Debate Magazine


Posted on the 21 February 2013 by Doggone
Senator Marco Rubio made the rebuttal speech to the President's State of the Union address.
His unfortunate awkwardness with a water bottle was made much of by comedians and pundits.  Of all the things he did or said, I think the focus of attention paid to that stupid water fumble was unwarranted.  He clearly looked strained and uncomfortable, rather than having an easy poise while speaking - but so what?
Are we, as citizens, unable to deal with any message that is not slickly packaged? Can we not separate substance from style? Sometimes I wonder if we can, or if we have become pathetically shallow.
I know too many people who have anxiety, a kind of stage fright, over public speaking. There are numerous recommendations on how to overcome it, like imagining the audience in polka dot underwear. Even the most experienced speakers have the occasional stumble under pressure.
While I thought the speech demonstrated the usual GOP hypocrisy and lack of original ideas, Rubio's speech might as easily have been recycled from any generic right winger, thereby failing to distinguish himself as a unique and different personality.  That was a missed opportunity, although apparently he has found a way to exploit and capitalize on it.
But I'm not going to laugh at something as stupid as fumbling for a bottle of water. If we think that is funny, then we must be completely lacking in wit, and have all descended to the lowest common denominator.
I would hope the next lame attempt to profit from this kind of mean and petty kind of humor, people will let it fall flat instead of laughing. There are more amusing things to laugh at around us, there are more clever and witty things to amuse.
Rubio's approvals and disapprovals are mixed at best; according to ABC news:
Arlette Saenz By Arlette Saenz
Feb 20, 2013 1:36pm gt marco rubio 130214 wblog Publics View of Marco Rubio Mixed, Poll Shows
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
The public’s view of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is mixed, according to a new poll conducted in the days after the Florida senator delivered the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.
A Pew Research Center poll released today shows 26 percent of those polled viewed Rubio favorably, while 29 percent held an unfavorable opinion of the Florida senator. Forty-six percent said they were unable to offer a rating for Rubio.
Rubio, 41,  garnered a higher favorability rating – 49 percent – from those who identified as Republican, while GOPers who align themselves with the Tea Party gave him a much higher favorability rating: 70 percent.
The poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday, days after the Feb. 12 State of the Union.
Rubio has gained plenty of attention since his response to the address, in large part because of  the sip of water he took mid-speech.  While he has served as fodder for the late-night comedy circuit, Rubio was able to turn the mishap into a financial boon, raising $160,000 by selling more than 5,000 Rubio water bottles through his PAC, Reclaim America, in just one week, a source close to Rubio said.
The Florida senator, who many consider to have presidential ambitions for 2016, has also played a large role in the Senate’s push for immigration overhaul.  Over the weekend, Rubio described Obama’s leaked draft on immigration overhaul as “dead on arrival.”
Because Rubio is the token Latino for the right the way that Herman Cain was the token black guy and Bachmann and Palin were their token women.  Rubio's immigration plan is virtually identical to the President's. This is more hypocrisy, pure and simple. Rubio's family came to this country under preferential treatment for Cuban immigrants. For him to claim some kind of sympathy or empathy as if his experience were similar to those seeking citizenship is unfair and unequal - no surprise, that is the hallmark of the right.  He claims to live in a modest neighborhood, but he does so in a house several times more expensive than the average home, and is therefore not really similar to any of his neighbors.  More than that, he is trying his best to sell up and leave that neighborhood.  Rubio is unlikely to be able to persuade any minorities that the right welcomes them or gives a damn about their interests, when so many Republicans cheered the Romney/Ryan ticket advocating for self-deportation, or when reports surface of hostile encounters with anti-immigrant right wing politicians like Dana Rohrabacher in California.
No one is going to believe that the right gives a damn about ordinary every day people, poor people, minorities, or women.  Their actions shout so much louder than any words.
The right needs to ditch their failed ideology; they need to revamp from their core out, they can go on as they have and continue their epic failure to enter the 21st century.  They can continue to be on the wrong side of every issue, on the wrong side of history, and go the way of their predecessors, the Whigs, or they can change drastically.  But continuing on as they are will not succeed.
The failure is not in their stumble over a water bottle, it is in what they embrace and in what they believe.
Individually, the members of the right can be charming; but the ideology is purely toxic. No one other than angry, ill-informed, old white people who are for the most part not very politically savvy is going to vote for conservative politicians. Every racist 'joke' that is circulated, that denigrates black Americans, every slur against Asians, including those that are phrased as back-handed compliments, every email about putting alligators in the Rio Grande to stop people crossing, and every speech that talks about electrifying the border with voltage intended to kill people trying to cross, every blog post about walling in minorities so as to restrict them from mingling with the rest of us -------all of those things show a contempt for the lives of minorities and a lack of recognition of them as human beings.
People remember; they are not going to be quickly persuaded you suddenly feel otherwise after you realize you needed them to win elections.  For as long as you have said and applauded and laughed at hateful things towards women and minorities, and legislated in the hurtful, ugly ways that we term culture wars, that is how long it will take for you to persuade anybody that you are new, or different, or changed.  You haven't give up your culture wars yet.
Funny factoid - Latinos LOVE Obamacare. You want to get them to like you, or to vote for you? Stop talking about repealing it. That isn't going to happen, is it, no matter how many times you put Marco Rubio in front of a camera.

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