Last night President Obama fulfilled his constitutional duty to report to a joint session of Congress on the State Of The Union. While the president’s speech was more aggressively progressive than past State Of The Union addresses, it was by no means different than his re-election platform or his second inaugural address. The Republican response from new GOP savior, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, is being defined by a single moment of water consumption. Republicans like Joe Scarborough this morning were bemoaning the focus on his quick sip of water during the response, instead of the substance of his speech. The reality is most republicans and especially Rubio himself better be glad that’s what people are focusing on this morning.
If you want to focus on the substance of Marco Rubio’s political coming out party, you can see the same speech being given a thousand times during this past presidential election (An election Barack Obama won overwhelmingly). Aside from a mention of his father being a bartender, we’ve heard Rubio’s immigrant roots story (with several minor revisions). The rest of the address was regurgitated repetitions of the basic boilerplate Mitt Romney campaign stump speech that won him 47% of the national popular vote. The simple-minded “Government bad, no government good” tripe, followed by how Obamacare has already ruined healthcare a year before it takes effect are all things we’ve heard before. The one issue that Rubio is relevant on, immigration reform, wasn’t mentioned at all. His delivery was not bad, but he didn’t say anything new or relevant aside from what got Republicans beat in November. Repeating the same thing again like they think it’s still 2010. Focus on his water moment helps Rubio because nobody realizes this.
The focus on his grasp for Poland Springs also keeps us from discussing how he was one of 22 Senators that voted against the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act. While Senator Rubio may not be in favor of the freedom to beat women, his explanation of why he voted against the act is the worst brand of weaksauce. He stated that he would have voted for the original bill if it had not been altered. But the senator submitted amendments to the bill that were included. So he voted against a bill because he himself had changed it. He’ll have so much fun trying to explain that type of nuance in a debate with Hillary Clinton. So thankfully people are talking about his water gaffe.
Many Republicans see Rubio as their own Obama. A dashing former state legislator who rockets to national fame in the United States Senate is the same template they feel they are following. Last night, and his vote earlier show that he’s playing inside political ball and following the failed Republican primary path that has led the GOP to lose the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections. Senator Rubio is lucky that his water gulping moment is the focus today and not the reality of his politics.