Four years ago, Bobby Jindal delivered the Republican response to President Obama's first State of the Union address. The weirdness of Jindal's address (we must stop magnetic levitation trains and volcano monitoring!) tended to overshadow the fact that, in the immediate wake of the inauguration of the first African American president, the Republicans selected a token minority in an obvious effort to mask their status as the all-white, all-the-time party.
It was the party's first attempt at outreach. But as with the highlighting of Ted Cruz, Allen West and Nikki Haley, the Republican Party is all about tokenism and has never had any interest in moderating its position to appeal to the values and needs of minority voters. Specifically, the current attempt at outreach assumes that women and minorities are so superficial and self-destructive they will ignore their own social and economic best interests simply because there's someone who looks like them at the forefront of Republican politics.
Naturally, this is why Rubio delivered the Republican response to the State of the Union. But make no mistake, there is practically nothing in common between Marco Rubio and the people who the Republicans believe will be fooled by their shallow, cosmetic attempt at minority outreach. And there's definitely nothing in common between minorities and the policies the Republicans have been championing since their alleged outreach effort began following Election Day.
Rubio talked about protecting Social Security and Medicare for his working class "neighbors." Again, totally superficial and misleading. What Rubio didn't say was that his solution to long-term solvency for these programs is doctrinaire Republican sabotage: to kill these programs by a thousand cuts. To privatize it -- to summarily hand it over to the free market and the spazzy white guys in lower Manhattan -- the casino gamblers that gave us the Great Recession.
Rubio supports cutting Social Security benefits for his "neighbors." He supports raising the retirement age for his "neighbors." He supports reducing cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for his "neighbors." In fact, in June of last year, Rubio actually said the modest benefits for retirees have to be less "generous." Generous? He's clearly never talked with any of his "neighbors" who are trying to exist on their benefits.
Rubio and the Republicans seek to make Social Security more difficult to attain and less beneficial to receive until the people demand that their Republican-sabotaged and, thusly, shoddy system is replaced with an alternative. In the case of the Republicans, privatization. That's the long term plan and they're not giving up.
As for Medicare, Rubio voted for the Ryan budget which would replace Medicare benefits with a voucher system -- a move that would cost the government less, but beneficiaries more. According to the Kaiser Foundation, nine out of every ten Floridians, Rubio's "neighbors," would pay more in premiums under the voucher system. Furthermore, Rubio supports repealing Obamacare and thus the closure of the Medicare Part-D donut hole, which would force seniors to pay out-of-pocket for prescription drugs -- or go without.
Wait. Hang on a second while I enjoy an awkward drink of water.
Okay I'm done. Back to it.
Rubio also criticized the growth of the national debt under President Obama, revealing his true nature as a budget cutter and austerity fetishist -- measures that always disproportionately hurt the middle and working classes -- Rubio's "neighbors" -- and never the super-wealthy.
Marco Rubio is such a supporter of women and minority causes that he supports things like making English the official language of the United States; he categorically opposes amnesty for undocumented workers; he's supported government-mandated ultrasounds for women seeking an abortion; he supports fetal personhood, which would turn pregnant women into fugitives; and just this week, Marco Rubio voted against the Violence Against Women Act for the second time in a year.
Oddly, given the content of the rest of his speech, he concluded his address by pretending to support bipartisanship, "Despite our differences, I know that both Republicans and Democrats love America. I pray we can come together to solve our problems, because the choices before us could not be more important." But Rubio voted in lockstep with every Republican filibuster since he took office. Here's just a glimpse of the bills he voted to block -- blindly and only with party loyalty and obstruction in mind.
H.R. 12 - Paycheck Fairness Act
H.R. 448 -- Elder Abuse Victims Act
H.R. 466 - Wounded Veteran Job Security Act
H.R. 515 - Radioactive Import Deterrence Act
H.R. 549 -- National Bombing Prevention Act
H.R. 577 - Vision Care for Kids Act
H.R. 626 - Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act
H.R. 1029 - Alien Smuggling and Terrorism Prevention Act
H.R. 1168 -- Veterans Retraining Act
H.R. 1171 - Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization
H.R. 1293 -- Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act
H.R. 1429 -- Stop AIDS in Prison Act
H.R.5281 -- DREAM Act
S.3985 -- Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act
S.3816 -- Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act
S.3369 -- A bill to provide for additional disclosure requirements for corporations, labor organizations, Super PACs and other entities
S.2237 -- Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act
S.2343 -- Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act
S.1660 -- American Jobs Act of 2011
S.3457 -- Veterans Jobs Corps Act
Rubio is nothing more than a right-wing Trojan horse, appealing to Hispanics because he's Cuban, but then voting against everything that would help and elevate the Hispanic community. Strangely, there was also a tea party response by Rand Paul. "Strange" because Marco Rubio was also a tea party candidate in 2010 -- the "Crown Prince" of the tea party. The tea party -- a grotesquely racist organization that proffers in a more overtly anti-immigrant, anti-minority politics than even its Republican Party granddads. And in that regard, the Republican Party is the party of states' rights, Tenther nullification, Southern Strategy dog-whistle politics, the-47-percent-are-moochers politics, Jim Crow voter suppression and outright minority disenfranchisement -- especially in Rubio's home state of Florida, where such things are notorious and ever present. In the guise of Hispanic outreach, Rubio would bring all of these things to the table in a would-be run for president, and he further exposes the fact that the Republicans are utterly out of touch and totally clueless about what it means to be woman or a minority voter in America. The Republicans and Marco Rubio are, in every way, the enemies of the very people they seek to attract with their tokenistic outreach effort.