Marco Rubio is supposed to be the sane one. He’s positioned himself as face of young-ish conservatism, a Spanish-fluent son of Cuban exiles who tries not to come off as a rabid ideologue and who claims to love hip-hop in general and Wu-Tang in particular (even though he couldn’t name a single member of the group when pressed).
Rubio is, inarguably and objectively, the last, best hope for the GOP establishment in 2016 — despite his Tea Party bona fides, what seems to be the only traditional conservative politician who stands a chance of picking up the nomination. No, Ted Cruz doesn’t count because even though he’s a senator, he’s still a paleoconservative, ultra-religious dick who’d burn the country to the ground to keep it away from the Democrats. Only Rubio has the ability to come off as a semi-normal person — rather than a creepy scumbag like Cruz or a megalomanical fledgling fascist dictator like Trump — while still generating enough excitement with GOP voters to potentially go the distance.
Maybe that’s why keeping an eye on Rubio and what he says might be even more important than running down the latest batshit declarations from the Trump and Cruz camps: because Rubio technically speaks for the “center” of the Republican party. You’re not going to find anyone in the GOP more reasonable than him. And what does he say about LGBT rights, which have been cemented — or so you’d have thought — pretty strongly over the past few years? Well, put it this way: If you’re gay and you’re enjoying the fruits of that Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, Marco Rubio wants you to know that if he becomes president that’s all going to go away — since he proposes making gay marriage illegal again.
Sunday on Meet the Press, Rubio went into his plan to both overturn the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on gay marriage and remove protections for transgender Americans should he be elected to the White House. Back in April of this year, Rubio responded surprisingly sensibly to the Supremes’ same-sex marriage ruling, saying that while he opposes gay marriage on a personal level it was now the law of the land. But the law, as it turns out, is a fluid thing, particularly when the Republican nomination is on the line, and so Rubio now says that the gay marriage debate in the United States isn’t “settled” and that he wants to challenge what’s currently on the books. Rubio says he’ll do that in the name of allowing individual states to determine what’s right for them, employing the tried-and-true “states’ rights” argument that’s been used in the past to justify everything from slavery and segregation to near-complete clampdowns on legal abortion. Whenever somebody starts talking about the need for states’ rights, he or she is usually talking about the right of states to behave like assholes.
Admittedly, other than complaining loudly about how the Supreme Court doesn’t have the right to make laws — hint: in a manner of speaking, yes it does — Rubio doesn’t really have a way to reverse the same-sex marriage decision with the court being what it is. But that’s just the thing and it’s again why it’s tremendously important to pay close attention to Rubio’s plans for the future of the country should be elected. Rubio makes it clear that if he takes the White House, he’ll work to change the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage and a host of other progressive rulings by changing the court itself. “Ultimately, I will appoint Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally constructed,” he says. As many as three Supreme Court justice positions may open up over the next several years given that Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg will all be over the age of 80 post-the-next inauguration. The upcoming president has the ability to radically alter the course of this country for decades to come and to stunt new progress or reverse progress already made simply by choosing highly conservative Supreme Court justices.
Remember, Marco Rubio is the sane, centrist Republican — and even he’s planning to appoint justices and judges who see the world from a strictly right-wing viewpoint. Because even as a supposedly reasonable member of the GOP he stands firmly against societal progress. That’s what the GOP is now — the anti-progress party.
Even without a Supreme Court on his side, Rubio says he plans to roll back President Obama’s executive actions protecting the rights of LGBT citizens. This includes gender equality in restrooms and the right not to be discriminated against by an employer. Rubio wants to end those protections because keeping LGBT Americans second-class citizens furthers the Christian conservative vision of what America is supposed to look like. Rubio has made that clear and obviously every viable candidate to his right — Cruz and Trump basically — has even more oppressive, retrograde ideas in mind for all of us. They want gay and queer Americans back in the closet where they belong and good God-fearing white folk like Kim Davis vindicated. They want abortion banned. They want immigrants denied. Even the most restrained and “establishment” of their viable candidates can’t get past this platform of ugly exclusion and regression.
Remember this when you see Marco Rubio cast as the sensible savior for the Republican establishment. The truth is, underneath his somewhat benign exterior the thinking is no better than that of those preaching backward politics from the rooftops. The messenger may be a little more civilized but the message is exactly the same. The world, in particular its youth, have moved toward a more open, inclusive society. It’s second nature to them. Guys like Marco Rubio, who pretend to be youthful while advocating a return to the unjust and bigoted ways of the past, aren’t fooling anybody.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.