Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hey GOP: 17 Clowns in a Car and All I Get Is Stinkin' Marco Rubio?

Rubio might not end up with the Republican nomination, but at this point the idea that he's the "establishment candidate" is nothing short of pathetic.

OK, nice teeth, but what else you got?

I'm not saying I like any of the other candidates, and maybe that's the point. What a dismal field. But the notion that Marco Rubio represents the establishment of his party can only be true if his party, instead of doing an autopsy after the 2012 loss, wound up with a frontal lobotomy.

There's also the possibility that Rubio was produced in a lab, something like a perfect Republican candidate for the ages, or at least for the age. But it seems, by accident, they gave him the Immigration Reform gene, and it turns out to be his fatal flaw. As a last-ditch effort to save their creation, they also gave him the Lying gene, so he could walk back his Immigration Reform mistake.

Beyond that, what do we have in Rubio?

WaPo offers a rundown. Key graph:
Under optimistic assumptions, [Rubio's tax] plan would reduce federal revenue by no less than $2.4 trillion over a decade. That's money the federal government would have to borrow, unless Rubio also made drastic reductions in the budgets of federal programs. The centrist pundit Josh Barro argued Rubio's proposal would be unrealistically expensive, dubbing it the "Puppies and Rainbows Tax Plan."
The Daily Beast offers Rubio no mercy:
Because Trump and Cruz have moved the goalposts on what it means to be bat-shit crazy in a primary, the press will confuse Rubio’s moderate temperament with moderate policies, of which he has none. Rubio was once described as the “crown prince” of the Tea Party. He has a 100 percent rating from the NRA. He’ll appoint justices who will overturn the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision. He opposes abortion with no exception for rape or incest. He opposes stem cell research and doesn’t believe in climate change. He’d send ground troops to Syria and trillions in tax cuts to the rich.
As nasty as this portrait is, it has the advantage of being true. And its author, former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, hits home on his electability:
But as a general election candidate, Rubio would combine everything people hate about Washington politics with everything they hate about Republican policies. He may be more formidable and disciplined than some of his nuttier rivals, but he will also be utterly predictable and conventional. We Democrats have won that kind of election before. We can do it again.
If you want to wade through Rubio's stated views over the years, have at it.

Boston Globe writer Michael A. Cohen agrees with Jon Favreau that there's nothing moderate about Marco Rubio:
He’s absolutist on gun rights. While all the Republicans oppose same-sex marriage, Rubio has spoken of appointing Supreme Court justices who would roll back the right to same sex marriage, and of reversing President Obama’s executive orders preventing discrimination against the LGBT community.
He believes climate change is happening but doesn’t think it’s being caused by humans, and has said he opposes most environmental laws and regulations because they will “destroy our economy.” On immigration, he has famously reversed his earlier support for reform and now opposes a direct path to citizenship. At least one can say in his favor that he opposes mass deportation and has left the door open on citizenship, but his views on immigration are hardly moderate.
This is pretty standard fare for a Republican aspirant, but that’s telling in itself. The notion that he is the GOP field’s moderate should rest on the idea that he’s slightly to the left of Trump and Cruz. I can find almost no issues where that’s the case.
In fact, on a host of policy matters, he’s gone far beyond his opponents.
Regarding abortion, Rubio is not just antiabortion, but also opposes exceptions in the case of rape and incest. That’s a more radical position than any Republican nominee in recent memory — and more radical than Trump, who supports exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother.
His tax-cut plan is perhaps the most regressive of any GOP candidate and is actually three times larger than Jeb Bush’s highly regressive tax plan. According to an analysis by the liberal think tank Citizens for Tax Justice, Rubio “would add $11.8 trillion to the national debt over a decade” and more than a third of his tax cuts would go to the top 1 percent.
The primary season is far from over, and there's plenty of time for the GOP to turn to a bat-shit-crazy candidate. But if Marco Rubio is their idea of an establishment moderate, holy crap, just holy crap.

God help us all. And I'm an atheist!

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