Sunday’s Marco Rubio rally at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia, was a well-attended event with a great deal of enthusiasm. Senator Rubio himself was smooth, quick on his feet, and funny.
In speaking to folks in attendance, I made several observations.
First, people are still making up their minds.
Second, the old “electability” myth that the GOP establishment always trots out to mark the most vulnerable candidate has now been attached to Marco Rubio.
Third, in an odd twist to the “electability” myth, some people are now suggesting, ostensibly as a strategy to take out Trump, that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are somehow interchangeable, and they are encouraging voters to be uncritical and just pick the person “currently second in the polls in your state,” and vote for him. See: http://theresurgent.com/for-president-of-the-united-states-i-endorse/
I do not know what to make of it, but my wife noticed on the Washington, DC station WMAL this morning that not a single mention was made of Ted Cruz. On this station, the day before Super Tuesday, the hosts discussed Marco Rubio as the candidate likely to come in second, and then they moved right on to another topic without even breathing the name “Ted Cruz.”
Fourth, a very interesting thing about Rubio is who is openly endorsing him. More on these items will follow.
In 2010, I supported Rubio in his bid for the Senate, and donated to his campaign financially at that time.
In this article I will explain why I do NOT support him as a candidate for President. I thank John Garber for also attending and providing a second set of eyes; I’ve incorporated a good deal of his material in this article as well.
1) Marco Rubio is endorsed by many of those inside the Republican Party who have most actively undermined the principles of the Republican Party and the will of their constituents
Not only, I’m sorry to say, did Marco Rubio turn out to be a candidate who disappointed through broken promises, but also many of the other people who have done the same (Mark Levin calls them the “Usual Suspects”) are the very ones endorsing Rubio now. The quintessential “Republican Establishment” that was so strongly repudiated by the dramatic ouster of Eric Cantor by Dave Brat is now lining up behind Marco Rubio.
One local example will suffice for the purpose of this article:
Congresswoman Barbara Comstock
– Voted on 1/6/15 against removing John Boehner as Speaker of the House,
– Voted on 3/3/15 against defunding Obama’s unconstitutional Executive Amnesty,
– Voted “yes” on 6/18/15 to give Fast Track authority to Obamatrade,
– Voted on 9/30/15 to fund Planned Parenthood and Obama’s other priorities,
– Voted on 10/30/15 to raise the debt by $1.5 Trillion and increase spending,
– Voted on 12/3/15 to re-authorize No Child Left Behind,
– Voted “yes” on 12/3/15 for the $305 Billion highway bailout bill,
– Voted “yes” on 12/18/15 for the $1.1 Trillion spending bill which fully funded Obama’s unconstitutional Executive Amnesty and Obamacare and Planned Parenthood and gave away Congress’ power of the purse for the entire remainder of Obama’s term, AND
– Has endorsed Rubio and introduced him Sunday at his rally at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville.
If you want to continue to support the agenda of President Obama and the Democrats, then Rubio is your guy, apparently. I do not support that agenda, so I will not be supporting the candidate that those advancing this agenda have endorsed.
2) Marco Rubio has demonstrated that he cannot be trusted to do what he says, and he has yet to prove he has mended his ways
What a candidate says while campaigning is unimportant if he or she cannot be relied upon to follow through when in office. I believe this principle applies equally to both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.
It does not apply to Ted Cruz, who has proven himself not only to have a near-perfect position on the issues, but also has shown he is not just talking. Cruz went to the Senate and did exactly what he said he would do. All the talk about what is or is not happening on the campaign trail is a sideshow. Will your candidate follow through reliably or not? This is the crucial question.
When Rubio was campaigning for the Senate, he did so as a constitutional Tea Party conservative. Among the major issues upon which he became elected was opposition to amnesty for people illegally present in the United States.
Once in the Senate, however, Rubio’s single legislative accomplishment has been the passage, in partnership with John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer and others, of the disastrous “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill. The Gang of Eight bill met fierce opposition from conservatives, including Rubio’s own constituents. The bill was ultimately defeated in the House of Representatives, but it no thanks for this is due to Marco Rubio, who was put forward as the main mouthpiece in desperate attempts by the pro-Amnesty Democrats and crony GOP Establishment to bring the rank-and-file conservative base in line with their wishes. Really, it was yet another attempt by the establishments in both parties to ramrod unpopular and harmful legislation through against the will of the people.
Note this progression:
In a Senate candidates’ debate that aired October 24, 2010, Charlie Crist made this statement:
First, secure the border. That’s the right thing to do … After that I think you have to have an earned path to citizenship, not amnesty … People should have to get in the back of the line, pay a fine if necessary, their back taxes, and be able to become productive members of the American economy. It’s a compassionate way.
Marco Rubio shot back:
First of all, ‘earned path to citizenship’ is basically code for amnesty. It’s what they call it. And the reality of it is this. This has to do with the bottom line that America cannot be the only country in the world that does not enforce its immigration laws. It is unfair to the people that have legally entered the country to create an alternative pathway for individuals who entered illegally and knowingly did so. And all I’m saying is that if you do that … you will never have a legal immigration system that works. No one is going to follow the law if there is an easier way to do it.
Notice what Rubio said in 2010: 1) “Earned path to citizenship” is code for amnesty, even if people get in the back of the line, or pay a fine or back taxes, 2) It is unfair to the people that have legally entered this country, and 3) It undermines the rule of law.
Yet, once he entered the Senate, he did a complete 180 and joined the Gang of Eight, pushing a bill that was diametrically opposed to his campaign principles and promises. At that time, he essentially shut down his office switchboards, preventing constituents and erstwhile supporters from calling or even leaving a voicemail to register their opposition to his about-face.
One supporter of the Bill (that passed the Senate with Rubio’s advocacy and his own vote), the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, summarized it in this way:
On June 27, 2013, the US Senate passed the ‘Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.’ This bill includes a path to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants as well as several other major changes to our immigration system.
It is not surprising that politicians beholden to special interests engage in such heavy-handed tactics, but it is never something to which a conservative should be a party.
Such behavior by a politician should not be rewarded with the Party’s nomination for President.
3) In at least one clear case, Marco Rubio appeals to principle when it serves him, but avoids applying it to his own pet project
At his rally at Patrick Henry College, Marco Rubio made the statement that Hillary should not get a pass because, “No one is above the law.”
It is unquestionably a true statement and a claim that would be (and to my knowledge has been) made by nearly every candidate on the Republican side of this primary race.
At the same time, Rubio to my knowledge still advocates against applying immigration law equally by returning people, who did not come in through the front door, to their countries of citizenship. He may not see the conflict in his position, but I believe many others do. If you steal something, you don’t make it right by saying sorry and promising not to do it again; you make it right by saying sorry and giving back what you have stolen. 20 million people who are breaking immigration law every day they remain illegally present in the United States, some of whom have been doing so knowingly for decades, need to stop it or be compelled to do so by the authorities – in the same way that Hillary Clinton must be held to account under the Anti-Espionage Act if her actions are found to be in violation of it.
If Rubio wishes to be consistent, he in my view has two choices: 1) Advocate for enforcing the laws as written for those now illegally present in the U.S. and then changing immigration rules going forward (if he wishes, and if the nation agrees) or, if he wishes to create a special second pathway for people already here, he must 2) Also advocate for changing the Anti-Espionage Act to accommodate people like Hillary Clinton who has allegedly already violated it.
4) What Marco Rubio did not mention
Sometimes we can discern something about a candidate by obvious things or major issues that he/she neglects to discuss. Certainly, a candidate can’t be rigidly expected to hit every issue at every stop, but what the candidate leaves out may give you a window into his priorities and/or his vulnerabilities. Here are some things Rubio did not say at his Patrick Henry College speech yesterday:
· He did not address the issue of life.
· He did not address the issue of taxpayer funds going to Planned Parenthood.
· He did not address the issue of the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage.
· He did not address the persecution of Christian bakers and photographers in the wake of that decision.
· He never in his speech addressed the issues of border security, amnesty, and people illegally present.
Rubio’s failure to address life and marriage left unsaid another major issue in this race: judicial nominations. Rubio may have a solid philosophy of judging and picking nominees, or he may not. Even if he does pick good nominees, will he have the backbone to stand up to a hostile Democrat establishment and go to the mat for his picks? His actions in the Senate do not inspire confidence in this regard. Cruz, on the other hand, is clearly the most constitutionally literate of all the candidates, and has left no doubt about the kind of nominees he would choose. Likewise he leaves no doubt that he would stand up to recalcitrant Senate Democrats in defending his picks.
And one more thing: Rubio’s full-throated support for smaller government and free enterprise is undermined by his failure to take on ethanol mandates and his defense of domestic sugar price supports – both of which are inimical to free enterprise, and are the very essence of crony capitalism. His penchant for carving out exceptions to the free market is worrisome; again, Cruz is more consistent in his opposition to crony capitalism, and in his support for free markets.
Certainly, there are things to like about Rubio’s speaking style and the arguments he makes. In this way he is no different than Donald Trump – he speaks to the issues that concern us.
But talk (even if highly intelligent and compelling) is cheap. As Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” Senator Rubio’s fruit over his time in the Senate has been mediocre at best; and in some cases as discussed, it has been downright rotten.
Are people permitted to make mistakes and learn from them? Certainly. And if Rubio’s support of the Gang of Eight bill and TPA was indeed a mistake, he should be able to have a chance to prove to the American people through consistent action that he has mended his ways. But I believe he ought to earn back the trust of the American people through his actions before being handed the Republican nomination for the United States’ Presidency.
Senator Rubio at one point in his speech Sunday stated, “This election is a referendum on our identity as a nation.”
We could not agree more.
The United States desperately needs leadership from principled, proven, and trustworthy conservatives, and for the office of President they will only get the chance at such if we actually put one up as our nominee – and not someone whose actions, supporters, and lack of consistency given reason to believe that he has been co-opted by the very go-along-to-get-along, go-to-the-voters-at-election-time-then-do-the-bidding-of-the-donors-and-party-leadership Republican establishment that has aided and abetted the anti-American progressives in bringing this great and beautiful nation to the brink of the abyss.
For Rubio to unite the party, he would need to convince onetime Trump or Cruz supporters that he is trustworthy, and that he is with them on one of the biggest issues in this campaign – both of which I doubt he can pull off.
When it comes to popular support, Cruz wins hands down. Here is what USA today reported on February 24:
Cruz entered this month with $13.6 million in available cash, more than twice the amount stockpiled in Rubio’s account, new reports show. More than 40% of Cruz’s January donations came from small donors he can tap repeatedly for contributions, compared with 19% of Rubio’s contributions.
In summary, for all the issues Rubio addressed at the rally, Cruz is at least as good, or better. Cruz is more knowledgeable on judicial issues, and arguably superior when it comes to choosing and defending judicial nominees. And on one of the biggest issues of this campaign season – immigration and amnesty – Cruz is in tune with the base, as his fundraising records show, and he has not deviated from his positions. Cruz is much better positioned to unite the base than is Rubio.
In conclusion, a statement from our most recent Republican candidate for Virginia Governor, Ken Cuccinelli, concerning Sen. Rubio’s appearance in Virginia:
While Sen. Rubio and Donald Trump have spent much of the last week making personal attacks on one another, Ted Cruz has laid out his substantive vision to make Americans’ lives better and to defeat Hillary Clinton in November. From Amnesty to the economy to Obamacare and beyond, Ted Cruz is the only candidate with both a track record and a vision for a prosperous conservative future. Ted has proven his mettle taking on the Washington cartel, including taking on the Republican leadership directly.
Cruz is the only candidate with a record of taking on the Washington establishment every day. Both Cruz and Rubio campaigned against the Washington establishment, but Rubio came to Washington and joined it, while Ted Cruz fought it; meanwhile, Donald Trump has been funding the establishment for his entire adult life.
Finally, and most obviously, with the Supreme Court hanging in the balance, Republicans have NEVER had a candidate better prepared to get ALL of his picks for the Supreme Court right than Ted Cruz. Never.
Jon Garber contributed to this piece.