On February 12, President Obama gave his State of the Union address – which was great. And Marco Rubio, a rising star in the Republican party, a senator from Florida, gave the Republican rebuttal, and it was a lie from start to finish.
The Republicans are struggling to rebrand and repackage themselves. Right now, it’s a party that cares only about the rich, that seeks to take women’s health back to the 1950s, that seeks to turn Medicare into a voucher system, to privatize Social Security, to redefine rape, to…well, you get the general idea. Rubio’s rebuttal, as one anchor put it, “was tinker-toys, a kid’s presentation of a philosophy at the 9th grade level.”
First, Rubio said that Obama believed government was the answer to everything, that the free enterprise system was to blame for our economic woes, that higher taxes would solve our problems. He then went on to explain how he and his family had benefited from government programs – through education loans, Medicare for his parents, and the lure of the American dream that anyone, anywhere, could achieve their full potential.
When I watched Rubio, my jaw dropped at the multitude of lies. He’s a member of the party that, under George W Bush, started two wars; created Homeland Security and the TSA, two huge government agencies whose number of employees is a government secret; under whose watch 9-11 happened; under whose watch we had the financial meltdown of 2008. Bush was a disaster for this country and for much of the world. But Rubio seems to have forgotten all that. In Rubio’s world, Obamacare is the terrible disaster that will bankrupt businesses, that robs people of the health care they now have, and just how are we going to pay for it all, anyway? Why should anyone be guaranteed health care?
Well, Marco, the Pentagon budget could pay for universal health care.
I’m not crazy about everything Obama does- I dislike the drone business, that Gitmo is still open for business, and I don’t understand why we can’t end Afghanistan today rather than in 2014. I don’t understand why Obama hammers away about how great our military is and will continue to be. On the other hand, he may be the most transformative and smartest president we’ve had in decades, with a unique background that effectively embraces a global humanity – and not just a community of aging, rich white men.
Obama understands that as a country we can’t ignore the vulnerable, sick, and aging in our society. He understands that an affordable college education is intrinsic to our success and continued prosperity as a nation. He understands the need for a balance between government and private enterprise. He understands, as the Republicans do NOT, that equal rights must be extended to gays in society, in the military, across the board.
The synchro? Rob and I happened to have lunch today with Don, his off-road biking buddy, and Craig, Don’s brother-in-law. A spur of the moment thing. I try not to have political discussions with people I’ve just met. I become obnoxious and intolerant of views that disenfranchise the many. Yet, Craig and I ended up having a civil and interesting conversation he initiated about politics, life, and all the rest of it.
He sounded reasonable on some issues – like unions. As a retired firefighter, he understands the importance of unions, which are supported by Democrats, not Republicans. He says he belongs to no political party, is disgusted with both parties, doesn’t understand why we are the world cop. OK, keep talking, Craig. Then he went through this long, convoluted thing about how he’s for equal rights for everyone but that he has a problem with the, well, legal marriage for gays. I’m thinking, Huh?
“Really? It boils down to semantics for you?” I asked. “You think they should have all the rights as a heterosexual spouse in terms of property, death benefits, all of that, but that they shouldn’t be married?”
“Marriage,” Craig said, folding his hands together on the table, “is between one man and one woman. It’s in the Bible.”
At this point, I excused myself and said I needed to go next door to pick up a few groceries.
That’s how I felt during Rubio’s rebuttal, like I should excuse myself and find something else to do. The Republican Party, as it exists right now, is a dying paradigm. You can’t dismiss most of the electorate – women, Hispanics, gays, people of color, the poor and elderly, the vulnerable and disenfranchised – and win any election in this country. Even Rubio, whose parents are Cuban immigrants, who represents the rapidly expanding Hispanic electorate, can’t save this party, as it exists now, with a platform that benefits the few at the expense of the many.