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News Thursday, Jun 16 2016

MEMO: GOP Turns To Damaged Rubio To Salvage Florida Senate Hopes

Jun 16, 2016

It appears that the Orlando terror attack gave Marco Rubio just the callous opening he needed to continue moving forward with his clearly pre-planned re-entry into the Republican Senate primary. Less than 24 hours after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, Rubio and his buddy, Carlos Lopez Cantera, were discussing how to use the terrorist attack to their political benefit according to Politico.

All signs have pointed to Rubio laying the groundwork for at least the last month to fight for his current Senate seat after calls have grown within the GOP for Marco Rubio to renege on his promise that he would not run for the Senate again.

Rubio is poised to enter the primary with significant hurdles – not least of which is that other candidates have said they intend to remain in the race. It’s important to remember that the perennial politician’s failed presidential campaign left him even more damaged than his five lackluster years in the Senate.

It didn’t take Rubio long to develop a reputation in the Senate – a reputation for refusing to show up to his job. Rubio made no bones about the fact that he viewed representing Florida in the United States Senate as a springboard for his own political ambition and even publicly expressed his disdain for the upper chamber.

With the GOP in the midst of a messy primary in the Florida Senate race, party leaders have turned to Rubio. But Rubio’s failed presidential run left the do-nothing Senator even more damaged as voters learned of his shocking absentee record, his ties to shady for-profit universities and lobbying deals, and his easily flustered temper.

New Details About Rubio’s Absentee Record

Rubio’s lackluster attendance record in the Senate was no secret before he launched his presidential bid, but throughout the course of his campaign, voters learned the extent of his absenteeism. The Tampa Bay Times reported in February that although Rubio was touting his work on the Foreign Relations committee, he missed a whopping 60 percent of hearings. During his presidential campaign, fact-checkers affirmed that Rubio had the worst Senate voting record.

And five years in to his first term, Rubio made his disdain for the Senate known. The Washington Post reported in October that Marco Rubio “hates” the Senate. Rubio became frustrated early in his term, and instead of showing up to the job he had, he decided to use it as a springboard for his own political ambition.

Rubio’s campaign tried to blame the busy campaign schedule for Rubio’s absences in the Senate, but the Washington Post reported in February that Rubio’s absenteeism long predated his presidential campaign. In 2001 and 2002, while in the Florida House, Rubio secured a spot on a committee to develop plans to keep Florida safe in the aftermath of 9/11. However, the Post reports that Rubio “skipped nearly half of the meetings… missed hours of expert testimony and was absent for more than 20 votes.”

Rubio’s Ties To For-Profit Universities, Shady Lobbying Deals

In the last weeks of his campaign, Rubio launched attacks over Donald Trump’s now infamous “Trump U,” but numerous outlets reported on Rubio’s close ties to shady for-profit universities. With Trump University in the news for deceiving thousands of students, it’s important to note that Rubio supported similar institutions while in the Senate. The Miami Herald reported that Rubio had a cozy relationship with Corinthian, even advocating on their behalf to the Department of Education, and the Huffington Post reported that Rubio received at least $59,000 from the for-profit college industry.

Rubio’s ties to the for-profit college industry wasn’t the only shady relationship that raised eyebrows. In March, the Associated Press reported that Rubio’s work lobbying county commissions while he was serving as a legislator raised questions in Florida. While he served in the Florida House, Rubio was a registered lobbyist and took numerous votes that benefitted projects for which he lobbied.

Rubio’s Robotic Performances Raise Questions About Leadership Skills

Rubio’s robotic debate performances and easily ruffled temperament during the final few weeks of his campaign were sure signs that his presidential bid was on its last legs. During a February debate, Rubio robotically delivered the same talking points over and over again, and appeared easily frustrated as American Bridge’s Marco Robotos followed him on the campaign trail.

Buzzfeed later wrote that those within Rubio’s inner circle were all too familiar with his “incurable anxiousness” and “occasional propensity to panic in moments of crisis, both real and imagined.” The stress of the presidential campaign seemed to bring out the worst of Rubio’s anxiety and easily flustered personality, and voters won’t be likely to forget his robotic performances.

Florida Rejects Marco Rubio

Five years of absentee leadership and one failed presidential campaign later, Floridians aren’t all that eager to send Rubio back to the Senate for another term. Editorial boards across the state tore into Rubio once rumors started swirling about a potential Senate reelection campaign. During the Florida presidential primary, Rubio lost to Donald Trump by a whopping 19 points. Should Rubio decide to run for reelection, he likely won’t get the warm welcome back he’s anticipating.

Still Standing By Trump

As if the 19-point thwomping that Donald Trump delivered to Rubio in his home state during the GOP presidential primary wasn’t enough of an embarrassing body blow, Rubio ultimately fell in line behind his party’s racist and misogynistic presidential nominee. Rubio apologized for making jokes about the size of Trump’s hands and, in one swoop, supported Trump’s brazen and xenophobic bid for president and everything Trump had stood for during the primary.

Rubio quickly went above and beyond as a Trump supporter by jumping at the chance to speak at the Republican convention, where Trump will be officially declared the nominee amidst a chaotic and potentially dangerous background in Cleveland.

Now, Rubio is inextricably tied to Trump’s sinking ship — throughout the primary where Trump called Mexicans “rapists,” his call to punish women seeking abortion, deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, his doubling down on a ban on Muslims, and Trump’s explicit conspiracy-mongering this week that President Obama was connected to ISIS, Rubio refused to condemn Trump.

The GOP appears to see Rubio as their best option for retaining Florida’s Senate seat, but during the course of his failed presidential campaign, voters learned concerning details about Rubio’s attendance record, ties to for-profit colleges and shady lobbying deals, and his anxious, unpredictable temperament. If the GOP still sees Rubio as their best hope after a lackluster first term and damaging presidential campaign, they can likely wave goodbye to their Senate seat in Florida.

Published: Jun 16, 2016

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