have.
"When I'm President" Marco Rubio has spent his entire career inside a bubble based on myths and fantasies. He can't exist outside of one. His rise in the polls, coupled with his rising confidence that commanded him to give a victory speech even though he came in third in Iowa, means he may finally get the first test that bursts that bubble when the knives come out from others in his own party, beginning with the debate tonight.
Our country will be better for it if he fails.