[mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] is clearly the establishment favorite right now. He also has managed to put in a rider that prevented the use of general funds to cover the “risk corridors” in the ACA. This block is what has United signalling that they may exit the exchanges, and if followed by Aetna this would be full bore death spiral.
However, Obama has said that the risk corridor is a debt owed by the Government and is subject to full faith and credit. He has vowed to ensure that the insurance companies recieve not 13% of losses, but the entire “owed” amount.
The biggest critique against Rubio is that he flopped on immigration and is a squish in disguise. Here is why I say December: The rider Rubio attached is on a spending bill due to expire in December. Obama will (obviously) threaten to veto or actually veto any spending bill that includes that rider, Rubio’s rider. Without new authorization the government will shut down. [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] has clearly demonstrated a willingness to have that fight with the President, and with Senate Majority Leader [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ]. Obviously McConnell will cave on this fight (as he does every fight), and will lead the establishment in deciding whether to settle for giving Obama everything he asks for or whether they need to offer extra. Obama and the media will frame any opposition as political posturing by candidates who are willing to place the lives of Americans at risk in order to advance their careers. It is pretty obvious what Cruz will do. What will Rubio do when his own amendment is the one targeted? Will he be willing to stand against the establishment to ensure the demise of the exchanges or will he say that some things (government) are so important that others (will of the people) must be sacrificed?
I am a huge Cruz fan. However, I believe Rubio would be the most conservative President since Coolidge, even if not as conservative as Cruz. If he chooses to fight for his amendment expect him to be abandoned by the establishment. If he chooses to drop the amendment expect him to be abandoned by Conservatives. If he chooses to hide expect him to be absolutely roasted by Jeb and Trump. I honestly do not know what Rubio will do, but his actions over the next two weeks will determine whether or not he is truly establishment. I do not see a political escape hatch, but I am not as talented a politician as Rubio. I expect if there is a golden path he will find it.
Luckily this whole debacle will be followed by a debate on December 15th. By December 16th we will know whether Rubio truly is an anti-establishment ultra conservative (as his voting record indicates) or whether he is an establishment hack (as many believe due to Gang of 8).
** P.S. Cruz has the advantage of having his position extraordinarily well established. All he has to do his the same thing he has done before and all the people who supported him before will continue to support him.