(Video) Senator Rubio makes a fool out Senator Harkin over Cuba

February 25, 2014

This is truly a popcorn-worthy use of your time, my friends.

Background: Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), one of the leading progressives in the Senate, took a trip to Cuba recently. Perfectly legal, members of Congress can go on such fact-finding missions when they wish. The senator must have visited an alternate-Earth Cuba, however, because, when he came back, he had nothing but praise for the Communist dictatorship:

It makes sense that as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Tom Harkin would want to check out how other countries are doing when it comes to public health. So he spent last week in Cuba, where he saw all sorts of things that made quite the impression on him.

Cuba is a “poor country, but they have a lower child mortality rate than ours,” the Iowa Democrat said to reporters Wednesday. “Their life expectancy is now greater than ours. It’s interesting—their public health system is quite remarkable.”

This was all a bit much for Marco Rubio (R-FL), himself the son of Cuban refugees who had to flee the island to escape that wonderful health system, and so much else. (1) So, in a speech before the Senate, he proceeded to mop the floor with Harkin’s useful idiocy. From the Miami Herald:

This wasn’t some Cold War-era fulmination about Castro’s regime.

Rubio’s speech was about current events: the protests in Venezuela, the Maduro government and the ties it has with the Castros, who repress their own people and helped inspire the suppression in Caracas.

Venezuela is becoming the new Cuba.

For 14 minutes and 16 seconds, Rubio gave the best oration of his political career, speaking largely off the top of his head and with only the barest of notes. Rubio sometimes dripped with sarcasm or simmered with indignation as he made the case to Congress that the United States needs to continue Cuba sanctions and punish Venezuela.

Enjoy:

My only question is at what point did Harkin sneak out in embarrassment?

I know Rubio has lost his luster with conservatives because of his support for the Senate immigration bill last year. Indeed, he’s fallen well-off my own short list, as I came to question his judgment. But, in this speech on Cuba and Venezuela, on the fecklessness of the Obama administration’s policy in the region, and the fatuousness of Castro apologists such as Tom Harkin, all I can say is “Viva, Marco!”

RELATED: More at Hot Air.

Footnote:
(1) If you want to read one of the best books about what life under the Castro brothers has really been like, I recommend Armando Valladares’ memoir, “Against All Hope.” I’m tempted to send Tom Harkin a copy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


So, would Charlie Crist have been better than @MarcoRubio ?

July 1, 2013

You know it’s bad when conservative commentators like Allahpundit find themselves asking that question:

Even now, even after everything, I strongly prefer his flip-flopping to the grotesque omnibus opportunism of Charlie Crist. But it’s worth asking: How different would the Senate have looked since 2010 with Crist in there instead of Rubio? What would have changed in terms of actual policy? If anything, without Rubio to woo conservatives, the Senate immigration effort would have been in deeper trouble than it is now. The fact that we have to pause and even consider this sort of “what if Crist won?” hypothetical makes me think maybe we should hold off on the Rubio tributes. For now.

The question arises because of the very flip-flopping that Allah mentions. Rubio’s transformation from an anti-amnesty, fix the gosh-darned border hawk into an immigration squish has been nothing less that stunning. It’s like the person you thought was your sweet grandmother ripping off her rubber mask and revealing herself as your lifelong arch-nemesis. And then laughing maniacally as you’re lead away to the dungeons.

To give you an idea of how much he’s changed, here’s an excerpt from a 2009 article wherein Rubio criticizes Reagan for the 1986 amnesty (h/t Patterico):

Rubio delivered a six-minute discourse on immigration policy in which he brought up The Gipper’s support for the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which granted amnesty to most undocumented workers who could prove they had been in the country continuously for the previous five years. 

“In 1986 Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to 3 million people,” Rubio said. “You know what happened, in addition to becoming 11 million a decade later? There were people trying to enter the country legally, who had done the paperwork, who were here legally, who were going through the process, who claimed, all of a sudden, ‘No, no no no , I’m illegal.’ Because it was easier to do the amnesty program than it was to do the legal process.”

“If you grant amnesty, the message that you’re sending is that if you come in this country and stay here long enough, we will let you stay. And no one will ever come through the legal process if you do that.”

Rubio said the U.S. must first get control of its borders and its visa system, which often allows people to enter legally but remain after their visas expire.

And to drive the point home, watch as he makes the argument even more strongly:

(h/t Legal Insurrection, where you’ll find a transcript)

I think you can understand why, now, his role in the Gang of 8 has left me feeling I should be scraping a pie off my face. The man who went on program after program on radio and TV trying to sell a lemon of an immigration bill to conservatives is not the same guy in that quote and in that video. They look alike, they sound alike,  but the new guy is clearly the evil twin from another universe. He just needs the van Dyke.

Or, rather than being an evil dimension-hopping doppelganger, candidate Rubio was lying massively back then, always really favored some sort of amnesty, and is now cynically fronting the Gang of Eight in order to present himself as a “leader” for 2016.

I think we can guess which is really true.

There’s no hiding it: my disappointment in Marco Rubio is deep, painful, and abiding. From the moment I saw the video of his farewell speech as Florida House Speaker, I thought this guy has “it.” The right political principles combined with ample charisma and a marvelous talent for communication. A sure future president, one I was certain would be great.

Sure, Lucy. I’ll kick that football.

Conn Carroll, a border hawk, writes that, in spite of it all, he still loves Rubio because he acted as a gentleman throughout, treated his opponents with respect, and never intended to deceive. I find that last part especially hard to square with the quote and video above, for Rubio is not a dummy. He has to know the border security provisions in this bill are garbage. Given that, how is the repetition of slickly delivered, deceptive talking points on Hannity and Limbaugh and O’Reilly treating your opponents with respect?

No, my love affair with Marco Rubio is over. If he wants to get back in my good graces, he’ll have to do a penance that makes Henry IV’s walk to Canossa look like a stroll in the park.

And his chances for the 2016 nomination, too, should be over, if he runs. This wasn’t some minor flip-flop that can be passed over; border security, immigration, and the rule of law are core issues. If he wins the nomination, I’ll vote for him, as he’d still be better than Hillary or whatever progressive the Democrats put up, but, in the primaries, I’m looking elsewhere.

To answer Allahpundit’s question, right now I’d have to say “Yeah, ‘Spray-Tan Charlie’ might well have been better.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Presented for your approval: Marco Rubio and Rand Paul school Barack Obama

February 13, 2013

So, last night was the State of the Union address. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t watch. First off, Obama’s a tedious, hackneyed speaker, and listening to him for an hour would be painful. If you did, you’re made of sterner stuff than I.

Second, we know what he’s going to say. As I posted on Twitter yesterday morning:

And, from what I can see in the transcript, he mostly lived down to my expectations. (1)

But I was interested in the Republican response. For one, prior response speeches have ranged from indifferent to outright flops, but, as this was the first speech of Obama’s second term, there was a chance to begin anew and to lay the first paving stones on the road to 2014 and 2016. Also, the speakers were two men whose careers I’ve followed with interest: Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fl)  and Rand Paul (R-Ky). Both, I think, gave very good responses, concentrating on philosophy over wonky policy details and providing an excellent contrast between our vision of limited government, liberty, and free markets, on the one hand, and Obama’s progressive dream of limitless government, statism, and dependency on the other.

First, Marco Rubio (2):

And then Rand Paul:

While I have points of disagreement with both men, I could comfortably, happily vote for either for president. Along with Governor Jindal of Louisiana, I think we have at least three strong candidates for 2016, and a great improvement over the last group.

Footnotes:
(1) About that proposed $9 per hour minimum wage, indexed to inflation. I suggest anyone who thinks that’s a good idea look up the words “inflationary spiral.” Government should have no role in setting prices or wages, period. It’s just bad policy.
(2) You probably noticed the awkward moment when Rubio reached for a bottle of water. According to actor Adam Baldwin on Twitter last night, that was a sign that the producers screwed up and left the room too warm, which, when combined with the hot lights, left Rubio dying of thirst. He handled it well that night and this morning, though, making jokes about it and disarming the inevitable “OMG!! He drank water!” attacks from the Left.  (Really, guys. Is that the best you’ve got?)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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