Marco Rubio, the great slight hope of the GOP establishment

ap_marco_rubio_thg_120419_wblog

I’ve argued from the beginning of the Trump phenomenon that he is a mere symptom, not a cause, of the intellectual rot within the Republican Party.  In a medical setting, he’s what the doctors would call an “opportunistic infection,” a malady that couldn’t take hold in a healthy host but that thrives in a host with an already weakened immune system.

Marco Rubio, the great slight hope of the waning Republican establishment, one of the supposed “responsible Republicans,” basically confirmed that diagnosis this week in a speech to an American Legion group in New Hampshire.

“It’s now abundantly clear,” Rubio told the Legion crowd on Monday. “Barack Obama has deliberately weakened America.”

Think about that, because it’s quite an accusation and Rubio — as carefully scripted a candidate as we’ve seen in a while — knew exactly what he was doing in leveling it. He wasn’t arguing that Obama’s policies had been flawed in either concept or execution, leaving the country weaker as a result. He was claiming intent. He was going to motive. Rubio explicitly argued that the twice-elected president of the United States, our commander in chief, set out to deliberately weaken the country because he believes it is a force for evil in the world.

We’ve always had people who said or implied such things, of course. Cynthia McKinney, the former Georgia congresswoman, believed that George W. Bush deliberately allowed the attacks of 9/11. A couple of generations back, some had muttered that FDR had exposed our fleet at Pearl Harbor to Japanese attack so he could draw us into World War II, or that Ike Eisenhower was a “conscious, dedicated agent of the communist conspiracy,” as the Birchers used to put it. But they have typically been fringe figures, people whose irresponsible rhetoric ensured that they were kept far from the levers of power.

The difference is — the sign of decay is — that Rubio is a leading presidential candidate, indeed someone viewed as his party’s probable mainstream champion. And he demonstrates that once you’ve made it acceptable in your party to spread such messages by dog-whistle, you have no standing to complain when someone else barges in and does so via bullhorn.

It’s also important to recognize just how corrosive such allegations are not just to the Republican Party but to democratic self-governance. In the end, our system is founded on mutual trust; without it, the Constitution is a dead letter. Republicans and Democrats will always fight and bicker, but if we accept the errors of the other party as errors made in good faith, we can also accept our victories and defeats and go on as fellow Americans to argue again tomorrow.

But once one party succumbs to the notion that the other is guilty of treachery, of actively trying to undermine the whole country, as Rubio implies, the system cannot function. In such an environment, the compromise that fuels a constitutional republic becomes redefined as collaboration with the enemy. Faith in the system disappears; radical responses are legitimized. And the door is opened to the likes of Trump.

It also explains how you end up with armed men and women seizing control of government facilities and demanding that the usurpers in Washington be overthrown by force. Because if you have been told over and over again that those in control are not just inept but out to “deliberately weaken America”, why wouldn’t you? Why shouldn’t you? It’s practically your patriotic duty.

Once unleashed, such an attitude can be difficult to contain, in part because any hack with a microphone or website can spread it and benefit by it. What we’ve learned to date in this primary season is that those old-school elements within the Republican Party that still appreciate its danger — Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, etc. — have lost the will or capability to corral it, and the likes of Rubio have surrendered to it. If it is to be consigned once again to the fringes, where it belongs, the American voter will have to resoundingly reject it.

I hope that’s what happens. But we’ll see.

Reader Comments 0

1255 comments
St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

I have been a financial analyst for a long time, but I have nevah nevah seen a bankruptcy this complete & total.

There's really nothing left for them to do but babble like clowns (see below) and nominate someone like Trump or Cruz.

And just walk away, and let the responsible adults once again foot the bill (last 30 yrs), and clean up the mess.

Kamchak
Kamchak

OBAMA'S GONNA GIT YER GUNS SHEETZ

gotalife
gotalife

The best way to end the standoff in Oregon is to give a black kid a toy gun. Police will open fire.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Bloggers who incessantly use childish and buffonish terms such as, "sport" and "sweetie" don't deserve your response.  Boycott, NOW!

Kamchak
Kamchak

@DownInAlbany 

Maybe you can make a list of who you will not respond to and the reasons why.

We had a regular that used to do that and he would post that list three times a day.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@DownInAlbany Sweetie, I told you.  When you start posting like an adult, it stops.  When you post childish nonsense, expect to be treated like a child.  Funny how you don't seem to be upset at "kooks", "sped" or any other phrases used with less reasoning.  Now why is that I wonder. 

fedup52
fedup52

 I am all on your side as soon as you show me the federal law mandating safety locks on medecine cabinets.

Last year a company came up with safety device which used finger print safety on the hand gun.  NRA squashed that.  Go figure.

fedup52
fedup52

 Jeb Bush has referenced his daughter’s struggle with substance abuse before, but on Tuesday the Republican presidential candidate laid bare the challenges of being a parent desperately seeking solutions for his child.

That is between Jeb and his kid.  It is no one's business.  He should not have brought it out.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@fedup52 IF it helps one family, one person dealing with addition, KUDOS to him.  He should be commended.  (you probably would IF he had a "D" behind his name)

fedup52
fedup52

@DownInAlbany @fedup52 It is his private business and keep it private.  It does not matter whether it is D or R.  

He should not have made it public.  Privacy is for the sake of the kid.

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@fedup52 @DownInAlbany If Jeb becomes a front runner or even gets the nomination the DNC will bring up her addiction front and center. IMO He may be bringing it out because of that. Not sure though.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@fedup52 @DownInAlbany Wanna bet if Chelsea had a drug problem it would be considered fair game by some ?


Funny she never once got in trouble. Has several degrees from prestigious universities.


And she will be eligible to be President after Hillary completes her 8 years.



KUTGF
KUTGF

@DownInAlbany @fedup52 Now see I agree with you on that one if it helps those families who have members with addiction issues......  but the "D" issue was really just more nonsense from you. 

KUTGF
KUTGF

I see our RWers are up to their usual brilliance.  When kids used to drink chemicals stored under the sink or take drugs from the medicine cabinets, we did not fret and say "oh lordy, what can be done..nothing....why its just bad parenting that a 2 yr old drank that acid under the sink or took all them pills".  We educated parents on child safety, created child safety locks for cabinets, required child proof caps on bottles and medicines as well as warning labels and even labels with poison treatment info and poison hotlines.  But oh no...when it comes to guns....

And some of the more foolish think those kids are only finding the guns where there is crack and drugs on a coffee table too.

Oy vey

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

@KUTGF 

"those kids are only finding the guns"


Said by noone but you.


When you have to lie to make a point, you have no point.

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@KUTGF The Lwers are up to their usual brilliance also. You must have missed that.  LOL 

KUTGF
KUTGF

@_GodlessHeathen_ @KUTGF You can prove sweetie that some people don't say that or use that as deflection?  Did I say anyone on this blog?  You really should stop lying and deflecting.  I guess you have no point as usual 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@_GodlessHeathen_ @KUTGF 

Ok, but I think the larger point is valid. We can do more nationally to keep innocent people safe from accidental discharges, I think.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@KUTGF Who needs to be educated on the perils of loaded firearms and children?  Oh, yeah...democrats.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@KUTGF I am all on your side as soon as you show me the federal law mandating safety locks on medecine cabinets.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@InTheMiddle2 @KUTGF Now you are deflecting to a new point since you were wrong before?  Many bottles now have caps that require tabs to be pushed to open, etc.  ie some child proofing.  And I guess you skipped over the part about child proof cabinet locks. 

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@KUTGF @InTheMiddle2 Um sweetie YOU wrote."When kids used to drink chemicals stored under the sink". How is it my deflection using what YOU wrote.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@InTheMiddle2 @KUTGF Why you can read!  Great.  Then you see it was addressed.  Thanks for playing.  And by the way, there are also locking medicine cabinets available.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Cupofjoe 

  So there is that "poo" thing again.

Gilbert and Sullivan say, "What?"

Perhaps you missed my inquiry last night, so -- I am very concerned about ALLCAPS, shouty boy Uncle sammy-poo. Do you perchance know where he's gone off to?

Just askin'. 

Sport.

fedup52
fedup52

NY Mayor and the Governor are raising the minimum wage to $15/hr.  This first of its kind among all cities and states in the country.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@fedup52 

Outside NYC, it's only a relatively few NY state workers affected right now, and it happens over the course of several years, and Cuomo the Lesser is just proposing the legislation, no guarantee it'll be passed.

But, a good start, and credit to Cuomo where due.