Ted Cruz and the mainstream media are on the same mission: They want you to believe that Marco Rubio is moderate.
It’s easy to see why Cruz wants to do this. It’s part of his strategy of picking up the hardline evangelicals and Tea Partiers who he assumes will eventually realize that Ben Carson and Donald Trump have never been elected to anything for good reason.
The idea that Texas’ junior senator is the “sane” alternative in a GOP primary is a dream come true for Cruz, who is reviled in Washington D.C. for his pungent mix of narcissism, self-destructive revanchism, and willingness to defame anyone but Donald Trump.
But his dastardly brilliant plan could be complicated by the media’s affection for Rubio, seen by many as the only Republican whose face they can stand to stare at for a whole year.
Rubio has spent years trying to atone for the sin of believing his party was sincere about immigration. Now he’s going a step further. He’s trying to align himself completely with Cruz on immigration. Cruz was instrumental in nurturing the deportation-only mentality that refused to let the House GOP vote on a bipartisan Senate bill that would have easily passed the full House.
For Rubio to bring up a poison-pill legalization amendment proposed by Cruz in 2013 — which was designed to wreck the bill — was a savvy lawyer’s move in a GOP primary that has moved so far right that it has practically deported itself.
“On the immigration front, as I said, I’m puzzled and quite frankly surprised by Ted’s attacks since Ted’s position on immigration is not much different than mine,” Rubio told reporters last week.
But he has now tied himself to the beliefs of a candidate who is intent on winning the GOP nomination on self-deportation — and exposed the truth behind the Marco-is-moderate myth. Rubio’s whole argument for his campaign is that he represents an alternative to the dogmatism that has left the GOP brand as tarnished as it’s been since Watergate. In reality, he just puts a pretty face on the worst the GOP has to offer.
Here are 5 reasons why Rubio is right to insist he isn’t much different from Ted Cruz.
Rubio has fled from his immigration reform bill straight into Cruz’s lap. The junior Senator from Florida is “now proposing the equivalent of Mitt Romney’s self-deportation, preceded by mass evictions and mass privation,” explains Bloomberg‘s Francis Wilkinson. The only difference that remains between the two sons of Cuban immigrants is how quickly they would rescind the president’s executive action to protect millions of undocumented residents.
2. Forcing victims to have their rapists’ babies.
Like Todd Akin, both Cruz and Rubio will defend your right to be forced to have your rapist’s baby.
3. Encouraging climate change.
Both Cruz and Rubio have signed a pledge to the Koch brothers saying they “oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” Both Cruz and Rubio have admitted that climate change is “real,” but of the two only Cruz has conceded that it could be manmade. Neither senator has proposed or will propose to do anything to prevent a climate crisis. Also, neither of them is a scientist, as Republicans so proudly note.
4. Massive giveaways to the rich.
Rubio has proposed a tax plan that would cut taxes by almost $12 trillion, more than three times the Bush tax cuts, with the biggest cuts by far and one-third of the total going to the richest 1 percent. Meanwhile, he says we cannot afford Social Security in its current form and we must raise the retirement age. Cruz has proposed a flat tax similar to Rand Paul’s, which blasts a $15 trillion hole in the federal budget and lowers billionaires’ and millionaires’ tax rate to the same as a nurse’s. And Cruz too would raise your retirement age.
5. A babyish foreign policy.
Ted Cruz responded to the attacks in Paris on Friday night by calling for U.S. to respond with more tolerance for civilian deaths. Rubio meanwhile responded with last-century “clash of civilizations” rhetoric that encourages the exact kind of overreaction ISIS seems to desire.
“Rubio’s foreign policy consists of babyish moralizing, a cultivated ignorance of history, and a deliberate blindness to consequences,” The Week‘s Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote earlier this year. “This is the same ‘foreign policy expertise’ that led to a misbegotten war in Iraq and empowered Sunni insurgencies across the Middle East.”
Baby Got PAC, the craft-beer cool Super PAC backing Rubio, ran an ad during the last Republican debate saying Democrats are most afraid of Rubio. This may be true because Rubio’s pleasing demeanor and countenance encourage many in the media to ignore his inner Ted Cruz. But when Marco tells you he’s “not much different” from the poster boy for conservative antipathy to progress and empathy, better believe him.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate and Senator Marco Rubio speaks during the Heritage Action for America presidential candidate forum in Greenville, South Carolina on September 18, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Keane