On ABC yesterday, George Stephanopoulos said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) seems to be “rising to the top” of the Republican heap right now. Former Bush/Cheney aide Nicole Wallace responded, “Yeah, look, he’s everything we need and more. He’s modern. He knows who Tupac is. He is on social media.”
It’s probably worth noting that Tupac Shakur died nearly 17 years ago, and knowing who he is doesn’t necessarily make someone “modern.” Neither is being “on social media,” a step already taken by nearly every member of Congress and governor in America.
But the train has nevertheless apparently left the station. The far-right senator has been labeled the Republicans’ “savior” by Time magazine; he’ll deliver one of his party’s State of the Union addresses tomorrow; and the Washington Post has a lengthy, front-page-above-the-fold feature on Rubio this morning, lauding the Republican as “a politician of unusual gifts.”
The D.C. establishment wants a fresh Republican star and it has obviously made its choice.
I have a hunch I’m tilting at windmills, but I’d like to point out three simple truths that the Beltway crowd may want to at least consider before joining the Rubio fan club.
First, if the senator has “unusual gifts,” they haven’t translated into meaningful policy successes. As Rubio begins his third year on Capitol Hill, his most notable legislative accomplishment has been sponsoring “a resolution designating September 2011 as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.”
Second, though Rubio hasn’t demonstrated any real depth of thought on any area of public policy, the Floridian appears to have taken an interest in one issue: immigration. On this issue, Rubio has already flip-flopped, fumbled his initial foray, and ended up adopting President Obama’s immigration policy as his own.
And third, Rubio is unbelievably far to the right.
The senator has already adopted very conservative positions on global warming, contraception access, marriage equality, science, domestic violence, and social insurance programs like Medicare and Social Security, which he believes have “actually weakened us as a people.”
For the political establishment, these are minor and inconvenient details that distract us from what really matters – he’s a young, handsome Latino Republican from a swing state who can deliver an effectively speech from a teleprompter – but I’d like to think some segments of the political world might look for just a little more depth.