Marco Rubio gave the Republican response to Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday February 12th. Time Magazine featured him on the cover as the “Republican savior”. According to recent polls, Marco Rubio is the GOP frontrunner for the presidential nomination in 2016. However, despite all the accolades, all the fanfare, and all the gushing press reports from swooning reporters who have fallen in love with the Florida Senator, Marco Rubio is a vastly overrated politician with a mediocre record of accomplishments. In addition to being an ideologue, Mr. Rubio is a pathological liar. Furthermore, while it is not unusual for political figures to be hiding skeletons in their closet, Marco Rubio is hiding an entire graveyard in his closet. Yes I know he speaks Spanish. So did George W. Bush. Yes I know he is handsome. So was David Duke. Yes I know he is Hispanic. So is George Zimmerman. So what? I do not actually care how Mr. Rubio gulps his water or how he wipes his brow. However, I do care that he lies about his personal narrative to curry favor with voters and that on the day he delivered his response to Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address he also voted not to protect women from domestic violence, by refusing to vote for an extension of the violence against women act in the US Senate. His personal character is suspect and the policies he supports are decidedly reactionary. He is not the Republican savior, but rather he is just a meaner, slightly darker, younger version of Mitt Romney with a Cuban pedigree and a Spanish accent.
Marco Rubio lies about his personal biography and his family history
Marco Rubio has embellished his family’s history to create mythological and heroic narrative about his past and what he overcame to become a US Senator. The problem with his story is that it does not have the added virtue of being true. His personal story is a carefully crafted work of fiction. He described his parents as refugees who escaped Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba. However, his parents came to the United States in 1956. Fidel Castro did not come to power in Cuba until 1959. His parents must have been incredibly prescient to escape repression from a regime that did not exist yet. Undaunted by his past falsehoods, Rubio doubled down at the State of the Union rebuttal by asserting that he still lived in the working class neighborhood he grew up in. What he did not mention is that his Florida home, which he is selling for 675,000 dollars, is worth nearly four times the median home value in Florida. He did not mention that it is on a cul-de-sac, has a swimming pool and that it includes over 2600 square feet of living space*. Nor did he mention the home was built in 2005 and purchased new. Yes Senator Rubio is a young man, but did he really "grow up" in a subdivision where the homes are less than a decade old? To be sure, Rubio’s home is not an opulent mansion, but it is hardly a humble working class dwelling either. In addition, it was built in 2005, so he did not exactly grow up there.
Marco Rubio's questionable character
Of course, his false personal biography is only the tip of the iceberg. Mr. Rubio also perpetuated the discredited lie that the financial crisis was caused by excessive government, when in fact the biggest cause was deregulation. Mr. Rubio also talks about government financial mismanagement while failing to acknowledge his own inability to manage money. Although he preaches about fiscal responsibility, when he was a state lawmaker he ran up over 100,000 dollars in personal expenses on the GOP Party credit card bill. Rubio came under investigation by the FBI and the IRS for tax evasion. When he purchased a home with fellow lawmaker and fellow ethically challenged Congressman David Rivera, the men failed to pay their mortgage despite their legislative salaries. The home was nearly foreclosed upon. Obviously dishonesty is not unusual among elected politicians, and embellishing personal narratives is a longstanding practice among shiftless politicians on both the political left and the political right. However, Mr. Rubio appears to be more allergic to telling the truth than the average politician.
Rubio's ideological extremism
Of course, the biggest problem with the Senator is his dogmatism. Rubio is an extreme conservative with outrageous positions on nearly every major political issue. He is intractable and taxes, immovable on legislation designed to address gun violence and indifferent to the struggles of working class Americans. On the very day he gave his response to the State of the Union Address, he joined twenty-one other Republican Senators in opposing extension of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). He opposes any increase in the minimum wage to lift low-wage workers out of poverty. Although the press may swoon over him because of his dashing looks, his Latino heritage or his concocted personal story, Mr. Rubio advances the same policies, only more severe, as the largely discredited Mitt Romney who was repudiated in November. Rubio is simply an ideological replica of the failed presidential candidate. The GOP may be attempting to re-brand the party, but if they intend to do so they should promote a capable politician like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, instead of rolling out a repeat model of Mitt Romney, but with a slight Spanish accent. Marco Rubio is a poor choice for the Republicans and even a poorer choice for the nation. He is also, for now, the most overrated politician in the country.
*Author's Note: Some sites have listed the home as over 7000 square feet, but most have it listed at 2649 square feet. I have chosen the smaller figure as it seems to be more probable for a home selling for 675,000 dollars. A West Miami home over 7000 square feet in living space would likely sell for well over a million dollars.