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Rubio's rebuttal, same old GOP message

By Jeannie Rivera Feb 13, 2013 10:55AM


It was 1998 and I was covering a city commission race in West Miami, a small bedroom community in Miami-Dade County. Up for election was a boyish-faced, Cuban American attorney in his mid-20s, last name Rubio. He was nice, inexperienced, very open, and bright. Yet I followed the campaign with little interest, often wondering why my editors wanted to cover a race typically dominated by discussions on pot holes and best garbage pick-up days.


Boy, have I had an attitude adjustment since.


As U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Florida, delivered his rebuttal to the State of the Union speech Tuesday night, I clung to his every word waiting for the substance to come. It never did. To me, this is the most perplexing aspect of having followed and covered Rubio's career since its inception. I have seen a charismatic, shrewd, daring, and innovating leader turn more and more into another Washington mouthpiece repeating the same old things. Is that what it takes to be part of this country’s political elite?


What did we learn from Rubio’s rebuttal (other than thou shall always keep a bottle of water within arm’s reach when speaking publicly)? Let’s see, we learned that his parents are working class immigrants, that President Obama hates jobs, wants to bankrupt Medicare (even though Obama called for reform of the program during his speech), that Obama is “obsessed” with raising taxes, and that “more government” doesn’t create jobs. It creates uncertainty and more taxes. These are all mantras we’ve heard a gazillion times before that have, by the way, failed to entice voters.


This was Rubio’s opportunity to separate himself from the pack and position himself as presidential. It was his opportunity to give fellow Hispanics, a key demographics that has turned away from the GOP, a reason to reconsider. But that would’ve required departing from the same old, tired talking points that have caused Republicans to lose election after election. It called for refreshing the message and that didn't happen.


Rubio’s speech sounded more like a continuation of the debt ceiling debate that has dominated the national political discussion in the last couple of months. It mattered little that it was him delivering the rebuttal if the script hasn't changed in weeks. This time, it was a more photogenic GOP member delivering it, not much of a change for a party in need of CPR to remain relevant.


Even Rubio's line on military cuts, “we don’t have to raise taxes to avoid the President’s devastating cuts to the military", sounded tired and broken-record-like. Ironically, cost-saving Republicans don’t want to see reductions in the Department of Defense budget, a whopping $819 billion a year.


Absent from Rubio’s speech were ideas on how, for instance, should Medicare and Social Security (which he alluded to) be fixed. There was also no reaction to Obama’s speech’s pivotal points like voters’ rights, a minimum wage hike to $9 hourly, universal access to preschool education, and the new “G” word - gun control. Rubio made no comments either about the troops coming home.


The Republican Savior showed no new strategies or ideas for saving his party. How very disappointing.



22Comments
Feb 13, 2013 1:54PM
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The right-wing hopes that by putting a new face on their old ideas, it will make a difference in how they are perceived and might even win them the next election. Somehow I doubt it will make any difference.
As for the Defense Budget we already outspend the next 17 countries combined, but for the representatives of the military-industrial complex it can never be enough.
Feb 14, 2013 12:00PM
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Shades of Sarah Palin - The GOP was hoping its message would be like putting a little lipstick on the pig would change it, but still turned out to be a pig.
Feb 14, 2013 1:55AM
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Same ole GOP song......I was also hoping Mr. Rubio would break from the ole script, but that didnt happen. Its gonna be another **** kicking to Republicans in the next election. At least they tried to put a brown face on that old antiquated good ole boy system. Sorry but it didnt work guys.
Feb 13, 2013 5:00PM
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It appears that Rubio is falling into line, so typical of many Latinos trying to climb the latter of success, rather than risk losing his party's support by being different.
Feb 13, 2013 5:43PM
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Looks like the coconut didn't fall too far from the nut tree.
Feb 13, 2013 10:17PM
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es un antiemigrante nunca a estado con  nacionalisar solo critica pero no aplica nunca votaria por el hacerlo es llevar la misma politica de todos los republicanos no estan con el pueblo solo con los ricos..

Feb 13, 2013 6:00PM
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So whats new??? Same old, same old!!!!
Feb 13, 2013 5:43PM
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Looks like the coconut didn't fall too far from the nut tree.
Feb 14, 2013 11:59AM
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Shades of Sarah Palin - The GOP was hoping its message would be like putting a little lipstick on the pig would change it, but still turned out to be a pig.
Feb 13, 2013 10:33PM
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Que porqueria! What a piece of trash!

Feb 13, 2013 10:33PM
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Que porqueria! What a piece of trash!

Feb 13, 2013 10:16PM
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es un antiemigrante nunca a estado con  nacionalisar solo critica pero no aplica nunca votaria por el hacerlo es llevar la misma politica de todos los republicanos no estan con el pueblo solo con los ricos.

Feb 13, 2013 6:00PM
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So whats new??? Same old, same old!!!!
Feb 15, 2013 7:47AM
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sameo, sameo  lock step from the nut factory liberals. try to destroy anyone that you know is a sure winner. we do owe them for the free pr, however. must really be sad to feel you are no competition. but, time will tell who does what, where. have a good day, all, and await the future of  this country we leave for our children and grand children to exist in. sure am glad its not me.

Feb 14, 2013 1:55AM
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Same ole GOP song......I was also hoping Mr. Rubio would break from the ole script, but that didnt happen. Its gonna be another **** kicking to Republicans in the next election. At least they tried to put a brown face on that old antiquated good ole boy system. Sorry but it didnt work guys.
Feb 13, 2013 10:33PM
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Que porqueria! What a piece of trash!

Feb 15, 2013 7:49AM
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sameo, sameo  lock step from the nut factory liberals. try to destroy anyone that you know is a sure winner. we do owe them for the free pr, however. must really be sad to feel you are no competition. but, time will tell who does what, where. have a good day, all, and await the future of  this country we leave for our children and grand children to exist in. sure am glad its not me.

Feb 15, 2013 7:48AM
avatar

sameo, sameo  lock step from the nut factory liberals. try to destroy anyone that you know is a sure winner. we do owe them for the free pr, however. must really be sad to feel you are no competition. but, time will tell who does what, where. have a good day, all, and await the future of  this country we leave for our children and grand children to exist in. sure am glad its not me.

Feb 15, 2013 7:47AM
avatar

sameo, sameo  lock step from the nut factory liberals. try to destroy anyone that you know is a sure winner. we do owe them for the free pr, however. must really be sad to feel you are no competition. but, time will tell who does what, where. have a good day, all, and await the future of  this country we leave for our children and grand children to exist in. sure am glad its not me.

Feb 13, 2013 12:23PM
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You're not disappointed, you're elated.
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About the author
  • Jeannie RiveraJeannie Rivera

    Jeannie Rivera is an independent writer and former newspaper reporter who lives in Central Florida with her family, a guitar, a few orchids and a bunch of books. She doesn't have pets and this is unlikely to change. She's penned stories for The Miami Herald, The Orlando Sentinel, BBC Mundo, AOL and others. She was raised in Puerto Rico where she learned to sing, cook good food, be a good mom and throw boisterous parties (she gets great story material from these.) She enjoys traveling, good wine, great books, her two boys and sleeping.