Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rubio’s true nature

Marco Rubio was the darling of the “tea party” extremists of the Republican Party, their hero—but then he advocated for immigration reform, something they ardently oppose. It turns out, however, he’s just like them.

Yesterday, the junior US Senator from Florida said that if LGBT people are included in the immigration reform bill, he’ll withdraw as a co-sponsor: "If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I'm done. I'm off it, and I've said that repeatedly. I don't think that's going to happen and it shouldn't happen. This is already a difficult enough issue as it is."

Nice guy, eh? It takes a special kind of bigotry to walk away from a bill he cosponsors and wants passed just because he hates LGBT people.

Rubio then turned up the heat on his bigotry and stirred in a healthy dollop of hypocrisy.

ThinkProgress caught up with Rubio at a far-right religious political conference and asked him if he supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would ban workplace discrimination against LGBT people. Rubio replied: “I haven’t read the legislation. By and large I think all Americans should be protected but I’m not for any special protections based on orientation.” [emphasis by ThinkProgress]. The complete video is below.

ThinkProgress followed up: “What about on race or gender?” and Rubio responded, “Well that’s established law.” To be overly charitable to Rubio, perhaps he just wasn’t thinking at the time. Race and gender once were NOT “settled law”, just as protection for LGBT people is not now. Politicians braver than Rubio MADE race and gender “settled law”—it didn’t happen by magic! And at one time politicians just like Rubio made equally bigoted remarks against equal opportunity for those covered by the “settled law”.

The graphic at the top of this post, found on Facebook, sums up Rubio’s hypocrisy in one visual. Many Hispanic commentators are pointing out the irony of the child of Cuban immigrants advocating anti-gay positions on employment similar to those that Castro held. Others noted the hypocrisy of Rubio, a child of immigrants, wanting to slam the door shut on immigrants he doesn’t like. However, the graphic is slightly misleading, because Rubio lied about why his parents left Cuba: He claimed they left because of Castro when, in fact, they left three years before he came to power for purely economic reasons. “Oppression” may have kept them in the USA, but it’s not the reason moved there.

So what we have in Marco Rubio is a hypocritical bigot (or bigoted hypocrite) who also has some trouble with facts. Nevertheless, he’s one of the Republicans Americans view most favourably—which isn’t actually saying much, actually, since he has a 37% favourable rating overall (the top-rated Republican, NJ Governor Chris Christie has only a 52% favourable rating). Only 21% of Democrats view him favourably, but 58% of Republicans do.

Based on the latest poll, it would seem that the radical base of the Republican Party hasn’t soured on Rubio as much as has been claimed in the newsmedia—and why would they? His weak advocacy of immigration reform aside, Rubio’s record proves he’s really just like them: Radical, bigoted and hypocritical.

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