How the GOP can score with Latino voters [Most commented]
Is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio the ticket to scoring with Latino voters? On the one hand, he's Cuban American. On the other, he's a tea party Republican with an odd view for creating “a compassionate America.”
In Thursday's Opinion pages, columnist Doyle McManus describes Rubio as:
[P]ersonable and smart. He can talk with intelligence and ease about foreign policy, the federal budget and the aspirations of the American people.
But his view for creating a compassionate country isn't very practical. McManus again:
In an interview this week, Rubio reaffirmed one of the most powerful lines in his speeches, that he believes in "a compassionate America." But when I asked him what the government's role was in ensuring that compassion, he said most of the action should come from the private sector.
His tea party views are so strong, in fact, that they seem to overpower his ethnicity.
In other words, many of Rubio's home-state voters, who know him best, appear to view him as a tea party conservative who happens to be Latino, rather than the other way around.
The reason Rubio matters outside of Florida is that his Latino status could make him an ideal running mate with the GOP presidential nomination. If he's on the ticket, the thinking goes, Latinos will vote for the Republican candidate. But readers on our discussion board disagree. Here's a sampling of comments:
That's all the US needs, a factually challenged fool with a razor thin resume. But then again, this is the party that considers Michelle Bachmann presidential material...
He's a hypocrite
Marco Rubio is a Tea Party light-weight who is only in office through the accident of a three way race in Florida. Several times during his campaign for U.S. Senate, Rubio told voters his parents left Cuba in 1959, suggesting they had fled Castro's rule. In his campaign bio, and later in his official Senate biography, he said his parents "came to America following Fidel Castro's takeover."
Initially when confronted, Rubio continued the lie. Only after several news organizations reported that his parents moved to the United States in 1956, did his spokesman acknowledge that the bio was wrong. Why do the dates matter? Well since his parents were economic refugees, he is in the same category as the millions of Mexicans who come here to feed their families. But "anchor baby" Rubio scorns those people, and wants the borders shut tight to them. What a hypocrite. Does anyone really think that Mexican-Americans will support this man who votes so contrary to their interests?
He doesn't seem interested in preserving the basic rights of Americans
I'm a Latino voter who looks forward to voting against the GOP ticket with or without Rubio on it. Do people think we're stupid? I wouldn't vote against my own interests as a ninety-nine percenter just to get some ethnic "pride" on behalf of some fake Cuban-American guy who fabricates his family's bio. I'm firmly on the side of my real group -- working class people who need to fight to preserve our basic rights as Americans against the onslaught of the Republican elite that wants to enslave us.
Who's to say he's interested in the VP bid anyway?
Rubio has stated that he's not interested in a VP bid. Whether or not he changes his mind might be determined by how likely it is that the GOP nominee will win in 2012.
If the nominee is Romney, Perry or Huntsman, and they are polling well against Obama, Rubio might do an about-face, since turning down the VP slot under those circumstances might mean that whomever is chosen in his stead will have an advantage running against him for president, presumably in 2020.
If, on the other hand, the GOP nominee next year looks like a loser, Rubio might take a pass in order to increase his own chances for an earlier run for the White House in 2016.
*For clarity purposes, spelling errors in the above comments have been corrected.
--Alexandra Le Tellier
Photo: Marco Rubio addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington on Feb. 18, 2010. Credit: Cliff Owen / Associated Press