Equal Time for Hispanics: Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio listens to Pope Francis in the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 24, 2015. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Marco Rubio listens to Pope Francis in the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 24, 2015. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Washington Post wrote in October,

The 44-year-old Floridian missed 10 percent of Senate votes last year, worse than all but 12 other senators, and missed 34 of 68 Foreign Relations Committee hearings and meetings. A vote he cast last Tuesday was his first in 26 days. It seems that Rubio has basically given up on the idea of ever getting anything done in the legislature, and he’s not running for re-election despite only having served one term.

This is a guy who can’t accomplish anything in a Congress controlled by his own party. This is a guy who dislikes Congress so much he isn’t running for re-election to the U.S. Senate, after just one term. But he wants to lead the United States. Really?

Let’s have a closer look at presidential wannabe Senator Marco Rubio (R, Florida).

Senator Rubio opposes same-sex marriage, opposes raising the minimum wage, and opposes restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba. That puts him out of step with most American Latinos. In the Spanish-language media, he is sometimes described as un joven viejo—a young fogey. Senator Rubio claims to dislike billionaire funding of political candidates, but his courtship of various conservative zillionaires is so notorious that Andy Borowitz can write, “Billionaire Acquires Rubio Pending Physical” and well all immediately get it.

Senator Rubio has lied to the voters. And more than once. One whopper is over his origins. He has described himself as the “son of Cuban exiles.” According to a New Yorker article last month, Senator Rubio said:

“Nothing against immigrants, but my parents are exiles,” he said during his U.S. Senate campaign. “Folks that are exiles are people that have lost their country.” But in October, 2011, the Washington Post and the St. Petersburg Times reported that, according to immigration records, his family had left Cuba voluntarily, as émigrés, aboard a commercial flight, in May, 1956, more than two and a half years before Fidel Castro took power. Like many other immigrants, Rubio’s parents, Oriales and Mario, left in pursuit of jobs and opportunity. (Mario, the bartender, died in 2010.) The Post suggested that Rubio had embellished his story to gain cachet with political refugees, some of whom regard pre-Castro migrants with suspicion.

If you need another move away from truth, Senator Rubio described his maternal grandfather, Pedro Víctor García,as his “closest boyhood friend.” But according to Rubio’s biographer, Manuel Roig-Franzia, in 1962 García arrived from Cuba without a visa and was eventually ordered to be deported. He stayed anyway, becoming an undocumented immigrant. So the Senator’s best buddy growing up was an illegal immigrant. Mr. Garcia eventually got his permanent residency in one of the United States’ periodic grants of amnesty to illegal immigrants. Now, of course, Senator Rubio is firmly opposed to grants of immunity to America’s 11-14 million illegal residents. The guy who supported the Dream Act abandoned his support because it was adversely affecting his polling.

Senator Rubio sometimes appears to be as impressionable as Play-doh™. He has been a Mormon, a Roman Catholic and a born-again Christian. He claims he read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged twice in his first term in the Florida state legislature; not an encouraging sign, and a shocking waste of time, but guaranteed to endear him to the Freedom Caucus.

He has trouble selecting his friends. David Rivera and Ralph Arza, two of his closest friends when he was in the Florida Legislature, are examples. Azra was forced to resign from the legislature in 2006, after he used the word “nigger” in a drunken message left on a colleague’s voice mail. He then pleaded guilty to intimidating a witness and agreed to undergo alcohol and anger counselling. Witness intimidation is a very serious matter; it goes to the heart of the justice system. Rivera is equally problematic. He has been the target of state and federal investigations into his income and into his alleged role in supporting a shadow candidate to undercut his rival in the 2012 campaign. WC’s grandfather told WC you are judged by the company you keep.

And Senator Rubio has trouble distinguishing his money from other people’s money. On several occasions, he has used his Republican Party American Express card to charge personal expenses—$3,765 for landscaping stones at his house, ten thousand dollars for a family reunion in Georgia, a hundred and thirty-four dollars in a hair salon. Yes, he paid it back when he was caught, but it doesn’t inspire confidence.

Since he announced his candidacy for President, Senator Rubiio, the son of immigrant, married to an immigrant, ha doubled down on in immigration enforcement. In October, he co-sponsored a bill that would punish “sanctuary” cities—localities that have objected to enforcing federal immigration laws. Democrats dubbed it the Trump-Rubio Sanctuary Cities Bill.

Leo Murrieta is Mexican-American, an immigrant and a naturalized citizen. He founded the Center for Latino Prosperity, a nonpartisan nonprofit that conducts research and advocacy. His opinion of Senator Rubio?

I’ve seen Marco Rubio give us lip service. I’ve seen him and his staff say that they support us. But then, when the spotlight is put on them, they don’t have the muscle to stand. And that’s not what we need in a President. We need someone who can stand up and stay true to what he’s said. One of us has forgotten where we came from.

And that selective amnesia is clearly the result of Senator Rubio’s political aspirations. You can’t get the Republican presidential nomination if you support a sensible immigration policy. The Senator has developed selective amnesia as regards his origins. Senator Rubio has sacrificed his life story and his principles to his ambition.

We don’t need an unscrupulous opportunist in the White House. We don’t need a candidate whose blind ambition overwhelms any principle. Whose only principle is to get elected President.


Update: Corrected typo identified by P. Eaglin. Thanks.


One thought on “Equal Time for Hispanics: Marco Rubio

  1. WC
    typo: “…..Rong-Franzia eventually got his permanent residency….” should be “Mr. Garcia” (MR’s granddad)

    Among numerous difficulties with Sen. Rubio is his troublesome call for increased national defense budget. His lack of military experience–as with EVERY candidate in both parties, unfortunately–is troubling to me as a veteran. One thing that this nation does not lack is a well-funded, well-equipped military. He shows his LACK of knowledge by insisting that we need a buffed up military. Recent budget cycles have had our military arguing that we do NOT need some of the crap Congress is trying to force upon it as part of military expenditures.
    But Sen. Rubio’s contentions about the military budget are more highly damaging elements that support your criticism. It is irresponsible to suggest that we are inadequately funded or that we should seriously consider wasting more money toward military equipment, which is what he argues.

    Paul Eaglin

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