It Was All an Accident

The label was convenient, but now that Marco Rubio got what he wanted, he’s the same Bush-sponsored Republican he always was:

If the tea party is expecting Rubio to plant its yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag in the hallowed Senate chamber, it’s in for a letdown. This career politician who once carried the state party’s American Express card defines himself first and foremost as a Republican.[…]

Rubio has already made it clear that he will not be a rogue senator. One day after the election, he declared his support for the GOP establishment when he said he looked forward to serving under Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. He didn’t mention Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, viewed as the more ideologically pure conservative and alternative power center, who championed Rubio’s campaign early on.[…]

“‘Early on in the primary, a conservative group of passionate, well-intentioned people coincided with his beliefs and somehow he got this tea party label, which I don’t think is totally representative,” said Republican fundraiser Jorge Arrizurieta.

“Somehow”? He got the Tea Party label by accepting Tea Party endorsements and telling Tea Party members that he looks forward to going to Washington and fighting for them:

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46 replies
  1. 1
    BR says:

    This is why the fireworks on the debt ceiling vote are going to be fascinating. We should be prepared to help promote the idea that the GOP/tea-party alliance is crumbling at that time, because it will be – teatards will expect the nuts they elected to vote against the bill, but the banksters who hold the real power will expect a vote for it.

  2. 2
    Hawes says:

    Will that send all the frothing and grumpy seniors back to Denny’s? Will they hang up their tri-cornered hats and go back to watching Matlock re-runs?

    I’ve always been amazed at how GOP politicians can promise all sorts of shit to their supporters (end abortion, end affirmative action, end the Federal Reserve) then fail to do any of it, and still get elected.

    Meanwhile, Obama does a bunch of shit and folks get a big cup of HaterAde to drink.

  3. 3
    Ash Can says:

    LOL! Without even having looked at it, I’m betting the comment thread on that article is going to get pretty entertaining.

  4. 4
    matoko_chan says:

    Rubio is running for prez in 2016.
    He is WAAAAY smarter than Palin.
    He knows he cant win the WH without the establishment.

  5. 5
    Hawes says:


    RE: Debt ceiling

    I’m pretty sure that’s McConnell posturing to ward of a DeMint challenge. He’s an old time Washington pol. He’s not going to crash the global economy over HCR.

    DeMint might…

  6. 6
    4tehlulz says:

    somehow he got this tea party label, which I don’t think is totally representative

    It was the liberal media, obvs.

  7. 7
    Ross Hershberger says:

    I don’t expect the TP’s to become a viable party on their own. Too fragmented and unorganized to have any throw weight. Most likely outcome is they get co-opted by the GOP establishment & channeled toward the leadership’s goal. Foot soldiers doing the Republicans’ dirty work.
    And who would you expect Rubio to have allegiance to, a new movement without central organization or the national party that just won 3 score seats in an election? No brainer.

  8. 8
    BR says:


    Yeah, but I think regardless of which of them wins, you’re going to see half the GOP house and half the GOP senate vote for the debt ceiling bill and the other half vote against. And teatards will march on Washington once again in their Medicare-funded electric tricycles.

  9. 9
    4tehlulz says:

    By the way, it’s kind of amusing* that Senate Republicans are backing away from the Tea Party while the House Republican leadership appears to be embracing it.

    Chris Wallace asked a straightforward question: “Are you willing to say right now we’re not going to let the country go into default, and we won’t allow a government shutdown?” A month ago, Cantor’s response was direct and sensible.

    Yesterday, he dodged the question, saying only the president is “as responsible as any in terms of running this government.”

    *And by amusing, I mean horrifying.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    Jay C says:

    Heh. As a creaky old geezer veteran observer of elections in this country for decades now, I’ve never seen so swift – and so open and blatant- a reversal of positions so soon after an election that I can recall.

    Seems like a LOT of voters are already suffering from “buyers’ remorse” after less than a week: Hell, judging from most opinion polls I saw, vast numbers of them were suffering from “buyers’ remorse” AS they were voting…..

  12. 12
    Keith G says:

    Marco Rubio : Tea Party
    Barak Obama : Liberals


  13. 13
    MikeJ says:

    So where do the teabaggers hang out online? Shouldn’t some of us be over there expressing our disappointment with how they’ve sold us out?

  14. 14
    lacp says:

    A politician lied to the people who voted for him? Next you’ll be trying to tell me that there’s gambling in Rick’s Cafe.

  15. 15
    The Moar You Know says:

    There is no such thing as the “Tea Party”. Never has been, never was.

    All the “Tea Party” ever was were a bunch of angry old white people who were deeply ashamed over George Bush’s abject failure to enact even one part of their Dominionist, back to the 1700’s platform, and even more deeply ashamed that he’d rooked them into voting for him anyway.

    Then, just to throw some gasoline on the fire, America installed a black man into the Oval Office – the final bitchslap to these old racist geezers – and they decided that they weren’t Republicans anymore, even though they vote party-line Republican and still give money to Republicans.

    So the “Tea Party” is a convenient label for “racist dumbfuck cracker”, but that’s all it is, or ever was. Don’t believe the hype.

  16. 16
    Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    Rubio’s smart enough to figure out the tea-livab will crash and burn in the 2012 presidential primaries, so he doesn’t have to worry about them in 2016.

    Meek should have dropped out.

  17. 17
    Culture of Truth says:

    [ shakes fist ]

  18. 18
    Violet says:


    Rubio is running for prez in 2016.

    But his parents weren’t American citizens. It’ll be interesting seeing how the birthers, and anchor-baby-fearing teabagging types spin that one.

  19. 19
    stuckinred says:

    @Violet: Yea but they were commie hating Cubano’s!

  20. 20
    Culture of Truth says:

    The tea partiers are not a distinct party, that’s true – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t true believers in their own nonsense, and won’t be disappointed when their politicians turn on them. This is a marriage made in hell.

  21. 21
    Culture of Truth says:

    Rubio is running for prez in 2016.

    Of Cuba?

    I kid, I kid….

  22. 22
    Ash Can says:

    @Violet: I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d all have moved on to some other shiny object by then. Or, I suppose it’s possible that by then the anti-nonwhite fervor on the right will have reached such levels of hysteria that the idea of a Hispanic trying to get the GOP nomination will be risible.

  23. 23

    @Violet: I don’t know how it works in the rest of the country, but here in FL, Cuban-Americans who fled Castro (BEFORE Jimmy Carter took office, i.e., not the Mariel Boat Lift contingent) are honorary white folks. Therefore, Rubio won’t inspire a birther movement, at least not from here.

    Also, this explains how Rubio can get elected senator while Floridians also elect (with >50%, to our credit) a governor who promises to set up an Arizona-style anti-immigrant law.

    I second MC’s fears about Rubio going national. He’s just as nutty as DeMint and Palin, only he doesn’t look like Lurch from the Addams Family, and he can string sentences together in a coherent fashion. Add to that the fact he can help the GOP overcome their increasingly serious demographic problem, and we’ve got trouble. I was hoping we could stop him here, but alas…

  24. 24
    Violet says:

    Yep, but it’ll be interesting to see them try explaining the difference between:

    … two Cuban citizens, who are in the US for political reasons, having a child in the US, and

    …two Mexican citizens, who are in the US for economic reasons, having a child in the US

    …and the first child being not only a solid American Citizen but eligible to run for President in the United States and the second child being a terrorist anchor baby…

    to the Latino community.

  25. 25

    Shorter Rubio: I’ll respect you in the morning.

  26. 26
    Tom Levenson says:

    One of the interesting things here is the history of the creation of an evangelical electorate. Back in the day, as I recall papers read long ago, the (white) evangelical voter didn’t exist as a bloc. Many were Democrats, unsurprising given the Democratic cast of the South for so long. But perhaps more significantly, a lot of committed evangelicals saw engagement with politics as at odds with living what they conceived of as Christian life…and so were less engaged in elections than many others.

    The genius of the emphasis on social issues instead of economic ones is that it created a framework to mobilize those voters and to mold them into much more of a GOP monolith than the totality of their faith might lead individuals one way or another. (Think of the recent shoots of an evangelical interest in environmental stewardship, for example. That’s hardly a mass-held theme, but it’s there, and is an example of the kind of countervailing faith-derived (or framed) interest that isn’t pure GOP.)

    That social message has been enough to keep the evangelical bloc together for a while now. The question, or rather the challenge for both the GOP and us is whether the Tea Party anger can be coopted in the way the evangelical interests were. I don’t think there is the slightest chance to recruit tea party sentiment leftwards. The alleged libertarian-liberal common ground is BS as far as I’m concerned.

    But if the GOP’s ground game and a substantial pool of votes lies in the hands of tea-party, often low-knowledge and low-prior-interest voters, then hammering GOP betrayals of all the enthusiasm and time and cash burnt this cycle might depress that vote. And that’s a win for us.

  27. 27
    JCT says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: Yeah and the sex is lousy too. Talk about being screwed every which way.

  28. 28
    Chris G says:

    Rubio strikes me as a Republican John Edwards, and I mean that in the least nice possible way.

  29. 29
    Violet says:

    @Chris G:
    There are definitely rumors of a mistress.

  30. 30
    Chris G says:

    @Violet: Even better. I was just thinking in terms of smarm, but smarm with JAM would be delightful!

  31. 31
    Maude says:

    @Tom Levenson:
    We aren’t lumping all evangelicals together are we?
    The right wing Christians that Ronnie Reagan suckered aren’t at all the same as the evengelicals that care about people and the country.
    If you didn’t lump them together, then oops, never mind.

  32. 32

    @Maude: Wasn’t lumping them together; there are, as noted in the comment, evangelicals with wider and tighter screens for their religious commitments to politics.

    But I think the broad point is uncontroversial: evangelical voters favor the GOP by a wide margin; they were mobilized into politics from a broadly anti-political stance over the last forty years; and they have stood by the GOP for social and symbolic reasons — in which party affiliation has become an element of identity – despite the fact that many of their core demands have not been met.

    The question I’m asking is whether or not we can break the tea-party/GOP connection before it gets to the point of that identity connection. As said above, I don’t think we can make liberals out of most of these folks, but we can reduce their enthusiasm for a political system that is very likely to fail them (or at least that will fail to deliver their state ends). If so, that’s a net gain for us, and I would say, for the country.

  33. 33
    Maude says:

    @thomas Levenson:
    Isn’t the problem that both groups believe what they want to believe?
    You can’t argue with belief.
    I have no idea what happens to the tea party types in the next 6 months. The Republican bluster we hear now may be scaled back in January.
    I do thing that McConnell will have a rough time with Paul in the Senate.
    The Republican party seems to be at a splinter point.

  34. 34
    catclub says:

    @Jay C:
    “Seems like a LOT of voters are already suffering from “buyers’ remorse” after less than a week”

    I think you are making this up. I have seen no interviews with voters, not to mention polls – which would be much better evidence of popular opinion than cherry-picked interviews,
    of changes in voter sentiment.

    All the news I have seen is of politicians saying that they are going to tell the voters what they _really_ meant when they voted in the GOP. That is not the same as buyer’s remorse.

    That is the salesman telling the rubes what the fine print really says. ‘salesman gloat’ perhaps?

  35. 35
    mds says:

    The question I’m asking is whether or not we can break the tea-party/GOP connection before it gets to the point of that identity connection.

    No, because once you remove the existing right-wing evangelical / GOP connection, and the existing racist / GOP connection, there is no Tea Party left. Do you know what the Iowa ‘bagger movement was focusing on this cycle? Throwing out a budget-balancing state legislature and a governor endorsed by the NRA, because homosexuals had been given equal rights by activist judges. In most places, the Tea Party and the Talibornagain are indistinguishable.

  36. 36
    Mike in NC says:

    May those clowns reap what they have sown.

  37. 37

    Sheesh, Rubio was the Speaker of The House in Florida, which has one of the slickest Republican machines in the nation. These days you simply cannot get more establishment than Marco Rubio. The fact that most of his positions coincide with the tea party says more about the tea party’s overlap with conservative republicans than about Rubio. He was never a real “tea party” candidate. Rand Paul is really the only tea party candidate who won a Senate seat (Ron Johnson is simply a hack “businessman” not a real tea partier) and I daresay even Paul would have been in trouble it if weren’t for the built-in support due to his dad’s run for President.

    Rubio is not as insane as most of the tea partiers. He’s not interested in repealing the 17th amendment or abolishing the Dept of Education. He wants to gut the safety net and kick out all the illegals (except Cubans with “special” status of course) like all Repubs.

    Which is bad enough.

  38. 38
    Princess says:

    Another set of questions Rubio will have to face if he wants to go further, is about his religion. Not that it should matter, but it seems to be the way things work now. Evidently, he says he’s a Roman Catholic, but he attends and donates big bucks to a non-denominational evangelical church. Again, I couldn’t care less where he goes, but it is something that will set him somewhat apart from the bulk of the Latino community, and might make him less appealing to some.

    It would not surprise me if the Republicans in their “He’s brown — the brown people will like him,” ways remain ignorant of the possible downside of this for Rubio as a rallying point for Latinos.

  39. 39
    debbie says:

    Rubio’s change of heart on top of Brown’s sellout? The Tea Partiers’ collective head will explode.

  40. 40
    mk3872 says:

    Actually, let’s face facts for Florida: Had Meeks done the proper thing and dropped-out, Crist would have beaten Rubio and would have won the election.

  41. 41

    @mk3872: Poor Meek. Almost nobody even gets his name right — practically everyone adds an “s.”

    He had very little money, and from where I sat, anyway, his campaign organization seemed somewhat amateurish. I think you’re right that Crist could have won had Meek dropped out.

    But it’s not an iron-clad certainty: I think the final tally had Meek and Crist vote totals at just barely over 50%. Had either man dropped out, some of their disgruntled supporters would have sat out the race, so Rubio may have squeaked in anyway. We’ll never know for sure.

  42. 42
    daveNYC says:

    Seems like a LOT of voters are already suffering from “buyers’ remorse” after less than a week: Hell, judging from most opinion polls I saw, vast numbers of them were suffering from “buyers’ remorse” AS they were voting…..

    Even assuming that you are on target with people suffering buyers’ remorse, in two years they’ll dump any problems they have with the Republicans down the memory hole and vote whole-hog for whoever the ‘anti-others’ candidate is.

  43. 43
    maus says:


    Even assuming that you are on target with people suffering buyers’ remorse, in two years they’ll dump any problems they have with the Republicans down the memory hole and vote whole-hog for whoever the ‘anti-others’ candidate is.

    Yup. You can’t have “buyers’ remorse” if you have the memory of a goldfish, and you don’t adjust your expectations.

  44. 44
    Frank C. says:

    Assuming that Latinos across the USA would swoon over Rubio in some future national campaign is just ridiculous. I have no fear of him, even though he is clearly better than average re: political talent. He’s a little staid. The Edwards comparison is good; Edwards was talented as well, and it wasn’t the mistress that did him in.

    Rubio certainly wouldn’t beat Obama or Hillary. I could see him beating a subpar Democrat if he moved waay to the center, however. Good luck on that.

  45. 45
    debbie says:

    Assuming that Latinos across the USA would swoon over Rubio in some future national campaign is just ridiculous.

    And that’s the mind-set of Republicans when it comes to any minority.

  46. 46
    pattonbt says:

    My only comment to those trying to outline potential electoral flaws with a future national run by Rubio (i.e. mistress, religion, dark skin, etc.), you all conveniently forget IOKIYAR.

    None of the rules apply to Republicans that apply to Democrats. As long as the person is Republican, all faults, no matter what they are, are secondary to being a True Patriot, True Believer, God Fearing, Honest Abe, Founding Father, Government Hating, Illegal Hating, Europe Hating Republican In Good Stead! USA! USA! USA!

    Rubio will suffer not for any fault as long as he keeps that R there next to his name.

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