Marco Rubio: Beauty and the Beast

By Max J. Castro on November 10, 2015

Marco Rubio is the most dangerous Republican in America.

hqdefault-1-685x342He is not the most obnoxious, not by a long shot. Donald Trump has that dubious distinction locked up, and there are others I would put ahead of Rubio in this category. Indeed, Marco comes across as rather amiable. If all you knew about Rubio is how he presents himself, which he does very well, you might even vote for him.

He is young, handsome, articulate, knowledgeable about the issues, and intelligent enough for a politician (although not even in the same league as Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.) His tone is measured rather than shrill. He focuses on attacking the Democrats rather than participating in the circular firing squad which is the Republican nomination race. It is all of this that makes Rubio the perfect wolf in sheep’s clothing and the most dangerous Republican in the race.

Rubio presents a nice persona but his ideology and his policy positions from the time he was in the Florida legislature to this moment are mean, mean, mean.

The most vulnerable people in Florida – poor children in need of specialized health care, low-income working people who can’t afford private health insurance, the unemployed, incarcerated youths and adults who risk being injured or killed by out-of-control-guards – are paying dearly for the Robin-Hood-in-reverse policies of the Republican legislature and governor. In the meantime, the legislature has lavished tax benefit after tax benefit on rich individuals and even richer corporations.

I can imagine someone who, unlike myself, is a firm believer in the Gospels, Pope Francis for instance, looking at these warped priorities and denouncing them with one word: anti-Christian.

No one is more responsible for laying down these mean-spirited policies than then-Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio and his estranged buddy, former governor Jeb Bush. The fact that the current governor, Rick Scott, has doubled down on these priorities does nothing to excuse Rubio-Bush. Their actions laid down the blueprint for a world view and a politics that Francis might call anti-Christian and I call simply inhuman.

Let me give an example of the ideologically-driven essential meanness beneath Rubio’s slick presentation of self. A friend who used to run a big organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in Miami-Dade County asked Rubio to do something so that immigrant children might get decent health care. Rubio’s bottom line response was this: “We don’t want to create another entitlement.”

Perish the thought that sick children have a right to health care! Rubio’s remark was nothing more than a stock Republican talking point, the kind of thing he might have learned at those seminars run by right-wing groups to ensure legislatures are controlled by right-thinking members now and into the future. But that doesn’t detract from the sheer savagery, the elemental indecency. What society in the world that this country considers a peer (similar political system, high GDP per capita) would question a child’s entitlement to health care?

Translating into words what would be better expressed through a Venn diagram, the intersection between decent societies and societies that would deny children health care is an empty set. That means that right now we don’t live in a decent society. We may shout to the four winds that we are the most generous nation in history. Until health care is a right of every person in this country, few outside our borders will not believe us.

When the initial shock set off by the murderous attacks of 9/11 began to ease into mourning, many began to ask the question: “Why do they hate us?” Politicians and pundits quickly jumped in to supply what became the generally accepted answer: Because of our freedom.

Undoubtedly, that’s true of a few fanatics. But outside this thankfully limited number of plain haters, there is another more powerful reason. Most people in the world know we really have the economic wealth to take care of the health and welfare of our own people, increase dramatically our aid to poor foreign countries, and still provide for more than the “adequate defense” envisioned by the Founders.

They also know that instead we choose to spend our money on military systems, hare-brained invasions, and interventionist adventures of all sorts. And when it comes to aid, we give the lion’s share to a rich country, Israel, mainly in the form of weapons. The right-wing governments’ that have run Israel since the unspeakable murder of Rabin twenty years ago this week have used those weapons to lay waste to huge slices of Lebanon, the Gaza strip, and even attack a peaceful Turkish flotilla! In each case, there have been many civilian casualties, including some Americans.

The point of this excursion is that a President Marco Rubio would double down on all these wrong-headed domestic and foreign policies. That’s the substantive danger, but the political danger is that he has an outside chance of getting into the White House whereas the other Republican don’t.

Let make one thing clear. I don’t think Rubio will become president. The Republicans have alienated the key Latino vote. As a Latino, Rubio might be expected to win some of that vote back. But he won’t get enough to make a difference. Rubio, for good and bad reasons, is just the kind of Latino the vast majority of Latinos in this country despise. Without decent numbers in the Latino electorate, the GOP can’t win. Rubio won’t get them.

So why is Rubio dangerous at all? There is a scenario where he might scrape into the White House by the skin of his teeth. Suppose there is mass voter rejection of the Democratic nominee. “Hell, no, I am not voting for a damned socialist!” “Hillary has lied about everything, the emails, Benghazi…We don’t want another lying Clinton in the White House!”

I have heard voters say just those sentiments, and they worry me. In such a scenario, and aided by the vicious campaign of vilification the Republicans have in store for any Democratic candidate, Rubio’s superficial reasonableness and his boyish good looks might give him a shot.

Yet I hope the voters would be able to see through that facade down to Rubio’s heart, where they would find nothing but an ideological black hole.

Source: Progreso Weekly