Marco Rubio announced this morning that he's running for Senate after more than a year of not only swearing he wouldn't run for reelection but also openly decrying the work of the legislative body itself. It's a flip-flop so big that Shaquille O'Neal could happily wear it to the beach.
Though, in his announcement statement, Rubio still seems to think he's running against both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This despite the fact that his actual campaign to run against Clinton and Trump was a huge failure.
"No matter who is elected president, there is
Rubio continues, "The prospect of a Trump presidency is also worrisome to me. His positions on many key issues are still unknown. And some of his statements, especially about women and minorities, I find not just offensive but unacceptable."
In the statement, which is included in full below, Rubio positions the office of junior senator from Florida as uniquely powerful and insinuates that it is somehow the race that will really determine the future of American politics.
"Control of the Senate may very well come down to the race in Florida," he says. "That means the future of the Supreme Court will be determined by the Florida Senate seat. It means the future of the disastrous Iran nuclear deal will be determined by the Florida Senate seat. It means the direction of our country’s fiscal and economic policies will be determined by this Senate seat. The stakes for our nation could not be higher."
True, Florida's race is one of about five Senate races deemed tossups that will determine the control of the body for the next two years, but it's a bit of a jump to state things like the control of the Supreme Court is up for grabs. The president picks the nominees with the "advice and consent" of the Senate.
Rubio's basic pitch is that he'll act as a firm check and balance against either Trump or Clinton. In a way, it's smart politics. Polls indicate that neither is particularly popular among the general electorate, though the effect is a little less pronounced in Florida.
However, polls also show that Rubio's popularity among Floridians has also taken a huge hit in the state over the past year. A recent Public Policy Polling survey found that only 30 percent of Floridians approve of the way Rubio handles his job. Another 49 percent disapprove. Those numbers are not only worse than Trump's and Clinton's standings in the state, but they're also worse than Rick Scott's current approval score. Ouch.
There's also the matter that both Clinton and Trump easily won their primaries in Florida, and Trump did so while running against Rubio.
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Rubio is positioning his Senate run as a way to continue a battle he's already lost, but the truth is he'll end up running against his record and previous performance in the Senate.
He'll also run against at least one well-moneyed primary challenger. Carlos Beruff, a mini-Trump of sorts, has said he'll stay in the race for the Republican nomination. Either Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy or Rep. Alan Grayson will await Rubio in the main event. That same PPP poll found that Murphy leads Rubio by 1 percent.
Marco's Statement on Running for Reelection
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued the following statement today announcing he will run for reelection in the United States Senate:
In politics, admitting you’ve changed your mind is not something most people like to do. But here it goes.
I have decided to seek reelection to the United States Senate.
I understand my opponents will try to use this decision to score political
points against me. Have at it. Because I have never claimed to be perfect, or to have all the answers.
Still, the people of Florida deserve to know why I’ve changed my mind.
I have often said that the U.S. Senate can be a frustrating place. And it’s true. After witnessing the gridlock that grips Washington, I think just about every American – Democrat or Republican – would agree.
But the Senate is also a place from which you can perform great services for the people you have the honor of representing. And I am proud of the work we have done to help thousands of Floridians over the last six years.
The Senate can also be a place from which great policy advances can be made. I am proud that we have done that too.
But as we begin the next chapter in the history of our nation, there’s another role for the Senate that could end up being its most important in the years to come: The Constitutional power to act as a check and balance on the excesses of a president.
Control of the Senate may very well come down to the race in Florida. That means the future of the Supreme Court will be determined by the Florida Senate seat. It means the future of the disastrous Iran nuclear deal will be determined by the Florida Senate seat. It means the direction of our country’s fiscal and economic policies will be determined by this Senate seat. The stakes for our nation could not be higher.
There’s also something else. No matter who is elected president, there is reason for worry.
With Hillary Clinton, we would have four more years of the same failed economic policies that have left us with a stagnant economy. We would have four more years of the same failed foreign policy that has allowed radical Islam to spread, and terrorists to be released from Guantanamo. And even worse, if Clinton were president and her party took control of Congress, she would govern without Congressional oversight or limit. It would be a repeat of the early years of the current administration, when we got Obamacare, the failed stimulus and a record debt.
The prospect of a Trump presidency is also worrisome to me. It is no secret that I have significant disagreements with Donald Trump. His positions on many key issues are still unknown. And some of his statements, especially about women and minorities, I find not just offensive but unacceptable. If he is elected, we will need Senators willing to encourage him in the right direction, and if necessary, stand up to him. I’ve proven a willingness to do both.
In the days ahead, America will continue to face serious challenges – the possibility of terrorist attacks at home and abroad, a declining military, anemic economic growth and low wages, assaults on our rights and values, outdated health care, education and pension programs in desperate need of reform – that face backward or uncertain responses from either Clinton or Trump.
No matter who wins the White House, we need a strong group of principled, persuasive leaders in Congress who will not only advance limited government, free enterprise and a strong national defense, but also explain to Americans how it makes life better for them and their families. I ultimately changed my mind about this race because on that front, and in that fight, I believe I have something to offer.
In the end, this was a decision made not in Washington, but back home in West Miami over Father’s Day weekend, with my wife and our four children.
There were two paths before us. There was one path that was more personally comfortable and probably smarter politically. But after much thought and prayer, together we chose to continue with public service; to continue down the path that provides the opportunity to make a positive difference at this critical and uncertain time for our nation.
In the end, there was simply too much at stake for any other choice.