Home/Daniel Larison/The Rubio Mirage Won’t Go Away

The Rubio Mirage Won’t Go Away

Chris Cillizza watched Marco Rubio’s opening statement from his Senate election debate last night and said this:

The fundamental core appeal of Rubio — his story and the way he tells it — is much more where the Republican Party needs to head if it wants to be a majority party in the country going forward.

The part of Rubio’s “story” that Cillizza doesn’t address in his post is the section where Rubio claims all sorts of achievements on behalf of his constituents. Rubio said:

I’m proud of what we’ve done in my nine years as a state legislator, two of them as speaker, and in my six years in the United States Senate. Tonight, throughout this debate, you will hear about the numerous accomplishments, things that I’ve done, real things–not just letters that I’ve signed on to or bills that I’ve co-sponsored–but laws that we passed that have been good for America and good for the state of Florida.

This sounds fine, but the core problem with this part of the story is that it isn’t true. Rubio’s time in the Senate included one failed attempt on immigration legislation that he abandoned to the consternation of his one-time allies and the embarrassment of his original supporters. The rest of his record was practically empty, and then became more so as he skipped out on his job to run for president. Naming a single accomplishment as senator was a recurring problem for his surrogates during the primaries, because there was nothing any of them could cite. Rubio is a senator with no significant accomplishments to his name, and he shortchanged his voters by neglecting his job for almost a third of his term. He is trying to pretend otherwise in a re-election campaign that he said he wouldn’t run. Anyone that still thinks that Rubio could have been or still could be the answer to the GOP’s electoral problems in this or some future presidential race is just kidding himself.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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