Following its disastrous campaign for the last presidential election, the Republican party has faced some bouts of self-examination, with many within the party calling for reform and greater acceptance of minorities if it wishes to be the party of the people it once flattered itself to be. Rand Paul himself recently said “The Republican Party leadership is stale and moss-covered.” Yet, if a recent Conservative Political Action Conference speech given by Marco Rubio, famous for guzzling water in the middle of his rebuttal to the President’s last State of the Union address, is any indication, those realizations are being ignored and reduced to so much lip service.
Marco Rubio invokes the specter of 47 percent
Florida senator Rubio, in fact, gave an address that simply reiterated the “stale and moss-covered” rhetoric that became such a drone during the last campaign. In the most telling remark, Rubio said that liberals are freeloaders, which is little more than a paraphrasing of Mitt Romney‘s notorious 47 percent remarks. Many believe that one statement was the final straw in the camel’s back for Romney’s campaign.
Last year, Romney told a conservative crowd, paying $50,000 apiece for their dinner, that 47 percent of the nation are victims, dependent on government handouts, and therefore not the concern of the Republican campaign.
To be fair, Rubio tried to distance himself from the Romney remarks with phrases like “The vast majority of the American people are hard-working taxpayers who take responsibility for their families, go to work every day, they pay their mortgage on time, they volunteer in their community. This is where the vast majority of the American people are. What’s changed is the world around us.”
Liberal = freeloader
Fair enough, but then he showed his hand by saying those Americans are “Not free-loaders; they’re not liberals.” It got a big laugh from the right wing crowd, but the overwhelming votes for Democrat Obama last November easily shows the rift in that logic.
Toeing the line
Some other highlights of the strictly party line speech:
- “Just because I believe that states should have the right to define marriage in the traditional way does not make me a bigot.” The 9 million-some gay Americans might disagree, however. Count them out of your voter base, Marco.
- “Not everyone needs to go to a four year liberal arts college.” No, indeed, and who said they do? But those that want to should have some way to do so without remaining broke half their lives paying for it.
- “We don’t need new ideas. The idea is called America and it still works.” No matter that “What’s changed is the world around us,” stick with the old. In other words, progress is a bad.
- “The people who are actually closed-minded in American politics are the people who love to preach about the certainty of science with regards to our climate but ignore the absolute fact that science has proven that life begins at conception.” However, scientists do agree that the world is heating up, and since 2012 was the hottest year on record, they just may have something. As far as life beginning at conception, that may be arguable (hardly absolute), but until birth, that life is symbiotically dependent on its mother. The debate, in this case, is more philosophical than scientific. The real question is if the mother should have the say about the life inside her, and not the state.
Way to stay relevant
Rational Republicans who don’t ignore facts still exist. Their most notable representative at this time is N.J. governor Chris Christie. But the party was once led by tough but rational men like Barry Goldwater and even Ronald Reagan. Since the rise of the once-fringe Tea party, and the GOP’s move to embrace them, however, those Republicans are the rare exceptions. And the GOP will have to do far better than Rubio’s line-toeing remarks if it wishes to remain relevant to our diverse population.
Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/14/1194056/-CPAC-Marco-Rubio-scoffs-at-freeloaders-because-it-worked-so-well-for-Mitt-Romney