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Rubio’s Rebuttal: A GOP Disaster Reminiscent of Romney, With Hispanic Hues

| February 20, 2013

The great what hope? (DonkeyHotey)

The great what hope? (DonkeyHotey)

By Rhonda Swan

If Marco Rubio is the savior of the Republican Party, members of the GOP should start looking for their lifeboats.

The performance by Florida’s junior senator following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union on Tuesday was an epic failure. Republicans were betting the party on his success.

Sadly, success was easily obtainable. All Rubio had to do was say something new. Tell women, minorities and young people what the GOP has to offer that Democrats don’t. That is, after all, the reason Republicans picked the young, handsome, Hispanic senator to deliver the State of the Union Republican response.

He’s supposed to help them widen their tent by enticing the groups the GOP failed to win in the last two national elections. Instead, Rubio gave them the same tired lines that Mitt Romney wore out during his failed presidential campaign.

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And to make matters worse, he delivered those lines sweaty and nervously.

Author Terry McMillan tweeted, “He is not ready for prime time.”

Rubio is normally a good orator. But then he’s usually speaking to a friendly audience. Perhaps our expectations of him on the national stage were too high.

The GOP, though, shares the blame. Where were the bold ideas? The unveiling of the new GOP brand? The party certainly didn’t give its new anointed one much to work with.

“Instead of wasting more taxpayer money on so-called ‘clean energy’ companies like Solyndra,” Rubio said, “let’s open up more federal lands for safe and responsible exploration.”

Drill, baby, drill and Solyndra. Really?

As usual Rubio touted the values of a “free economy” and limited government.

“This idea – that our problems were caused by a government that was too small – it’s just not true,” he said. “In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.”

Right. Wall Street and its credit default swaps had nothing to do with it.

And it wouldn’t be a Republican speech without the obligatory attack on the Affordable Care Act.

“Obamacare created expensive requirements for companies…now many of these businesses aren’t hiring,” Rubio said. “Not only that, they’re being forced to lay people off and switch from full-time employees to part-time workers.”

They aren’t being forced. In fact, the owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster decided not to bump any of its full-time workers to part-time after announcing they would do so to limit health care costs resulted in a public relations nightmare that affected their bottom line.

They put profits over people and it cost them.

The GOP has put party over people and it’s cost them, too.

Rubio had a chance to tell Americans how that was going to change. Instead of points of light, he gave us talking points.

For his part, the president could have put a best-hits recording of his campaign speeches on the podium, hit play and left the room. It was déjà vu for most of his hour-long speech – yawningly so – except for the parts about increasing the minimum wage to $9 an hour, working with states on universal preschool programs and gun control.

But he’s already got the office that Republicans want. The GOP can’t afford to put us to sleep.

It says something when an awkward and desperate lunge for a water bottle is the most memorable moment of the biggest political speech of your life. And what it says isn’t good.

A Broward County Republican who takes issue with almost everything I write about her party called me the day after the State of the Union address to tell me that Rubio’s speech had doomed the GOP.

“It’s through. It’s over for Republicans,” she said. “Republicans don’t have a message. They’re not going to make it.”

She’s given to hyperbole but she no doubt expresses the frustration that many conservatives must be feeling. “I’m not going to vote Republican next time. I might stay home,” she said. “When they do this kind of dumb stuff, we either stay home or do protest votes in the other party.”

So much for the idea that one man could right this sinking ship.

Rhonda Swan is an editorial writer for The Palm Beach Post and author of Dancing to the Rhythm of My Soul: A Sister’s Guide for Transforming Madness into Gladness. She can be reached at

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14 Responses for “Rubio’s Rebuttal: A GOP Disaster Reminiscent of Romney, With Hispanic Hues”

  1. Outsider says:

    Yes, it’s all about speeches. Let’s talk about a desperate lunge at a bottle of water. Hey, I have an idea: let’s talk about a president who supported toppling the Libyan dictator, lost control of his weapons including 20,000 shoulder fired anti aircraft missiles, and then got the U.S. ambassador and three other brave Americans killed trying to buy the weapons back. Oh, and did I mention the current president was buying the weapons back so they could be shipped through Turkey to the Free Syrian Army, which includes many radical Jihadists? What happened to the 15,000 missiles we can’t locate? Could they be coming to an airport near you? In spite of a dozen major security breaches in Benghazi in the six months preceding the attacks, and numerous pleas for help, the administration actually removed a Marine security force against the unit’s own commander’s advice just one month before September 11, 2012. And the president told his security chiefs to do all they could do to help these brave Americans, and then he left the room, not heard from again until the next day. Did he think the defense secretary could launch a rescue attempt into a foreign country without his permission? Is this the best our press can do, is talk about a drink of water during a speech when our president’s inaction and incompetence caused the deaths of our foreign service workers HE put there? Is the media in this country that stupid, or do they just assume we are?

  2. Joe says:

    Love it outsider, but you forgot about the 16.5 trillion. If you were to count and say 1 number every second, it would take over 500 years to get ta that number, pretty amazing. You think healthcare is expensive now, wow, just wait until its free, my boss has already mentioned that it would be cheaper for the company to just pay the penalty. elections have consequences!

  3. Jill says:

    Presidential material? What! Is the media pushing this guy or his party and if so, the Republican party is in trouble – serious trouble. What a waste of time, energy and political money.

  4. Mel Bronson says:

    When the liberals progressives start sweating and fearing anyone of importance, they start attacking and demonizing that person.
    That is what liberals do. They cannot stand anyone or anything that differs at all from their myopic liberal religion.
    Rubio is scaring the liberals to death. He is their WORST NIGHTMARE come true.

    • Brighton Beach says:

      No Mel. (as Tony Montana might say)

      Rubio is another political prostitute, who will say and do anything to acquire more power.
      He isn’t anyone’s nightmare–he’s everyone’s laughing stock.

      90% of politicians of any affiliation, are full of poop.

      Marco Rubio exudes a strong odor of concentrated ka-ka. (that can be a nightmare though-maybe you’re right) When he speaks, the odor intensifies.

      Oooh-Fah! Pew!

  5. confidential says:

    Outsider, then with your same reasoning what about the 9/11 attack with loss of over 3,000 lives under the Bush administration watch? And what about the over 4,000 lives so far lost thank to the Bush war against Iraq based on the lies of Weapons of Mass Destruction? Yes I agree that back 12 years ago the press did not properly report on the events that will evolve into the pathetic loss of life caused and the miserable economic disgrace we endure today!
    They started a war over oil and now the same oil barons that had use the us taxpayers to finance it, are gouging us at the pump while Congress, Senate and the Executive do nothing about it!

  6. Stevie says:

    Events will shape public perception in the months ahead, just like the reach for the water bottle was an event you will try to build on. The events that are coming will unravel the liberal progressive agenda as history shows it always unravels itself.

    More and more people are realizing the lies of the current administration and how devastating they really are. Even Bill Nelson is realizing he has backed a loser.

    “And Nelson “hammered” the Department of Health and Human Services “for inviting Congress to cut funding for a new nonprofit insurance model,” as the Hill puts it:

    Funding for healthcare co-ops was eliminated in the year-end tax deal, and Nelson said officials offered up the program as a place Congress could cut.

    “Why was that negotiated away at the 11th hour?” Nelson asked.

    Cohen didn’t have an answer.

    Nelson noted that the co-ops funding was axed while applications for new co-ops were still in the pipeline. HHS had already approved a few new [sic] of them.

    “I want somebody to be accountable for this, and if it was a mistake, for somebody to own up to it,” Nelson said.

    If we’re going to hold people accountable, how about starting with Bill Nelson, who was among the 89 senators voting “yes” on the tax deal? Maybe that’s not entirely fair, since Nelson might have been unaware of that provision, and the expiration, less than two hours earlier, of the Bush tax cuts put genuine pressure on lawmakers to act quickly. Still, it’s odd for a member of Congress to be faulting the administration for a position it took in negotiating with Congress, rather than faulting himself and his colleagues for enacting a law whose provisions he doesn’t like.”

    How sweet it is.

  7. Anita says:

    I have a better idea. Let’s talk about the president who said, “We’re going in, give us the evidence to support [an invasion of Iraq]” and who is responsible for the deaths of nearly 5,000 American soldiers; 109,032 Iraqi and Coalition forces; 136 Journalists; 51 Media support workers and which left innumerable military personnel suffering from PTSD, brain damage, and disfigurement from which they will never recover. What the Bush/Cheney administration deliberately disregarded was the fact that their former ally, Saddam Hussein, not only had no WMD, but had kept the lid on al-Queida and other religious loonies and was thus in no position or mood to dispatch SAUDIs to attack the US. Once he was gone, the jihadists, et. al. were free to roam, recruit and rampage. And while we’re in an investigatory frame of mind, perhaps some enterprising journalist could locate the $100million missing from Saddam Hussein’s palace as well as locate the $1.7Billion, supposedly held in trust for the Iraqi people by the Federal Reserve and earmarked for Iraqi reconstruction. Finally, your questions about security in Benghazi should be directed to the House GOP who stolidly refused to pass a budget funding extra security for our Embassies abroad and who will indifferently watch us drift into a state of “Sequestration” imperiling national security, rather than cooperate with our duly elected president.

    • Outsider says:

      Yes Anita, we can and DID have that conversation because the press actually did their job and reported on it…..daily…..for years if I recall. They kept us updated with daily body counts, which seem to have faded away since Obama became the one directing the wars. I’ve had to to peruse all the back alley web-based news sources to find out just how bad the policy and negligence was that caused the Benghazi attacks and got our first ambassador killed since 1979. I’ve heard nothing of the facts on the mainstream media about it, but we get the full Monty on Marco Rubio’s untimely thirst quenching habits, as if that was the most important subject they could think of to talk about.

      • Anita says:

        Perhaps if you conquered your habit of frequenting “back alley web-based news sources” and simply tuned in to CNN, NBC, MSNBC, ABC and C-Span in addition to FOX and the Drudge Report, your lust for the truth on Benghazi would have been satisfied. The first five, however, can only report info as they get it, unlike the latter two which have been known to make stuff up. We all agree, what happened in Benghazi was tragic, but if you ask people working in Foreign Service, those are the risks, and I once again direct your questions of safety abroad to those whose zeal to cut spending and shrink government resulted in refusal of additional funding for State Department security.

        And Outsider, If young Mr. Rubio and his followers can’t take the heat of being the butt of media jokes now, he should not only get out of the kitchen, but run like hell for the hills.

  8. Jim R. says:

    Rubio appeared awkward because the water bottle scene was his first acting job.
    I wonder how much Pol;and Springs paid him for holding that bottle up for the camera.

  9. glad fly says:

    if rubio had horns and a forked tail he wouldn’t be as bad as what we have as president right now.

  10. SHiba says:

    Marco Rubio drinks water in front of the camera and its news. Yet whats truly going on in Washington is not reported. Calling his speach a disaster??? Our current president is a disaster.

  11. Stevie says:

    Yes, events certainly do shape the things to come. Rubio hasn’t spied on anyone, killed and Americans and then lied about it, used the IRS to target political groups. I’ll take the spilled water.

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