A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Category: Marco Rubio

Fire Someone, Anyone, That Guy, The Janitor, Maybe

by evanmcmurry

It’s scandal feasting time in D.C., which means people, some of them, any of them, are gonna get fired:

Republicans want heads to roll in the wake of revelations that the Internal Revenue Service inappropriately targeted conservative groups for further scrutiny, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is asking Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to begin with the current IRS Commissioner.

[snip] The IRS is currently led by Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller. He assumed the role after IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman stepped down on November 9, 2012, but Rubio’s office notes that Miller was Deputy Commissioner during the time that the IRS was inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups.

But did Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller have anything to do with anything? Like, was he just eating his lunch in the cafeteria while all this was going on? What’s the point of calling for investigations—which should be held!—if you’re going to decide beforehand who’s gotta be canned?

Also, you can tell Rubio’s new at this, as no seasoned GOP figure would preemptively give a Democratic administration a body to throw under the bus. This ain’t about accountability at this point.

The GOP’s Immigration Pretzel

by evanmcmurry

The immigration news of the day: a majority of Americans support a pathway to citizenship as part of immigration reform, but that number tanks among Republicans, putting GOP leaders in a bind: they know they need to support some form of immigration reform or forfeit Latino voters for the next few election cycles, but they have a base that finds the idea of citizenship (AMNESTY!) anathema.

The solution being passed around sounds a lot like what Marco Rubio essayed last April, when he was but a spring chicken. As a thought experiment, imagine what would happen if Democrats were proposing the following:

Rubio’s proposal doesn’t put immigrants on the path to citizenship but creates a third level of legal residency, greater than alien but less than citizen.

The howls about bureaucracy and the extra folds of government—to say nothing of the inherent treason of revising standards of citizenship—would be heard from Breitbart Jr. to George will’s column and everywhere in between.

As I said at the time, in no world is creating an extra sub-tier of citizenship conservative, which emphasizes just what a tight spot the GOP finds itself in on this issue.

The GOP’s New Immigration Reform Problem: Obamacare

by evanmcmurry

Building off the last post, in which we saw a group of Republican Senators putting their own electoral chances over the GOP’s rebranding, comes this twist:

Meanwhile, there’s reason to wonder how much even an immigration reform deal will help him with Latino voters as long as his party is also associated with repealing Obamacare. The Los Angeles Times reports that Latinos support Obamacare by a 2-1 margin, and “overwhelmingly see guaranteeing healthcare as a core government responsibility.

This is strange. Obamacare* is a done deal. A vast majority of Republican voters still want it overturned, but that ship sailed with the SCOTUS decision last spring, and disappeared over the horizon with Obama’s reëlection. Why buck a new demographic over something that’s never going to happen?

* Can we go back to calling it the ACA now?

Marco Rubio’s Newest Eject Button

by evanmcmurry

Ladies and gentlemen, the party of leaner, efficient government:

Even as the Sunday shows were alive with predictions that a deal is close on immigration reform, Marco Rubio took the occasion to cast doubt on the prospects for success by joining other Senators who are calling for the process to slow down…In so doing, Rubio is joining with other Senators who are urging a go-slow approach, such as Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions, who may be urging a slowdown so the armies of the right have time to mobilize and strike fear into any reform-minded Republican officials, killing reform.

Remember, this issue is central to GOP rebranding efforts. In fact, it’s three quarters of the rebranding effort, the last 25% being occupied by “never saying the word ‘rape,’ ever.”

The immigration package is full of reforms with broad public support, bipartisan legislative support, and a drive on behalf of Republicans to get behind a new demographic. It’s now imperiled by two Senators with no fear of a Democratic challenge, and one who’s already looking to vipers of the 2016 GOP primary.

We Just Made Marco Rubio Bunches Of Money

by evanmcmurry

I didn’t see Marco Rubio’s SOTU rejoinder in real time, and maybe the hilarity of his reaching for a bottle of Poland Spring was one of those had-to-be-there things. Anyway, I don’t get the focus on it, and certainly don’t think it was worth this:

Reclaim America, Rubio’s hilariously named political action committee, has sold over 4,000 Rubio water bottles in the past week. At the reasonable price of $25 (or, if you’re feeling generous, even more!) per bottle, the gimmick helped the PAC raise $119,200 as of Monday morning.

Rubio is now free to use that money in any way he pleases, including funding 2014 GOP House and Senate candidates, or state-level candidates who can continue to pass anti-abortion laws based off wisps of ghost science.

I agree with Erik Loomis here: there’s plenty on which to attack Rubio without going all Maureen Dowd on him.

Marco Rubio’s Fiscal Cliff Statement Is The Worst Thing Ever

by evanmcmurry

If you want to take a break from hating Obama for the fiscal cliff deal—as Krugman put it, it’s not the compromise that’s so odious, but Obama’s “I’ll have to retreat if you don’t stop being so stubborn” style of getting there—you might want to take a few minutes to read over Marco Rubio’s reasons for voting against the compromise. (He was one of eight senators* to do so.)

Rubio’s principle claim is that the return to Clinton-era tax rates will hurt the economy (yes, you have to ignore the fact that we had rapidly growing economy during Clinton years and that the Bush-era tax cuts contributed mightily to the debt problem the Republicans currently claim to hate—or don’t!):

Thousands of small businesses, not just the wealthy, will now be forced to decide how they’ll pay this new tax…

I’m no big city economist, but Blake Goud is**, and I’m pretty sure he destroyed this whole “tax raises on small businesses” nonsense on this very blog a long time ago. Most of the revenue taken from small businesses under the higher tax rates will come from a tiny (.3%) number of “small” businesses that make most of the money of businesses classed under S corporations. Note Rubio draws a distinction between small businesses and wealthy in the above sentence; but there’s no real distinction in the case of the tax rates.

Here’s the rest of that sentence:

Thousands of small businesses, not just the wealthy, will now be forced to decide how they’ll pay this new tax and, chances are, they’ll do it by firing employees, cutting back their hours and benefits, or postponing the new hire they were looking to make.

This is a reprise of the past two years’ worth of arguments over austerity: cut rich people’s taxes, or else. It’s not based on any sort of economic theory or empirical data. It’s a temper tantrum, in which rich people get what they want or nobody gets an economy. This was roughly Mitt Romney’s raison d’etre as a candidate, and he lost decisively.

More:

Furthermore, this deal just postpones the inevitable, the need to solve our growing debt crisis and help the 23 million Americans who can’t find the work they need.

Again, the debt crisis was partially created by the Bush tax cuts.

And my favorite part:

Rapid economic growth and spending reforms are the only way out of the real fiscal cliff our nation is facing.

This sentence makes no sense. Yes, economic growth over the long term helps eliminate deficits. But Rubio here seems to be proposing economic growth as both a cause and a consequence of this solution. It’s like if he said at the start of the Iraq War, “Winning is our only path to victory!” Come to think of it, somebody basically did just that, the same person who’s at the start of this whole tax cut mess in the first place.

* Go on, guess who one of the others was. Go on. Okay, it was Rand Paul.

** For the purposes of this post, Portland is a big city.

Rubio’s Creationism Is Tailor-Made For Iowa Republicans, Which Makes It Even Dumber.

by evanmcmurry

Weigel makes the obvious political read on Rubio’s “Who knows when the earth was created?” GQ bomb: beneath the convolutions of Rubio’s prattle is an answer that makes perfect sense to Iowa Republicans, while still crafted for maximum deniability in any other setting. It’s a creationist bank shot.

But coming so soon after Mitt Romney (who?) tanked an election the Republicans should have won while on vacation, largely due to a reputation for lying to point of self abnegation saying different and contradictory things to different electorates, you have to wonder how far Rubio’s narrow whistling will get him. 2016 is a long ways away, but not so far that being called “This year’s Mitt Romney” won’t sting.