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Wednesday, March 09, 2016

In Praise Of Marco Rubio

If this is the end for him, I wanted people to know all along why I have so vocally supported him. Firstly, and most importantly, he's completely pro-life/anti-abortion. It took a tremendous amount of guts to go on 60 Minutes and other places and say he didn't believe in exceptions, because that's a person we kill, and there is no "sweet spot," morally or otherwise, in that case.

Secondly, I think that, if we as a party have decided that the minimum wage cannot or should not be raised (which I believe is morally dubious, mind you) the only thing close to a defensible compromise position would be tax credits aimed right at married families, and that's what Rubio has suggested. Senator Paul may be right that it will be very expensive. Ideologues may well be correct that it's a clever redistribution tool, to give money to people who haven't paid it in taxes. Well, yes. If the economic hazards of the marginal working-class are such that emerging from it is almost pure luck, we have reached the point where fretting about "welfare spending" is just so much noise. Philosophically, we cannot assume that the general welfare or the common good is served by the increase of profit by itself. That position is no more defensible than to assert that government alone is the engine of economic progress. I can at least appreciate Sen. Rubio's rhetorical questions to the effect that his bartender father and hotel maid mother couldn't make it in America today. But we're not socialists, now, or ever.

In fact, the gravest crime against the people with the president's health care law is not that it should be the beginning step toward basic health care and preventative medicine, regardless of economic situation, but that it does so on immoral terms. So long as abortion and abortifacients are argued to be so urgently necessary that the United States government must compel citizens to participate as customers and subsidizers--and against the free exercise clause of the First Amendment!--our government is arguing appalling absurdity. To be immoral and ineffective, that should be the worst outcome in public policy, but it hasn't been. Yes, repeal it, and quickly.

Thirdly, I trust Marco Rubio to at least appoint judges who will not attack the free exercise of religion, traditional values, or federalism at the earliest opportunity. I don't look for judges who will always give me what I want. I want a Supreme Court where I barely know their names.

Fourthly, he's right on his weakest issue vulnerability: immigration. He's been right the whole time. There absolutely is a happy medium between outsiders streaming across the border looking for free stuff, and treating Mexican immigrants and others as subhuman outsiders. I'm tired of pandering to immoral, thoughtless nativists. If that makes me "establishment," good. I haven't heard a good, honest argument against being downright "liberal" on this. We will never end birthright citizenship, and we never should. And that's the beginning of what we ought to do.

Finally, I still believe he could easily win a general election. I don't think Cruz will. It's that simple. And no amount of hectoring about neoconservative cabals changes that. You can't fake the ability to connect with people. Marco Rubio inspires people, left, right, and center. I'm well to his left, and I'd be thrilled to back him. That's all there is to know.

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