Marco Rubio’s Road To Ruin Was Paved With Less-Than-Stellar Intentions

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Remember back to the beginning of the year when Marco Rubio was touted as “The Republican Savior” on the cover of TIME magazine?  The accompanying article outlined how Rubio planned to sell immigration reform to his party. It also included a message that had been left on Rubio’s voice mail by his mother, Oriales García Rubio:

Tony, some loving advice from the person who cares for you most in the world. Don’t mess with the immigrants, my son. Please, don’t mess with them. They’re human beings just like us, and they came for the same reasons we came. To work. To improve their lives. So please, don’t mess with them.

But while Rubio may have taken his Mother’s advice to heart, trying to sell it to his colleagues and constituents is proving to be much harder than he thought. The man who was once called the Tea Party’s answer to Obama is learning that it is very difficult to balance his desires with that of the GOP’s base.

His failure has been gradual but undeniable as he tries to cater to Tea Party ideology and the realities of the Hispanic voters. Now a Rasmussen poll shows his approval rating at 58%, which sounds pretty good until you realize that in May it was 68% and in February, Rubio’s popularity had him at around 73 percent. How hath the mighty fallen? Let’s take a look…

Before the State Of The Union reply, Marco Rubio was the GOP’s great Latino hope. Then he went on the air… and he did okay until about 2/3 of the way in when he got really thirsty and, in this age of social media, the result was disastrous. That fumble for the water did him in, upstaging the real problem with his speech: it was patently false in content. He eventually blamed God for the gaffe. No, really.

After that, his missteps began to pile up. In mid-February, he went on CBS This Morning and talked about how minimum wage laws “have never worked.” Then he tried to make light of his SOTU rebuttal gaffe by selling bottled water (for $25 a bottle!) to raise funds for his PAC: “Ha ha – see? I can laugh at myself.” But it didn’t go over very well among the Latino voters he was aiming for. He did manage to raise $100K from the GOP base, all of which went directly into his PAC.

In an early March appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Rubio pandered to the Tea Party base with his “defund Obamacare” song and dance, even threatening to shut down the government if that didn’t happen. Of course, the base ate it up. But a March Quinnipiac poll testing a theoretical Marco Rubio-Hillary Clinton match-up for 2016 didn’t turn out very well for Rubio, with him losing by 15 percentage points among Hispanic voters. The shine was coming off the apple.

Rubio’s antipathy toward LGBT Americans has always been known but he showed that he doesn’t understand how respect works when he whined about people calling him a bigot because of it. This would not be the last time he did so. In May, when the response to his assertion that discriminating against gays was allowable, he was careful to maintain that this didn’t make him a bigot. Um, yes. Yes it does.

When we add in his dismissal of science, his love of failed fiscal policy and his lack of knowledge of federal agencies we can see that, despite claims to the contrary, he really is just the same old Republican Congress Critter. This may not have affected his standing with the Tea Party base but it did get him some bad publicity among others, including Latinos.

Now, with his push for immigration reform, he is losing the base fast. The Tea Party folks really hate brown people and, though they can be temporarily blinded to the fact that Rubio is, actually, brown himself, they will not stand for any fair treatment of immigrants. In fact, in an appearance on Meet The Press on April 14, he outlined his plan to create a permanent slave class. But that didn’t mollify the TP base. His star began to fall rapidly, culminating in his being booed at recent Tea Party rallies. Now, the Tea Party’s eternal darling, Sarah Palin has begun to rip into him and members of his own party are calling him a “weasel.”

Today, the Senate voted 62-27 to clear the way for a final vote before they go home for the July 4th break. With a passage by the Senate, the bill will go to the House, where I predict it will meet the same fate as the farm bill. And it will likely take Marco Rubio down with it. He tried too hard to please too many and it has become a stone around his neck. Another one, as Queen said, bites the dust: Rubio will go the way of Bobby Jindal and become a minor player in the Republican party. Whoever they ask to do the SOTU rebuttal next year should probably think very carefully about his or her reply.