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Watching Marco Rubio go around the bend

Watching Marco Rubio go around the bend
Watching Marco Rubio go around the bend

With many on the right still furious with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for supporting comprehensive immigration reform, the far-right Floridian is scrambling to bolster his unhinged bona fides.

Warning that the nation is on the "road to decline," Sen. Marco Rubio called on Congress Thursday to defund "Obamacare" and not raise the nation's debt limit until the White House agrees to a plan to bring the budget into balance within 10 years. [...]"I believe that we should not vote, nor pass, a continuing resolution unless that continuing resolution defunds Obamacare," Mr. Rubio said. [...]Mr. Rubio also said that Congress should not agree to raise the nation's borrowing limit "a single cent" until lawmakers pass and Mr. Obama signs off on a spending plan that shows how the federal budget will be balanced in 10 years.

In his remarks to the Weekly Standard's "Defend & Reform" breakfast -- how do they come up with these names? -- the Republican senator added, in reference to his balanced-budget demands, "This is not an unreasonable request. They will say that it is, but it is not. They will say, 'Well you are going to risk default.' The $17 trillion debt is a risk of default."

Here's a tip for U.S. senators with national ambitions: if you don't know what "default" means, don't try to use it in a sentence.

Marco Rubio, for example, is clearly confused. Having a national debt only leads to default if the nation finds itself unable to make its payments or meet its obligations on time. The United States doesn't have that problem -- we have a shrinking deficit, low interest rates, and no problems whatsoever in making our payments. It's why investors around the globe have been so eager to loan us more money.

But while someone buys the senator a dictionary, it's worth appreciating just how radical his posturing really is.

Rubio, who's also working on an unconstitutional abortion ban, is now saying he'd rather shut down the government than fund the federal health care system, and he wants to crash the economy on purpose unless Democrats agree to eliminate the deficit Republicans created by 2023. This not only ignores the fact that the deficit is already shrinking, it also would require a budget plan far to the right of Paul Ryan's original GOP budget blueprint, which didn't eliminate the deficit entirely for decades.

Rubio, in other words, is so desperate to make conservatives like him again, he's touting a hysterically right-wing vision that doesn't make any substantive sense.

Time will tell if it has the desired effect -- Tea Partiers are so annoyed by immigration that they booed references to Rubio at a recent Capitol Hill event -- but Rubio's posturing should offer a reminder to the political mainstream about just how far from the American mainstream the far-right Floridian really is.

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."

Now he's pushing for a government shutdown and a deliberate national default.

Anyone who calls this guy a RINO has no idea what they're talking about.