Monday, August 15, 2016

Sun-Sentinel Declines To Endorse In Republican Senate Primary ... by gimleteye

Congratulations to the Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board for deciding NOT to endorse in Florida's GOP Senate primary. More newspapers should protest by declining to endorse where candidates have demonstrably failed to earn the public trust.

What is remarkable is the frank and honest description of the failures of the incumbent, Florida's junior senator, Marco Rubio.

Rubio was once hailed on a Time Magazine cover as "The Republican Savior". Today, if such an offense existed, Rubio would be guilty of political malpractice, turning bright promise into an exhausted and exhausting presence on the hustings, trailing talking points like a string of tin cans.

Last March Rubio -- who confidently promised to win his home state -- failed to carry more than 15% of GOP presidential primary votes. He had already announced his intention to return to the private sector. Yet his backers, including the powerful sugar industry, pulled him back to help save the GOP majority in the Senate.

The way Rubio went about flip-flopping -- announcing his intention to reconsider in the aftermath of the Orlando massacre, a hate crime against a constituency his entire political career had invested in marginalizing -- left jaws gaping.

Rubio's political arc now closely tracks another telegenic, young Cuban American who fell to earth: the once rising Democratic star, Alex Penelas.

Rubio shares with Penelas an unerring accuracy in making wrong political decisions. At least Jeb Bush had the self-respect to renounce Donald Trump who relished the savagery of ad hominem attacks against him.

In political life, there is a point of no return.

No endorsement in GOP race for U.S. Senate
Sun Sentinel Editorial Board
Sun Sentinel declines to endorse Marco Rubio or Carlos Beruff in GOP primary for U.S. Senate

Incumbent Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has decided being a U.S. senator isn't so bad after all. So, he's seeking re-election.

His first hurdle is to defeat Sarasota businessman Carlos Beruff in the Aug. 30 primary.

This is one of those rare races — indeed, the only race this election cycle — where the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board is making no endorsement.

Our issues with Rubio, 45, are well known:

• Between March 2015 and March 2016, he missed more votes than any other member of the Senate. He was absent for 41 percent of the Senate's votes during that period; the median absentee record was 1 percent.

• Most of those absences came after he announced in April 2015 that he was running for president. That raises the question: Will he run again in 2020 and again shun his Senate duties? He refuses to commit to fulfilling the job.

• When he announced his candidacy for president, he said he was not going to seek re-election to the Senate. In fact, he said he doesn't much like working in the Senate. He called it frustrating.

• In June, he decided to seek re-election after a gunman killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub that catered to LGBT patrons. Although Rubio has a dismal record on LGBT issues, he said he was "deeply impacted" by the killings and would run for the Senate again.

So, it would seem that Florida Republicans who vote for Rubio in the primary are looking for a candidate who has shown little interest in the Senate and who almost certainly will begin campaigning for president after returning to the chamber.

The one compelling reason Rubio is seeking his Senate seat again is to help the GOP retain control of the Senate.

Many Republican leaders are rightfully concerned that with Donald Trump as the party's presidential nominee, Democrat Hillary Clinton will win the presidency in a November landslide that will hurt other GOP candidates on the ballot.

When he announced his intention to run again, the New York Times reported: "Mr. Rubio had been flirting with the idea of running for weeks amid intense pressure from Republican Party leaders, who assured him of their full political and financial backing."

With his potent name recognition, considerable political skills and the support of big GOP donors, Rubio is the party's best chance of retaining its Florida Senate seat.

That's all well and good, but hardly a reason for a newspaper to endorse a candidate. Media organizations endorse candidates based on what they've accomplished and what they promise to accomplish.

With Rubio, that's difficult.

He did not respond to multiple invitations for an interview. In fact, we cannot find that he's met with any Florida editorial board. Neither did he return our questionnaire, which asked his positions on issues such as the Iran nuclear deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Obamacare, gun regulations and much more.

Also, it's tough to assess Rubio's goals because his political record is filled with shifting positions. For example:

• During the GOP presidential campaign, he called Donald Trump a "con man" who is dangerous and not qualified to control the nation's nuclear codes. But in May, he endorsed Trump and promised to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. In July, he decided he would not attend the convention.

• He worked with a group in the Senate in 2013 called "The Gang of Eight" to fashion an immigration reform bill. It included amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the country. When Republicans opposed to any form of amnesty criticized Rubio for working on the bill, he withdrew his support.

• In May 2015 Rubio gave conflicting answers to questions about whether the United States should have invaded Iraq. He told Charlie Rose it was a mistake because Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction; he later told Fox News that the invasion was warranted because Saddam Hussein was such a terrible dictator.

Finally, there's the flip-flop on running for the Senate again.

Rubio's opponent in the primary doesn't deserve an endorsement either.

Beruff, 58, is a millionaire developer from the Sarasota area whose only political experience is writing big checks to candidates and then getting named to boards.

Gov. Charlie Crist in 2008 appointed Beruff to serve on the boards of Sarasota-Bradenton Airport Authority, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the State College of Florida.

The president and CEO of Medallion Home, Beruff has a reputation in Florida west coast political circles of being a bully. But in his endorsement interview at the Sun Sentinel, he was charming and agreeable and said his primary objective as a candidate is to make government work efficiently and ensure that taxpayers get their money's worth.

But he's drawn flak for his intemperate language. In May he called President Barack Obama "an animal" at a local GOP party meeting. He told us he's angry with the president for failing to support the military, whose funding he wants to increase.

During his endorsement interview, Beruff explained that as a child growing up in a Cuban household in Miami, he spoke only Spanish. And in his native language, he said "animal" is a generic insult that isn't as offensive as it sounds in English. He said he simply lapsed into that Cuban mindset when talking about the president.

Beruff said he's challenging Rubio because the incumbent has become "a career politician who's controlled by the power brokers in Washington."

He said he's running for the office because he's lived "the American dream," is ready for the next challenge and can afford to fund a campaign.

"So now my focus is on giving back to the country that made it all possible," he wrote in his questionnaire.


Anonymous said...

Well, if FL wants a no-show, do nothing senator, who votes against the interests of the state, he is your boy. Americans will never vote for him as he is viewed as just an empty suit who seeks public money for no work.

Anonymous said...

Surprised that when talking about being 'deeply impacted' by the Pulse nightclub shooting the Sun Sent only mentioned his anti-LGBT stance.
They forgot to mention that two months later he was the headline speaker just this past Friday night at a hate-group gathering of anti-LGBT religious leaders.

Anonymous said...

Since Miami-Dade was the only county that voted for him in the presidential race, maybe he should run for Mayor of Miami-Dade County. He could hire a manager to come to work, attend commission meetings, and do work, and he could stay home, collect checks, and watch TV.