Cruz or Rubio?

Sorry to steal the title of a previous article here and transpose the names, but I felt the need.  I make no bones about the fact that Cruz was in my top three choices when this whole thing started.  I was actually for Walker as by first choice.  It was a toss-up between Cruz and Rubio for #2.  I have previously posted an article about Ted Cruz and some inconsistencies in his stances which basically argued at the end that he is not the most consistently conservative candidate, but the most politically calculating conservative candidate.  Hence, there is no doubt now that Rubio is my choice going forward.

First, by way of rebuttal, let’s get the big issue out of the way- immigration. Yes, it is both a national security and an economic issue- the two biggest concerns of the electorate.  The people who oppose Rubio based on a single issue are akin to those on the Left who define women by their position on abortion, or when Hispanics are defined by their position on immigration, or when African-Americans are defined by their position on alleged police violence.  Rubio has since disavowed the Gang of Eight bill as unlikely even if it came up again until it is proven that illegal immigration is under control.  Hence, until it is proven it is a moot point and Rubio has said as much.  This is an old and tired story except to those opposed to Rubio.  A previous writer equated Rubio’s stance to that of Hillary Clinton.  Really?  Rubio’s idea of enforcing the current laws, proving that illegal immigration is under control, workplace enforcement, etc., and then having the bigger discussion is akin to Clinton’s policy?  Really?  Has anyone read Clinton’s stance which will go even further than Obama’s unconstitutional power grab?

Secondly is the charge that Rubio has always been a politician.  News flash: unless your name is Trump, Carson or Fiorina, they are all politicians, including Ted Cruz.  Unlike Cruz who attended elite universities like Princeton and Harvard, Rubio started  at community college before attending public Florida colleges (U. of Florida, U of Miami), then became a city commissioner before moving on to state government.  But, Cruz has been involved in state government except for brief periods of private law practice.  And here is another news flash: you do not become Speaker of the state house because you are a good oratorical “speaker.”  But, you are the political leader and parliamentarian of that body.  Has Ted Cruz led anything?  The solicitor general of the state of Texas does not lead, but takes its direction from the elected state attorney general.

Can Marco Rubio be played and swayed?  Again, we go back to the Gang of Eight scenario.  People, including politicians, can change positions over time based on experiences or changing circumstances.  Rubio’s position changed, if at all, over years, not three minutes later after a discussion with Sen. Pat Roberts.  And sometimes what some people refer to as “played and swayed” is actually governing.  Yet, some focus on this single issue blinded by tunnel vision over that single issue.  It is 2016, not 2013- move on people.

Some have noted that Rubio’s age may be a drawback in a general election.  Against an old hag like Hillary Clinton, I beg to differ!!  If anything, it is a ready-made campaign commercial.  Do we want this country to reach into the past and elect someone who has been running for president for 25 years, or do we look forward with a new generation of leader?  I know many a Democrat who would never vote for Clinton because she represents the past.  Yes, Cruz also meets the “new” criteria, but suddenly these same Democrats (and independents) seem to switch back to the past.  Why is that?

Then there are the accusations about Rubio’s support for a bill addressing campus rape that is anti-due process.  I would encourage those critics not to rely on a Weekly Standard article, but to read the bill themselves.  It sets out reporting guidelines and actually steers the entire process towards proper law enforcement authorities, not campus police.  As for the due process concerns, contrary to popular belief colleges have had disciplinary boards and hearings way before campus rape allegations proliferated.  While it may be true that the McCaskill bill (which Rubio co-sponsored along with other Republicans) does not address due process specifically, the bill would never pass in the House and there is a companion bill in that chamber that does address due process rights of the accused in college disciplinary proceedings.  Again, this is called “governing” and letting the legislative process play out.

Rubio has been criticized for his support of sugar subsidies.  Rubio hails from and represents Florida where sugar is a $425 million industry.  Conversely, Cruz represents Texas where oil and gas rule.  Although Cruz claims to be against all subsidies, including oil, he endorses expensing for intangible drilling costs.  This started in 1913 to protect against wells coming up dry.  With advances in technology, that is almost non-existent.  Some, like Cruz, have characterized this as an accounting procedure, but groups like the American Enterprise Institute, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the Joint Committee on Taxation and the US Treasury Department since 1913 qualify it as a subsidy.  Cruz can redefine it all he wants, but it is a subsidy.  As for influence, the sugar industry has donated over $105,000 to Rubio over his entire political career and a $25,200 donation in 2014.  Meanwhile, one of Ted Cruz’ PACs is fully funded by the energy industry to the tune of $10 million with another $25 million from others in the energy industry supporting his many other PACs.  And while people crow about Cruz’ fundraising for his campaign from small donors, with highly funded political action committees (he has ten), who needs the big donors in campaign finance reports?

As for nation building, Rubio’s arguments largely mirror those of military experts that absent American forces in the area, Iraq descended into chaos and ISIS was the result having then taken advantage in Syria.  Most of the criticism stems over Rubio’s support of regime change in Libya, an unmitigated disaster.  But after the House voted down Obama’s action in Libya (which had no legal effect), Rubio said: “Obama botched Libya.  But right answer isn’t to let Qudaffi win.  Let’s finish the job and get out…”  That is hardly nation building.  With the PATRIOT Act, I personally support it. After 9/11, everyone complained that no one was connecting dots.  When the tools were given to connect the dots, people (like Cruz and Rand Paul) bitched.  The people who bitch about the PATRIOT Act (which listening in on American communications required a FISA warrant) are the same ones to bitch when criminals get off on technicalities.  It is the same thing here.

Then there is the trouble with Rubio’s finances.  What American middle class voter has not experienced debt in their life or financial problems?  Rubio’s experiences more accurately coincide with the experience of the vast number of Americans more so than a globetrotting, pandering head of a “charity” like Hillary Clinton.  Let Clinton use Rubio’s finances against him and see where that goes.  Incidentally, unlike Ted Cruz, Rubio does not have about $750,000 in investments in the energy industry.

Finally, the other elephant in the room- electability.  All this discussion about flip-flops, distrust over amnesty for illegal immigrants, etc. is moot if Hillary Clinton is elected in 2016.  The only judges of who is electable are the voters on Election Day- not pundits, television talking heads, pollsters or commentary here.  Polls showing this person or that person winning or losing against Clinton in November mean nothing nine months before the election.  By the way, electability played a role in Rubio’s surge in Iowa which affected Trump’s numbers which is why Trump is now whining about Rubio getting the attention and not him.  Regardless, let’s keep our eyes on the prize and realize that beating Hillary Clinton is the goal here.  The country cannot afford 4-8 more years of a Democrat in the White House.  Working under the assumption it will be Rubio or Cruz at the end, rest assured it will be a conservative Republican.