(Disclaimer from Elementary Politics Staff. These articles were compiled in April. There has not been a single debate. We fully admit that it is too early for any rational person to settle on any one candidate. A dark horse that we now think has no chance may rise, someone who looks great may find their inner Todd Akin and blow it. The most we can do is look at the limited information we have at present and look for glaring red flags on which to completely dismiss a candidate at this early stage. But at this point no clear endorsement is being made by Elementary Politics…although we do believe several of them have some glaring red flags).
Rubio made his Presidential campaign announcement on Monday, April 13th. Senator Rubio is a child of Cuban immigrants and has thrived as a Senator from Florida. He would be able to win the Hispanic vote, in greater numbers than GOP candidates in the past. He has a long standing career in the local, state, and federal levels and not just as a senator. He began working in politics at the age of 26 and comes from a very humble middle-class upbringing.
Rubio has also stated that he will not seek reelection while he is running for president. Meanwhile his connection and deep friendship with Jeb Bush will count against him when it comes to a lot of conservatives, who may see him as another Bush, though an close look at his record in politics should stop those concerns.
When it comes to economic issues, Rubio has the right rhetoric. Obviously, he thinks the economy is in a bad place, and that the federal government hasn’t taken the right actions to change it. For example, he thinks our taxation system discourages investment in our economy and stops foreign companies from creating jobs here. He believes that we should be attracting business to our shores with tax breaks and less strict regulations. He has released a tax plan that, according to the Tax Foundation, will let everyone keep more of their own money and will simplify the tax code to encourage more investment in the economy.
He wants to expand free trade agreements and wants less regulation in the economy.
On the issue of taxes, Rubio definitely appeals to conservatives. He claims that we cannot tax our way to prosperity. His goal, as he describes it is a plan fit for the 21st century. A part of this would be wage enhancement credits. His priority is “single mothers,” “recent college graduates,” and “working class families.” He sees the failures of the system and wants to reform it without pumping more money into it. But his credit system also has flaws because his credits would involve government paying money in a form of tax breaks. The concept is a bit complex, but he wants to extend the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 indefinitely, cut corporate taxes, and get rid of the death tax.
He believes that Washington’s spending is out of control, as most people do. He wants to cut the White House and Congresional budgets. He also wants to stop pouring money into failing programs and institutions and to reform Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
His idea of tax credits also applies to his plan of an Obamacare alternative, which would provide tax credits to help people by health insurance and he also agrees with a plan proposed by a fellow Republican which would help people get temporary financial assistance from the government to pay for healthcare they already have without having to go on Obamacare. He also wants tort reform and to allow individuals to buy insurance across state lines. He wants to put a plan in place to cover people with pre-existing conditions. He supports a repeal of Obamacare and though this appeals to conservatives, he has also talked about “replacing” ObamaCare and his plan does not disallow government subsidized healthcare.
He says that Obama’s foreign policy has been a failure. He has spoken against the current negotiations with Iran, and believes we will soon see several new nuclear powers in the Middle East. He claims there is “no substitute for American leadership” to address this problem. He has also publicly rallied in support for Israel, he has, particularly recently, been highly critical of Obama’s policies and attitude towards the Jewish state. He has made multiple statements about this and it will be to his advantage to continue them. Jewish voters mostly vote Democrat and this will go a long way with getting them on his side.
Rubio believes defense spending needs to increase. He is angry about the spending cuts the Obama administration has imposed. Right now, he says, our air force is the smallest it’s ever been, our navy is smaller than it was before WWI, and our army is smaller than it was before WWII. This isn’t good in a world filled with threats to our national security and interests. Although our debt crisis is bad, Rubio thinks the military needs to remain a priority. It is, after all, the most important function of the state.
He was one of the people who introduced the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.” He said it would give us the strongest border security we’ve ever had. At least he recognizes how important it is for our national security to control immigration and protect the border, although many people worried that this bill would mean more amnesty for illegal aliens. He meant the bill to get the ball rolling on immigration reform, and for it to keep being amended. On his website, he posted a series of myths and facts about the bill, including the myth that it would provide amnesty or citizenship to all illegal aliens. Rubio says he never intended this. He will need to give concrete answers on this issue.
Marco Rubio has a fairly conservative outlook on social issues, which will be a struggle for him as they will be for all GOP candidates. Rubio is pro-life, but as of yet has not indicated beyond his views what he will do if elected to office. This can work in his favor, or it can work against him. His pro-family views are probably going to appeal to conservatives and moderates alike. He believes, for example, in child tax credits. While he has supported legislation that would ban abortion after 20 weeks gestation, he believes that life begins at conception. He opposes funding embryonic stem cell research, which might be a turn-off to some moderates.
He has decried increasing intolerance of people who don’t support same-sex marriage and claimed they aren’t necessarily bigots. He believes our society has come a long way in promoting equality between people with different sexual orientations, and supports civil unions for gay couples. Although he himself would prefer to keep the traditional definition of marriage, Rubio will accept the decisions of courts and voters on the issue. He thinks religious freedom laws can allow people to refuse to provide a service related to same-sex weddings and that they have that right. His staff has also reportedly had quarterly meetings with the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization of gay Republicans.
Executive Experience and Leadership
Rubio has little or no executive experience, depending on how you want to look at it. Before becoming a Senator, he was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives for four years. Before becoming a representative, he was a City Commissioner in West Miami. In the Senate, he has been on the Committee of Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
He has been a U.S. senator for only four years, and his entire life has been about politics. He hasn’t been in the military, he hasn’t run a company, and he hasn’t been a governor. He has also had a few major missteps with legislation (SOPA for instance)…but what seems very refreshing about Rubio is that when he makes a mistake and realizes it, he admits that he was wrong and explains not only why he made the bad choices he did…but also why he changed–this shows more depth of thought than most politicians. This might make some people feel as though he isn’t qualified for president. Still, we can’t discount his experience working with fellow senators and representatives. What will work in his favor is his criticism of the gridlock in congress, something that has bothered republicans and democrats alike.
Marco Rubio appeals to people who are looking for younger, more vibrant candidates. He might also appeal to immigrants, children of immigrants, and Hispanic voters (at the same time, it has been pointed out that “the Cuban vote” and “the Hispanic vote” are not one and the same, although he also may be seen as a token or traitor. He’s also attractive, which, quite frankly, helps–but more than any of these things the media likes to focus on, he is at this point the candidate who is strongest on ideas and plans.