by Ann Werner
In his ill-fated and possibly career-ending rebuttal to the State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, Marco Rubio, the Republican Party’s presidential hopeful tried to convince the American people that he and his party care about the average American. There was a strong sense of déjà vu as he dusted off all the talking points that were rejected by the American people just a few short months ago. For a moment, I could have sworn he was channeling Mitt Romney but then I realized that he, like his brethren in the Republican party, have willfully refused to get the message sent to them by the people.
He told us that he never could have gone to college without federal financial aid. But the Republican party has time and again shown that they are against federal aid for students. They couch their argument with misleading terms like he used in his speech: “But it’s not just about spending more money on these programs; it’s also about strengthening and modernizing them.” When they use terms like that, the real meaning is more like this: We need to eliminate wasteful spending and educational aid must take a back seat to the overarching need of reducing the deficit. There is nothing wrong with going to your parents to get the money you need for college. Take out a student loan and put yourself into virtual slavery until middle age or longer. Rubio also said: “We need student aid that does not discriminate against programs that non-traditional students rely on – like online courses, or degree programs that give you credit for work experience.” But he neglected to mention that a number of online colleges, including some with very familiar names like the University of Phoenix, have been investigated for fraud. Some of these so-called universities are nothing more than diploma mills. We should have our tax dollars going for that?
Then there was the compassionate Medicare response: “I would never support any changes to Medicare that would hurt seniors like my mother. But anyone who is in favor of leaving Medicare exactly the way it is right now, is in favor of bankrupting it.” That translates to: I won’t advocate changing Medicare for existing seniors because they’ll never vote for that, but I have no problem denying Medicare to people under (pick your age), who have already paid into the system. They can save up their pennies and take whatever watered-down non-program we put in place to enrich the for-profit health and pharmaceutical industries.
Rubio said. “Mr. President, I live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in.” But how many working class neighborhoods do you know that have a lobbyist for big business residing in them? The fact is, Rubio was a registered lobbyist for a number of companies:
Pan American 4/26/2002 comprehensive development master plan amendment application no .6
The Main Line Corp. 10/30/2001 Clerk of the Courts-digitization
Dacra/DMI/MG joint venture 6/8/1998 mcc-5-97 presentation
American Sales & Management Organization 4/23/1998 Baggage Wrap at MIA rfp 37
Angel & Beatriz Ferro 5/19/1997 code enforcement violation
Raul Medina, Jr. 4/4/1997 zoning application
Lopez Levi & Associates, p.a. 2/11/1997 rfq 000019
Rubio wants us to believe he’s just a regular guy, interested in helping other regular people get a better shake in life. But his resume speaks otherwise: City Commissioner, lawyer, lobbyist, one-time Republican Party of Florida American Express Card holder, top echelon Florida House Speaker, moved up to Florida House Speaker and was mentored by Jeb Bush, who presented him with a sword – the Sword of Chang.
This is man with Hispanic roots who voted against the Dream Act. This is a man who is a Tea Party darling. This is a man whose speech was sophomoric at best, embarrassing at worst and very telling. This is a guy who can’t take a drink of water without looking like the attention-wanting, afraid to look away for fear that someone may think him insincere, inept Tea Party hack that he really is.
If that’s what the Republicans have to offer for their once and future president, they are in deep trouble. You bet’cha!