The Marco Rubio Show (Elephant Gore Pioneer)

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), talks to CNBC correspondent John Harwood during an interview at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Monday, 5 October 2012. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

This is the Marco Rubio Show:

Speaking before dozens of influential Jewish Republicans here last week, Marco Rubio lashed out at President Obama’s foreign policy and vowed, “When I am Commander-in-Chief, I will fortify our alliance with Israel.”

Applause filled the room and Rubio sought a deeper connection. “As speaker of the Florida House,” he said, “I pioneered what became a national effort by requiring the Florida pension program to divest from companies linked to Iran’s terrorist regime.”

It was groundbreaking, but Rubio had nothing to do with creation of the legislation.


We have before noted that the junior U.S. Senator from Florida has shown himself something of a dim bulb in the foreign policy pack; everything from his campaign slogan to his understanding of history to his comprehension of nation-building is borrowed failure―he is a walking rehash of bad ideas and, apparently, empty bluster and braggadocio.

Here is a fun irony: With Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) palling around with terrorists, did Marco Rubio just have an “Al Gore moment”? Hindsight suggests they might actually be trying to do this; the only rational argument otherwise is the reasonable―even otherwise convincing―proposition that such endeavors require way too much effort for the payoff. But, really, can Republicans be any more ironic right now?

You know, don’t answer. Something about the elephant in the room goes here.

Steve Benen considers two challenges the latest episode presents Mr. Rubio, and those who might protest that two is not nearly enough should stay themselves at least as well as those who would propose that these are Republican voters in particular for the moment, and American voters in general as we go forward, and therefore these are not really any manner of challenges at all.

The first is that Rubio, despite his background as a career politician―he won his sixth election the year he turned 40―has no real accomplishments to his name. This creates an awkward dynamic in which the GOP lawmaker struggles to brag about his own record, and in the case of the Jewish Republican Coalition’s event, it apparently led him to embellish that record with an accomplishment that was not his own.

The second problem is that this is not the first time Rubio delivered a speech in which he flubbed substantive details in a brazenly misleading way. The week before his “pioneering” fib, for example, Rubio misled an audience about the scope of U.S. surveillance powers.

Around the same time, he misstated his record on “killing Obamacare” and misstated some key details about national security. A month prior, Rubio was caught making claims about his economic plan that were simply untrue.

We do, indeed, sometimes arrive at a point at which, in principle, a candidate’s consistent failures regarding headline issues like foreign policy or basic reality ought to imply something about quality and expectation. There also occurs in this arena a strange vantage from which we might seek entertainment in watching Mr. Benen find new ways to recite the litany; to wit, this iteration skipped the Neeson Doctrine, an episode that really ought to be worth something in and of itself.

After all, we are by some strange metric, as Elias Isquith noted last month, expected to consider part of the GOP’s “reasonable” wing: “He is, we’re told, one of the ‘adults’.”

Something about irony, something about elephants.

This is the Marco Rubio Show.


Image note: Detail of photo by Mark Lennihan/Associated Press.

Benen, Steve. “A movie catchphrase is not a foreign policy”. msnbc. 11 May 2015.

—————. “Rubio targets Trump, but leads with his chin”. msnbc. 4 September 2015.

—————. “Rubio’s ‘pioneer’ boasts crumble under scrutiny”. msnbc. 14 December 2015.

Isquith, Elias. “The disturbing truth about Marco Rubio: The establishment’s favorite is running an extremist, Islamophobic campaign”. Salon. 21 November 2015.

Leary, Alex. “Rubio says he ‘pioneered’ anti-Iran measure but record shows different story”. The Tampa Bay Times. 10 December 2015.

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