Hypocrisy is nothing new to Florida’s Junior Senator. Time and again we have seen he has contradicted himself on one issue after another. Rubio knows little about foreign policy yet consistently sounds off on the subject.
Much like his contradictory views on the Middle East, Rubio’s views on Cuba are filled with hypocrisy. But much like every other subject that comes up in national politics today, Rubio’s views are given a platform by the Washington Press Corps who seem unwilling to resist whatever charm he possesses. By contrast though, independent long-form publications like Salon and The Atlantic have been up to the task of unmasking Rubio’s duplicity.
On Cuba some very obvious cases of Rubio’s hypocritical rhetoric exist:
1. Respecting human rights
Rubio has waxed lyrically in the past three days about the need to protect and promote human rights in Cuba. Yet just last week Rubio tweeted that exposing flaws that might undermine our values because they potentially violate basic human rights “places American lives in danger.”
Those who served us in aftermath of 9/11 deserve our thanks not one sided partisan Senate report that now places American lives in danger.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 9, 2014
Torture and the undermining of America’s moral authority doesn’t bother Senator Rubio. Yet he finds it necessary to lecture the nation on human rights in Cuba. If Rubio really suddenly cares about human rights and doesn’t care about free markets as he has now done a 180 degree turn on capitalism (more on that below) perhaps he needs to push legislation to restrict American trade and commerce with China, Saudi Arabia, Belarus and Uzbekistan among other nations.
2. Free market in the rest of the world vs Cuba
Marco Rubio is one of the foremost American advocates of “Reaganomics.” The very first speech I watched Marco Rubio give from the Florida House gallery was in 2001 was about respecting the “free market” and basically calling opponents of full repeal of the intangibles tax “socialists.” A year later, I watched Rubio give a similar speech about taxes on the House floor in the office of a Senator who was supporting Senate President John McKay’s (R-Bradenton) tax reform bill. Rubio’s speech used his family’s background fleeing communism and seeking free markets as a reason to oppose a sensible reform to Florida’s regressive tax code that was backed by a bipartisan majority in the legislature upper chamber.
Rubio’s free market rhetoric has continued to this day, yet when it comes to Cuba he suddenly opposes the free market and what almost every economics on the left or the right would indicate is best for Florida’s economy. Opening Cuba’s market to Florida’s agricultural goods and service-based economy could be a huge windfall economically for the state. Rubio the Reagan ideologue whose attitude towards big government is generally contemptuous ironically wants to keep this heavy handed government imposed control that stifles the free market and restricts the ability of Florida’s businesses to compete.
3. Free trade v embargo
Senator Rubio has been a strong advocate of free trade agreements with Latin American countries that open new market access for American goods since his time in the Florida House. But suddenly as referenced above, Florida’s Junior Senator has strongly opposed a policy which would open new markets to our state’s good and which many in the business community strongly back.
Some may choose to chalk Rubio’s duplicity to his emotion about this specific matter since he is a Cuban-American. I would give cut him some slack on this if he wasn’t so rigidly dogmatic on a consistent basis when it came to other issues. True leadership requires our elected officials to take emotion out of such decision making and on this test Rubio is flopping badly. For someone who just might want to lead this nation and the free world, tests like this show he is not ready for prime time.