Posted tagged ‘marco rubio’

Marco’s Speech

April 15, 2020

Senator Marco Rubio gave a speech, probably to an empty Senate floor, on March 27, 2020.  His speech centered on the US relationship to China and the lesson events appear to indicate America has not learned. Rubio’s pitch, “too much dependency on imported items. Trade with China is not balanced.  Huawei represents a security threat… “.  Hmmm. 

Why Rubio made the speech or what he expects to result from it is unclear.  Never the less, Rubio’s words do open an important conversation, maybe not the one he intended.

I would guess that the timing of the speech was related to the recognition that China has become almost the exclusive suppler for America’s “personal protective equipment” as well as much of the key raw materials for our medicines.  The dependency upon China results not from a US government plan or policy, but rather from the lack of one.

The shortages (and high prices) result from more than just a dysfunctional White House.  Why there are shortages of key items necessary to contain and fight the novel coronavirus begins with the wake up call, “the supply chain resides mostly in China”.  US medical supply distributors have greedily piled on auctioning short supplies to the highest bidder.

The Senator says that it was ok for America to important less expensive and less critical items, like clothing, from China.  Rubio raises a red flag when China began moving up the value chain and controlling the development of new  technologies and devices.  (I wonder whether Rubio has ever read about colonialism?)

Indirectly, Senator Rubio pointed a finger at this dilemma’s roots.  China, as a nation, has a plan.  The industries which the central Chinese government think important are the ones given government support.  China’s plan was to penetrate export markets with simple low cost items and then move up the value chain.  Does the “capitalist” US have a similar plan?

The question might also be, in a land where political talk is about “unfettered capitalism” and “small government”, how does such a country recognize a growing dependence on imports and encourage local companies to compete?

Capitalism, especially the unfettered type is somewhat like a race car without brakes.  The bigger the engine, the faster the car might go and less certain maneuverability and stopping ability there might be.  Hmmm.

Time will tell whether Senator Rubio’s speech was a one-off, or represents a dawning realization that there are parts of the economy which cannot be served by just “supply and demand” thinking. But a long way exist from calling out the US willingness to outsource to China and creating an American competitive and strategic alternative. 



Teaching By Example

January 27, 2019

It is paradoxical for one to pick out a single domestic or foreign policy promoted by the Trump Administration which is over the top.  Pretty much everything the Trump Administration has advanced has been either dead wrong or woefully off target.  And even worse is that these actions are teaching the world what the United States values and in effect says to others, you are free (or maybe encouraged) to do the same.  Hmmm.

This week we heard tough talk from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo aimed directly at Venezuela.  There is no question that Venezuela is a mess and its economic policies have played a large part in the Venezuela’s hyperinflation and extreme shortages of consumer goods.  There is also little confusion that President Maduro has used non-democratic means to maintain his power and “elected” status.  To call for sanctions and isolation from its neighbors would seem a justified position for the US to put forth.  To call for a government overthrow is not.

Pompeo has intervened, on behalf of the US, and called for the world to recognize an opposition party leader instead of Maduro.  Hmmm.

For starters, where does Maduro stack up when compared to Kim Jong Un of North Korea, or Bashar al-Assad of Syria where the US has either attempted to befriend or remain silent over their legitimacy?  And what lessons does Pompeo send to Russia or China about acceptable behavior towards their neighbors?

There is a good chance that President Trump does not care a hoot about Venezuela simply because his base neither gain or loses over the fate of Venezuela.  For Pompeo and Senator Marco Rubio, they find pandering the Venezuela issue helpful to what they might hope their political base respond.  Regardless, calling for the overthrow sets poor precedent and teaches the wrong lesson.

Primary Dynamics?

May 9, 2015

Have you noticed that the usually outspoken GOP Sunday Talk Show participants have been reserved and many are keeping out of the national spot light? It could be that President Obama has taken his sail out of their wind. Or, it could be that the high pollen count has put each of these candidates off their mark. Or, is it related to primary dynamics and the long odds strategies each must be considering if they really are serious about winning the GOP nomination?

Before the quadrennial primary season, GOP hopefuls like Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, or Rick Perry wanted to attract attention and make the public realize they were “players”. With their advisors, each picked issues and venues where they could be interviewed and make some audacious statement.  Their words were designed to project them as decisive, experienced, and destined for greatness. It mattered less whether their position was actionable or whether real events would produce superior or completely contrary results. The point of these public statements was to create an “impression” and hope that the public would forget the details.

So now the GOP is about to gather over a dozen Presidential hopefuls into a primary process. Strangely the process begins with three totally unrepresentative States (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina). In past times, these States were important despite their lack of resemblance to national demographic…  they were the path to funding.

Win in one or more of these States and your campaign stood a great chance to attract big money. Big money might then help the candidate win States with more convention votes. Hmmm.

In 2015, big money has pretty much already sought out their candidates (preferred and at least one back up). So what might the strategy be for a Ted Cruz, a Carly Fiorina, a Rand Paul, or a Lindsay Graham who aren’t the likely preferred candidates?

This group plus Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and John Kasick must realize that there is almost no chance they can win the nomination. They are still relatively unknown nationally and they lack the really big money.

On the other hand, as long as they stay in the race they allow for the chance that something strange could happen. Leading candidates could go bust or a second coming might pick one of the second tier candidates out of the crowd (less likely).

Most probable is the notion that the longer they last as a candidate, the better the offer they will get from the ultimate GOP nominee, the offer being tied to one of the also rans withdrawing and throwing support to the ultimate winner.

In a strange turn of events, it seems that leaders such as Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and even Marco Rubio find it to their advantage to remain relatively quiet in terms of audacious statements and stick to “chicken in every pot” type promises. “Obama is bad”, “Hillary is an insider”, and “no new taxes” are all safe statements. What the “leaders” do is what the second tier think they should do too.

Sooner or later the gloves will come off. For now, however, standing tall and looking wise is a better strategy than opening one’s mouth and proving otherwise.  Enjoy the relative peace and quiet for a while.

En Garde

August 29, 2014

The immigration reform situation just won’t go away. The Senate tried to pass legislation and failed on procedural grounds. The House flatly refused to even consider the measure. President Obama is now poised to issue “executive orders” which are intended to provide some measure of reform. Hmmm.

At the coarsest level, immigration reform, which should be labeled “Mexican Undocumented Resident” reform, is all about a pathway to citizenship and ultimately, for whom these Mexicans would likely vote. Hmmm

For the Sunday morning talk shows, we hear all sorts of other reasons to ignore immigration reform. From inadequate border security to overall fairness to terrorist sneaking into the country from Mexico to disgust over “cutting in line”, each politician has his/her own bent on why reform is unnecessary or untimely. Hmmm.

Opposition to immigration reform is owned by the GOP. National demographics or the 2012 Presidential election results have not seemed to jolt the GOP into the 21st century. And, 2014 does not seem to be the lucky year either.

Hispanic poster Senator Marco Rubio said this week that if the President acts without waiting for Congress, Republicans will join forces to defund the President’s initiatives. Sounds like another government shutdown. Hmmm.

Tape recordings secretly made of Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, reveal McConnell’s intentions to undue all of President Obama’s legislation if the GOP gains control of Congress this fall. What is he thinking? Hmmm.

In my opinion, there are far more prudent positions for GOP leaders to be taking. For sure there are parts of the Affordable Care Act that could be made better. Repealing ACA, however, does not play into that intention.

With respect to Immigration Reform, reality cannot hide the 12 million or so undocumented Mexicans already living in the US. Even more to the point, Mexicans are family oriented, hard working, and church going people. Just what the GOP likes to claim their supporters are. Common sense would suggest that over time, Mexican immigrants are prime candidates to become future Republicans.

The GOP appears, however, suicidal (at least with respect to national votes where gerrymandering is neutralized). They are prepared (they say) to charge the President and politically due him in.

President Obama, en garde.

An Anxious Waiting

July 28, 2014

The fall elections cannot come soon enough for 2016 potential Presidential candidates.   There are so many juicy events, both domestically and international, which Presidential demagogues could jaw about but they, for the most part, are resisting the urge to brag the limelight. I wonder why?

Why, for instance, does a Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio not wax eloquently (on national TV) contrasting what the Obama Administration is doing (or not doing) with what a Cruz or Rubio Administration would do?

Or, why hasn’t Chris Christie or Rick Perry not sold their children in order to raise funds for Israel in its latest Palestinian clash?

And, although not 2016 candidates, why hasn’t John McCain or Lindsay Graham lectured the President on how he has lost the Iraq and Afghanistan wars?

Why, indeed, when these subjects still make the front page with one headline after another? Are these suddenly mute GOP leaders wasting an opportunity?

It is, of course, summer and vacation time. Accordingly, it could be that relaxing, recharging the batteries, and keeping off the national stage might be a sufficient answer. Hmmm, maybe not.

And it could be that none of these candidates has a better idea (almost assuredly true). Hmmm. I don’t think that excuse has prevented them from “speaking to Americans” in the past.

I would suggest a more basic motive. From poling data, the GOP has a definite chance of capturing both the House and the Senate this fall. Why take a chance by pontificating on one of these issues and un-intendedly turn voters against the party?

All of the issues facing the President these days are complex, thorny, and nuanced.  These issues require careful analysis and mostly require long term strategies for which there is no national consensus. Efforts to build a national consensus does not fit 10 second sound bites. Worse, any serious recommendation ties the candidate to a position which can be later evaluated.  Hmmm.

Latin American immigration, support for Israel, and the Middle East (including Afghanistan) are all issues which are not new. The GOP learned as recently as 2012 what a hard line on immigration reform would bring. And while 2016 will see both parties stand up to say how much a friend of Israel they are, the American public can count and know the difference between 800+ and 2 civilian deaths in the current Gaza crisis. And strangely, most Americans have had a stomach full of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Sunni-Shiite-Taliban craziness.

The 2016 hopefuls could turn their attention to jobs but there is a reasonable chance that after a slow but steady decline in unemployment that the percentage might fall below 6%.  Think about these previous hot button topics… debt, deficit, jobs, tax cuts, and healthcare.  Only healthcare has not had enough time to play out and undermine the conservative position.

There is for sure plenty of room for GOP candidates to offer alternative routes to achieve debt reduction or balancing the budget.  There is plenty of room for creative ideas on job creation and tax code reform.  And there is an ocean of room for how to bring US healthcare into the 21st century.  Among the many thoughtful proposals, however, one would not find “leave it to the States” or “cut taxes and cut social network spending” or “increase defense spending while decreasing any other spending”.

So, come Thanksgiving, I wonder what we will hear from these now silent candidates?

Political Advice For Marco

December 14, 2013

One of the great jobs in America these days must be that of  “political strategist”.  It sounds weighty and at cocktail parties it must be dynamite.  The term is illusive enough that no one can be sure what you mean, and better yet, no one can be sure what you say is correct or not.  Compared to an engineer, where the building or the bridge either stands or falls based upon what the engineer says, the political strategist at best can do no better than the flip of the coin to predict whether his/her advice is sound.

So, this week when Senator Marco Rubio took to the microphone and denounced the House budget compromise as a step in the wrong direction, one has to wonder whether this was Rubio’s idea or his strategy team’s?

Mitt Romney wrote the book on failed strategies in the 2012 election.  Driving as hard as possible to the right, pandering to the lowest common denominator in order to gain the nomination, Romney seemed surprised that the Country elected Barack Obama despite his questionable record as President.  The ultra right simply does not demographically represent enough votes to elect a President.  Add to this that Americans, while they have the capacity to forgive or forget misguided positions, do have limits on how far right a pendulum can swing and then have the candidate described themselves as main stream.

Rubio is said to be consumed with thoughts about the 2016 Presidential or Vice Presidential nomination.  Who knows?  I can give him cost free advice.  Don’t dwell where the needle is pegged to the right.

The budget compromise is not much to praise until one asks what would be in second place.  Both parties have no stomach (or backbones) to deal with the really necessary subjects of tax and entitlement reforms.  Second place was again stalemate leading to default and a government shutdown.

In an election year, serious legislative work is not going to happen.  A far wiser Rubio position would have been to convey his deep concerns about the larger issues which were not addressed, but, with a sigh, announce the bill did no harm either.



March 17, 2013

The Conservative Political Action Committee concluded its annual convention Friday with a straw poll.  CPAC’s selection narrowly favored Rand Paul, thereby launching his 2016 Presidential campaign.  But Rand was not the only darling of the Convention.

The usual, fiery orators who are content to make “throw them red meat” speeches, did so again even in the face of other realities.  Each of the speakers justify their comments with the statement (to the effect), “yes we lost the last election, but that is no reason to abandon our principles”.  On the surface that sounds laudatory.  On reflection, one must wonder what they are really thinking?

On the national level, the last election’s demographics were clear.  The GOP “principles” on women, gays, immigrants, and science failed the GOP in 2012, and are not going to cut it in the future.  Gaining the GOP Presidential nomination is another matter.  So the CPAC speeches might be just aimed at that target.


The more polished speakers, such as Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush refrained from saying really stupid things.  Paul Ryan, also a polished orator, pitched his deficit eliminating budget.  Ryan’s budget, however, relies on repeal of Obamacare (again with no plan on how to provide the coverage), and proposed tax reforms (oh yes, without any description of the exemptions that would be eliminated but the plan has been described as a tax break for the wealthy).  Hmmm.

Speakers with less substance, such as Michelle Backmann and Sarah Palin, said nothing but, what they said, was hailed by the audience as breathtaking.   Palin’s ignorant display of a 32 ounce Big Gulp while a clear statement on individual choice also showed an even greater lack of appreciation for “star appeal”.  Sarah was telling anyone looking on that unlimited intake of sugar bore no risk to ones health.  Sad.

If one considers the entire conference one is left with an unmistakeable impression that CPAC was not “packed” with anything sensible.  It would have been better labeled C-NAUGHT for the hollowness of the ideas and speeches.  Hmmm.

I am struck with thought that just possibly CPAC speakers are not serious about the White House.  Rather, the GOP sees itself as better suited as a perpetual minority party.  From this platform, the GOP can pontificate on how things should not be, and still keep getting elected in highly gerrymandered districts.

Hmmm.  Maybe C-NAUGHT is pretty clever.