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Marco Rubio's career is in trouble. That will teach Republicans to play ethnic politics. [View All]

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-29-11 01:07 AM
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Marco Rubio's career is in trouble. That will teach Republicans to play ethnic politics.
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Tim Stanley, a U.S. historian at Oxford University writes:

October 26, 2011


Rubio first came to national attention in 2010, when he branded himself as a Tea Party maverick in that years Florida senate race. His take on the ethnic card was original and compelling. Immigrants, he said, make natural conservatives. Their reliance on the charity of others teaches them the value of church and family, and the fact that so many have fled failed socialist regimes makes them reluctant to vote for big spending liberals. Much as Herman Cain has argued that African-American loyalty to the Democratic Party is out of date and undeserved, Rubio made a strong case that Latinos truly belonged in the GOP. His candidacy drew 45 percent of the Latino vote, far ahead of independent Charlie Crist (33 percent) and Democrat Kendrick Meek (22 percent).

The pundits were convinced that the GOP had struck upon a strategy for winning in 2012: put Rubio on the ticket, eat into the ordinarily Democratic Latino vote and the election would be all but over. In fact, Rubios strong showing in Florida proved nothing. The states Latinos tend to be of Cuban decent and, largely for foreign policy reasons, far more conservative than Latinos elsewhere. That year, Florida's Republican gubernatorial candidate, despite being a Caucasian, actually ran ahead of Rubio among Latinos (he took 50 percent of their vote). Nationwide, Latinos rallied behind the Democrats in a midterm election cycle that otherwise went overwhelmingly against the governing party. In California's senate race, Democrat Barbara Boxer won 66 percent of the Latino vote to Republican Carly Fiorinas 31 percent. In Nevada, Democrat Harry Reid won 69 percent to Republican Sharron Angles 27 percent. A Latino candidate for the governorship of Nevada drew just 33 percent of their ballots.


But the story does add to the impression that Rubio has leveraged his Cuban heritage to gain attention on the national stage. Throughout 2010, the candidate took every opportunity to mention his family history. It wasnt just a play for Cuban votes; it was a transparent effort to draw donations from ideological conservatives who were delighted and flattered by his journey up from communism. Likewise, he repeatedly said that he was a Roman Catholic, even though he attended a Protestant church that is part of an organisation with anti-Catholic leanings. Its not unreasonable to infer that Rubio was playing two crowds: Catholic Cubans and white evangelicals. Its a classic conservative strategy, but it undermines his ethnic pitch. Just as its very hard to imagine that Rubio never asked his parents what year they arrived in the United States, its very hard to imagine that he hasnt noticed his new churchs opposition to idol worship and popery.

The Republican flirtation with a Rubio candidacy was fuelled by a mix of romance and cynicism. On the one hand, Tea Partiers fell in love with a man who said what they always believed to be true that the best interests of hard working, patriotic ethnic minorities are actually served by the Right. On the other hand, they thought he could chisel away a few Latino votes and win them the presidential election by demographic default. The strategy was a misfire from the start. Latino Democrats were never going to vote for a man they didnt agree with from a party they didnt like just because he spoke Spanish. It was insulting to think that they would.

It has been deeply angering to watch Rubio play both ends against the middle in deceiving voters during his U. S. Senate campaign last year-- first, repeatedly and falsely claiming his parents were exiles of the Fidel Castro regime; in addition, he claimed on his Florida Legislative website to be Roman Catholic, at the same time he and his family have attended a hardline Protestant church that is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention for the past 6 years. This church, the Christ Fellowship nondenominational Church of West Kendall, Florida, has received thousands of dollars donated to it by Rubio.

According to the St. Petersburg Times:

May 22, 2010


(Rubio's) campaign said his taxes from 2000 to 2008 totaled more than $410,000 and that he contributed over $66,000 to charity, much of it going to Christ Fellowship Church. Rubio did not release his 2009 tax return because he has filed for an extension.


Seems like Mr. Rubio misled people about many things with the carefully cultivated narrative that he used last year to propel himself into the U. S. Senate.

Seems he also held (holds) himself out to be Catholic for one set of voters, while demonstrating to evangelical voters that he regularly attends and financially supports a church tied to the Southern Baptist Convention, which is anti-Catholic in its theology.

So, which is it, Mr. Rubio?

Didn't you think the voters deserved to know last November what guides your views and principles as they made the decision on who to send to represent them in the U. S. Senate?

Apparently not.

This story faded quickly after the election, but it is one that will return to haunt Mr. Rubio.

Marco Rubio tries to still debate over his religion

12 Nov 2010


During Mr Rubios campaign for the Senate he received the endorsement of the Catholic Advocate Candidate Fund. According to the funds website, Mr Rubio is a Catholic candidate who will not compromise. He has not been shy about mentioning his Catholic faith on the campaign trail, it reports.

Eric Giunta, a leading Florida Catholic blogger, last week wrote an article on Renew America, a conservative website, suggesting that the senator-elect should clear up the confusion.
Mr Rubios office replied with a prickly email suggesting that, instead of asking questions about his religious faith, he should focus on Mr Rubios conservative social and fiscal policies such as his pro-life stance.


Mr Giunta said that he still regarded Mr Rubio as a man of strong Christian faith and that he was taking advice from strategists in the mould of Karl Rove, who was one of George W Bushs principal advisers. I assume (he) is following the advice of Rovian manipulators, who are advising him that these ambiguities are what is best for him to keep culling Catholic and Evangelical votes.

Mr Giunta added: Mr Rubio, so these advisers probably think, has to tread a thin line. Catholics do not like to hear that one of their political heroes is a defector from their religion, and Evangelicals (especially Southern Baptists) would not be happy to hear that their hero is an unsaved idol-worshipper ie, a Catholic.

The Catholic Church teaches that abandoning the faith for a non-Catholic denomination is a mortal sin.

Also from Damian Thompson at the Telegraph, who has also been following this story:

November 11th, 2010


Rubio's office is not pleased at all by this focus on their man's apparent double religious identity. Giunta reproduces the following email he says he has received from one Mr J R Sanchez of Rubio's office:

Dear Mr Giunta,

Thank you for your recent e-mail. I appreciate your interest in Senator-elect Rubio's religion. However, I do not have any new information to convey to you; Mr. Rubio is still a Roman Catholic. He was baptized, confirmed and married in the Roman Catholic Church. If you find that there is a dearth of pertinent material to write about, perhaps you can focus on the many serious issues facing our nation, and the reasons why the citizens of Florida overwhelmingly elected Mr. Rubio as their next United States Senator. You may wish to highlight Senator-elect Rubio's consistent and conservative social and fiscal policies such as his pro-life stance, his commitment to reducing the national debt, enacting a balanced budget amendment, lowering the tax burden for Americans and maintaining a strong military presence to defend our nation from the various threats abroad.

I hope that you find this e-mail helpful, and that you focus your future writings on salient matters that face our nation. Good luck on your final exams, and have a great Christmas.

In other words, "Could we please change the subject?" Or, to quote Giunta's rather colourful headline to his article in RenewAmerica: "Rubio campaign to religious voters: Screw you, get a life!"

(Eric Giunta's article here)

As we can now see very clearly, the story of the great and mythical Marco Rubio, a carefully groomed fabrication for the national spotlight and heralded as the great Hispanic hope of the hardline Republican establishment, is melting into a thin and cynical illusion.

And the people strongly reject it.

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