Marco Rubio missed a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Wednesday morning -- at the same time he was announcing plans to run for reelection. The first-term Republican senator, who was pilloried during his presidential run for his record of missed votes and hearings, skipped a closed hearing on security for sales of military equipment to other nations, according to attendees from both parties.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), after swearing up and down for months that he would not seek re-election to the Senate, announced yesterday that he's breaking his promise. But an unexpected Politico report noted that the far-right senator did so in the most Rubio-eque way possible.
Meet the new Marco Rubio; he's the same as the old Marco Rubio. For several years, the Floridian has routinely blown off votes, committee hearings, and policy briefings -- he's generally treated his Senate responsibilities as not particularly important -- so it seemed beautifully fitting that Rubio, who could have made his announcement anytime this week, scheduled his remarks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
Meanwhile, some of the editorial boards from Florida's largest newspapers didn't exactly welcome Rubio back with open arms. The Miami Herald described the senator's change of heart "hard to believe," adding, "[H]is flip-flop will seem too pat, too orchestrated, too opportunistic to anyone not firmly planted in the Rubio camp."
The Tampa Bay Times added, "Rubio's decision gives Florida voters an opportunity to judge his thin record in the Senate, his tortured policy on immigration and his out-of-step positions on Cuba, guns, climate change and other major issues. And where has Rubio been for the past six years? Many communities would need to form a search party to discover that Florida has two members in the Senate. This race should be a reminder that this office cannot be taken for granted."
For now, Rubio won't even commit to serving a full term if re-elected. "I'm not going to get into any of these unequivocal pronunciations," the senator said, despite months of unequivocal pronunciations about doing the exact opposite of what he's doing now.
It's striking to realize Rubio is effectively saying, "Please give me the job I said I didn't want, and which I might decide to stop doing partway through my term."
What's more, let's not forget that the incumbent still has a Republican primary to consider: two of the five GOP candidates who sought the Senate seat, Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox, have said they intend to stay in the race.
The primary is Aug. 30.
As for the Democrats, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) remains the favorite for the Democratic nomination, but the CBS affiliate in Miami ran a rather brutal report last night on Murphy's background, which cast the Democrat in a very negative light: "A CBS4 News investigation into Murphy's history as both a CPA and a self-described small business owner ... shows Murphy has in some cases exaggerated his experience and in other instances made claims that were misleading or outright false."
I suppose it's worth mentioning that the filing deadline in this race is tomorrow, should any other candidates -- in either party -- decide they want to get in.