Not This Again
Floridians don't like Marco Rubio, mostly because the feeling is mutual.
Now Rubio, who swore he wouldn't "a thousand times," has decided to run for reelection just two days before the filing deadline, because it's the least he can do for them while still earning a paycheck from them. I say this because ever since he got to the Senate, he literally has done the least he can for them. He's rarely showed up for work because he was too busy practicing to run for President for years, and later because he actually tried to run for President. (All that practice didn't help.) On the rare occasion he did show up, it was usually to vote against anything and everything that would actually help Floridians and all Americans, or to take things away from them that Democrats made possible, like health care.
Worse, the last thing he did before announcing he would run was voting to make sure terrorists can still get access to guns, and voting against background checks for gun purchases, less than a week after 49 people were gunned down in Florida in the worse mass shooting in U.S. history. Both things are favored overwhelmingly among his constituents, Democrats and Republicans alike.
Yet fresh off those votes, fresh from losing the presidential primary in a landslide, especially in his home state of Florida, and after months of telling people he hated his job and would never run again, he's "changed his mind." So as Floridians were preparing to wave him an extremely happy farewell, he's decided to inflict another (?) years on them to keep his stepping stone to higher office in place.
And while he played coy about running again, he actually had the nerve to say he "was inspired" to rethink his position after the Orlando shooting. Perhaps that inspiration is gone now that he's voted to make it easier for a repeat in the future, because he made no mention of it in his statement today.
Here are just a few of the highlights from that statement, where he pretends his latest flip-flop is even more noble than all the others that came before, because why not? This is what he does.
I have often said that the U.S. Senate can be a frustrating place. And it’s true. After witnessing the gridlock that grips Washington, I think just about every American – Democrat or Republican – would agree.
Never mind that Rubio has helped make that gridlock possible by proudly standing with his GOP colleagues against things while blaming everything on Democrats and President Obama. In fact, when the Tea Party version of Rubio was running for his seat back in 2010, he even said he thought Congress should be shut down for two years once he got there.
But the Senate is also a place from which you can perform great services for the people you have the honor of representing. And I am proud of the work we have done to help thousands of Floridians over the last six years.
"So proud" is Rubio of things like trying to take away Floridians' health care, voting to hasten climate change for big oil, blocking women's health choices and abortions even in the case of rape or incest, trying to block same sex marriage, voting against the Violence Against Women Act, and again, voting to make sure guns are readily and easily available to anyone who wants them, especially terrorists, just to name a few of those "great services" Rubio has performed.
The Senate can also be a place from which great policy advances can be made. I am proud that we have done that too.
Rubio has to say "can also be" here because the only notable policy he ever tried to advance himself was immigration, and, speaking of gridlock, Rubio then voted against it, dooming it to defeat. But hey, coulda, woulda, shoulda!
But as we begin the next chapter in the history of our nation, there’s another role for the Senate that could end up being its most important in the years to come: The Constitutional power to act as a check and balance on the excesses of a president.
Control of the Senate may very well come down to the race in Florida. That means the future of the Supreme Court will be determined by the Florida Senate seat. It means the future of the disastrous Iran nuclear deal will be determined by the Florida Senate seat. It means the direction of our country’s fiscal and economic policies will be determined by this Senate seat. The stakes for our nation could not be higher.
Now we get to the actual reasons Rubio is running again. One being Republican control of the country. The race for his Senate seat on the Republican side is a train wreck in Florida right now. Democrats were on course to win it back after Rubio's hasty retreat. So others are stepping aside to allow Rubio the chance to lose a second election in one year, although they think his chances are better than theirs. Democrats (and many Republicans) beg to differ.
And then there's the biggest actual reason Rubio has decided to run: Marco Rubio for President, 2.0.
There’s also something else. No matter who is elected president, there is reason for worry.
With Hillary Clinton, we would have four more years of the same failed economic policies that have left us with a stagnant economy. We would have four more years of the same failed foreign policy that has allowed radical Islam to spread, and terrorists to be released from Guantanamo. And even worse, if Clinton were president and her party took control of Congress, she would govern without Congressional oversight or limit. It would be a repeat of the early years of the current administration, when we got Obamacare, the failed stimulus and a record debt.
Rubio proceeds here with the same old stale stump speech he made in the primaries that he was rejected over. We get it: Hillary! Bad! But no, Marco, the economy isn't "stagnant," nor has President Obama's foreign policy failed, and the president has bagged more terrorists than any other including OBL, who Republicans and George W. Bush yawned at. And let's remember, it's Marco Rubio who just voted to make sure terrorists can easily get ahold of guns, while President Obama and Hillary Clinton have both pushed to prevent this. Meanwhile, Obamacare is a success, and the stimulus was far from a failure. As for the debt, Rubio has no qualms about the rising debt when it comes to pushing for more defense spending, more wars (see his Iran comments below), and more tax cuts for the rich.
The prospect of a Trump presidency is also worrisome to me. It is no secret that I have significant disagreements with Donald Trump. His positions on many key issues are still unknown. And some of his statements, especially about women and minorities, I find not just offensive but unacceptable. If he is elected, we will need Senators willing to encourage him in the right direction, and if necessary, stand up to him. I’ve proven a willingness to do both.
Yes, we know Rubio pretends to have disagreements with Trump, while also supporting him as the GOP nominee, as President, and volunteering to speak on his behalf at the Republican Convention. In fact his stance on Trump is different every day depending on how it plays politically for Rubio. "Little Marco" has called him unstable, unfit to be President and warned of the very real dangers if he were to get anywhere near the nuclear codes, but also supports him in all those things just as long as there's an "R" behind his name, because Rubio and his party come first before the country.
As for Trump's treatment of women and minorities, beyond the ugly rhetoric Trump uses, there's little policy daylight there between Trump and Rubio. Marco just pretends his faith allows him to proceed as a soldier in the GOP war on women, and minorities don't even make his radar unless he's pulling up the ladder behind him and burning it when it comes to immigration.
No matter who wins the White House, we need a strong group of principled, persuasive leaders in Congress who will not only advance limited government, free enterprise and a strong national defense, but also explain to Americans how it makes life better for them and their families. I ultimately changed my mind about this race because on that front, and in that fight, I believe I have something to offer.
You see? It's not about what his constituents might want, it's what the Republican Party and Marco Rubio want, same as it ever was. Limiting government's ability to help you, letting free enterprise run over you, more wars, and robbing you of health care won't make your life better, but Rubio's big corporate donors will love it.
In the end, this was a decision made not in Washington, but back home in West Miami over Father’s Day weekend, with my wife and our four children.
There were two paths before us. There was one path that was more personally comfortable and probably smarter politically. But after much thought and prayer, together we chose to continue with public service; to continue down the path that provides the opportunity to make a positive difference at this critical and uncertain time for our nation.
In the end, there was simply too much at stake for any other choice.
Sure, just an impromptu decision mulled over on Father's Day with the family. How very apple pie of him. Never mind that when he announced, it was to national cable outlets in Washington rather than to his own constituents here at home.
How noble that the guy with the worst absentee record in the Senate would go with the less "comfortable" path of continuing to take a government paycheck for doing nothing. As for saying leaving the Senate would have been "smarter politically," that's quite the pretzel even for Rubio, who's told others this is the best way to pave the path for another Presidential run, although as far as Floridians are concerned, it may be politically stupid and uncomfortable for him indeed.