Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida)
(Tallahassee.com) - We Floridians have to wonder: Was there ever a time when Sen. Marco Rubio had true leadership abilities? Or was he always just a booster-seat byproduct of big Jeb Bush's tenure in Tallahassee?
For a moment, it seemed real. He emerged from the GOP's goofy attempt at a Romney Revolution as a Republican unscathed, elevated even. After yet another Obama beatdown, Rubio was a breath of fresh air. With youth and cool to answer that of the president, he was a non-Romney promise that better days were sure to come along with a real reason for Hispanic people to finally vote Republican.
Thus, Rubio became a missionary for winning the electoral souls of those brown people who were so lost and wandering in a Democratic desert. He led the way in immigration reform. Even Rush Limbaugh liked him. He eventually got his bill. Then he got the votes. Immigration reform passed in the Senate.
But reasonableness and moderation come at a tea party price. His polling fell. So in a desperate attempt to change the subject, Sen. Rubio's been touring Florida to rant about Obamacare. The centerpiece of this conservative-image-rehabilitation tour has been his pledge to shut down the government next month unless Obamacare funding - which is the constitutional, congressionally passed law of the land - is stripped from a short-term spending bill.
But Rubio doesn't want the blame if the government shuts down. This week in Pensacola he made sure to relieve himself of any potential liability:
"What I am saying is that we should pass a budget that funds the government but does not fund Obamacare. The president is the one threatening to shut down the government. And his Democratic allies are saying if we don't fund Obamacare they won't approve it."
It's cowardice that's hardly surprising from a man who doesn't even have the guts to stand up for his own signature legislative accomplishment.
But that cowardice is unacceptable for anyone vying to be a legitimate leader of a party in desperate need of one. For the good of their own survival, Republicans need to remember: Obama was easily re-elected and the Democrats gained seats in the House and Senate. To enact their agenda, Republicans need to win elections, but they have been losing them.
O Rubio, Rubio ... we expected more from you. Instead, the man-child who bounced Charlie Crist out of GOP graces, the guy who fronted Time magazine as the "Republican Savior," the son of immigrants who rose up to the U.S. Senate with the competitive intensity of the Miami Heat is revealing himself to be just another politician with all the cosmetic emptiness and phony talent you'd expect from Miami hype.