Drink To Denial, Promote Hate With A Smile
When it comes to being the butt of an American joke, you could say Florida is the nation's hanging chad.
Thanks to members of the Republican Party down here this week, the state's reputation will remain intact for years to come unless people wake up and vote out these purveyors of ignorance, intolerance, and shameless profiteering.
On that front, for now, it looks like there may be one down but several more to go.
First of all, there's Marco Rubio. He's the cardboard cutout turned talking point robot who hit the ground running....for higher office just as soon as he secured a spot and an easy government paycheck in the U.S. Senate. He sold himself to the magical thinkers in the voting booth in 2010, but promptly burned them all by never showing up to fight for them like he promised. Instead, he went on a self-promotional tour that lasted five years, but now seems surprised that his presidential plans, not to mention his political career in general, has largely crashed and burned. While he's branded another part-time Florida GOP gem, Donald Trump, a con artist (and rightfully so), his own con game has been on full display this past month.
For starters, Rubio claims to be the tough guy America needs in the White House, yet he's been afraid to take on Trump until only recently, because, to quote Rubio's words to rival Jeb Bush: “The only reason you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position. Someone convinced you attacking me is going to help you.” When his poll numbers kept crashing and he kept tanking in state after state, he did what he accused Jeb! of doing. Out of desperation, Rubio attempted to play Trump's game to beat Trump. It backfired miserably. So after several rallies that made him look more like a 12-year-old than a presidential candidate, Rubio's programmers put him back into "very serious candidate" mode. It was, of course, too late. Voters already had his number, and it showed at the polls.
Last night, in possibly his final moment in the national spotlight as a presidential wannabe, Rubio proved voters right again: That he can't be trusted to look out for anyone's interests but his own.
One of those stark moments came when he was asked about climate change, which is slowly drowning South Florida, his own home. The mayor of Miami, who endorsed Rubio, has pleaded with him and others in their party to act on climate change, but when asked last night if he would take that advice, Rubio's answer was basically, "Nope, just grow gills." Instead of solutions to the problem, Rubio reverted to his now tired, nonsensical talking points, that the climate is always changing, that we can't pass laws to change the weather, that America is a country, not a planet, but killing both is far better than killing short-term profits and cheap gas, and China won't do anything so why should we? (Never mind that we just took part in an historic climate agreement that included China and other countries Rubio calls out as examples, and the moderators of the debate didn't bother to fact check him on it.)
Nope, Rubio let the state down again while pretending that voters here are so stupid that they would rather save a buck now to lose everything later when the state is swallowed by a problem that needs no solution in Rubio's mind, because big oil and the Koch brothers might cut him off, which is likely to happen anyway after this week. But voters are on to him, and soon they will be rid of Rubio in the Senate, and probably as a presidential candidate as well, barring his Plan B., essentially being undeservedly handed the nomination on a silver platter by his party against the wishes of their voters.
Unfortunately the same probably can't be said for Trump, who Rubio and all the other candidates, not to mention the party, vow to stand in solidarity with should he become their nominee, despite the ugliness he's brought out into the open while the rest of the party preferred to take the dog whistle route.
Speaking of Trump, evil, and running government like a business, this brings us to another moment in which a member of the Florida GOP seized the national spotlight and focused it squarely on shameless pandering to the current whites only hate-fest destroying what's left of his party: Governor Rick Scott.
Scott has been enjoying the nation's focus on Florida this week for his own shameless brand of self-promotion as he eyes bigger ways to run the government like a business of his own when his second term destroying Florida expires.
When Morning Joe, of recent professional Trump peddling fame, came calling to ask why he hasn't endorsed anyone prior to next week's primary, they seemed to try in vain to get him to either endorse already, and/or bail Trump out of a tight spot. But as Floridians already know too well, Rick Scott is a professional question dodger. He's also a big Trump fan, and as Trump's winning, Scott no doubt sees a future in that, so he wasn't about to say anything that could hurt his political future in a Trump administration, or a profitable one in a future government-business deal, so he did the usual tap dance. Still, the question he chose to avoid answering this time may have done more to hurt him in the eyes of those who aren't familiar with him yet than it helped him.
So, to those in America who haven't already been formally introduced, meet Florida Governor Rick Scott:
“Would you tell your friend Donald Trump that he should walk back his statements that Muslims, that Islam, hates America? Do you think Muslims in the state of Florida hate America?”
“Well, as you know, in Florida we’re the best melting pot in the world. We love everybody coming to our state.”
“That could be a reasonable policy position if you want to debate that, and we can debate that issue. I’m just asking, generally, do you think that Muslims hate Americans, that Islam hates America as Donald Trump said last night."
“I can tell you what’s going on in Florida.”
“Do you personally think that Islam is a religion that hates America?”
“We’re a great melting point. That’s what I can tell you about our state,” Scott said. “Donald Trump, he can talk about the things he wants to talk about. Marco Rubio can, Ted Cruz, John Kasich...”
And Scott continued tap dancing around the question a few more minutes until his mic was cut and he was thrown off the show.
So there you have it, America, welcome to our world. If you're looking for solutions to the country's problems, an answer to something that's pretty simple and a no brainer to those who are civilized, or your basic reality-based views, don't look to Florida for them anytime soon. After all, Florida has done more than its part to contribute to the 2016 GOP clown bus. Heck, with Jeb! Bush, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee all hailing from the Sunshine State, months and months later they still can't even manage to choose a driver to take them over the cliff.
When it comes to climate change, or anything else of significance, it's surprising the rest of the country hasn't sided with Marco Rubio, but for entirely different reasons, and just come out and said "Go ahead Florida. Sink or swim. We'll watch."