Little Marco Finds Someone His Own Size

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has been demonstrating his commitment to the rule of law, human rights, and clean government with a bold stand. Just not here, in his own country. That would be inconvenient.

Instead, Rubio has found a corrupt leader of some other country to pick on, a leader who can’t fight back. A leader who won’t punish him for his stand. A leader who won’t call him hurtful names. Most of all, Rubio has picked a leader who his donors dislike. Venezuelans who long for honest government have an ally in Marco Rubio. Americans don’t.

There’s a bizarre-world quality to Marco Rubio’s sustained tweetstorm against Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro. If he had ever demonstrated any cleverness you’d have to wonder if it was a purposeful Trump protest. Tweet by tweet, Rubio is outlining a case against Maduro that would operate almost perfectly against his own president.

People do strange things under pressure. Rubio is not a terrible person and he clearly has no love for Trump. These tweets read like sublimated messages from Reek, the broken pet with a tiny beacon of human feeling still sending out its faint proof of life.

Here’s Rubio on Meet the Press, almost criticizing Trump’s policy of punishing asylum-seeker by sending their kids to concentration camps:

“We sympathize with people that are coming here. America is the most generous country in the world. And, ideally, you wouldn’t put people through additional trauma once they came into the United States.”

It’s nice for him to agree that “ideally” we wouldn’t do this sort of thing. Perhaps he followed up those comments by sending a letter to his elected representatives. Meanwhile, here’s what he says about that kind of callous disregard for children’s lives when it costs him nothing, not even a stamp:

When it comes to Little Marco’s Trump cowardice, there’s a tweet for everything. Leaders laundering money is terrible and should be punished, in a retweet from John Bolton of all people:

Apparently, Rubio dislikes leaders who harass and demean journalists:

He tweeted photoshopped images of Maduro imprisoned for his crimes.

While his fellow Republicans rolled back sanctions on the Russian mobsters who backed his president’s election bid, he tweeted this nugget about Treasury sanctions against Venezuelan leaders.

Are you troubled by a president employing a press secretary to tell absurd lies to the press? So is Marco Rubio, sort of.

And naturally, because there has to be, there’s a Little Marco tweet complaining of Russian interference in Venezuela’s politics.

You might be jealous of the job Rubio’s doing protecting someone else’s democracy from Kleptocrats, but you shouldn’t be. If Rubio was an elected representative in Venezuela he’d be pocketing the money and toeing the line, just like he’s doing in DC. Meanwhile he’d probably be cranking out fiery tweets full of distractions about some other country’s leadership.

Compare his tweets about Maduro to his tweets about Saudi Arabia. Why the difference? The Saudis don’t frighten the wealthy donors who support Little Marco’s career. You don’t make a living in politics by biting the hand that feeds you. An excellent report from the Miami Herald demonstrates how this worked for Marco Rubio, and by extension, how this works for everyone else who hopes to climb to wealth in public service in either party. Ask Mitch McConnell how he became a multi-millionaire.

Rubio was in a key position to thwart the rise of Trump and then to lead an effective opposition. But Trump beat him like a schoolyard bully, turning him into Little Marco the sidekick. Now Marco is trying to ride out the Trump era by finding someone smaller to pick on. Is Maduro bad? Yes, he is. So are Saudi Arabia, Syria and Russia. So is Donald Trump.

Rubio isn’t picking on Venezuela because it’s right, he’s doing it because it’s cheap. Maduro won’t ridicule Rubio in ways that harm his standing with his base. Maduro won’t pressure Rubio’s donors to cut off his paycheck. Maduro won’t have his committee assignments curtailed, damage his ability to get Florida supporters appointed to federal courts or cushy government appointments, or show up to campaign against him in a primary. Maduro won’t give Little Marco a nickname that sticks. Maduro is harmless, giving Marco a priceless opportunity to play the badass without any risk.

By contrast, doing his job would be risky and expensive, setting him at odds with the people who fund his career and pay off his credit cards. Marco Rubio is one more Republican coward. Rubio is writing his own indictment, tweet by tweet, acknowledging the imperative to challenge a Kleptocrat while propping up his own Kleptocrat.

To further shore up his ambitions, Rubio has invested in one of those scripture of the day apps. It feeds him a Bible verse to tweet out every day, to prove his bono fides to the religious nuts who now run the GOP. Once in a while, God speaks though scripture even when we aren’t listening. There’s a tweet for everything:

21 Comments

  1. Maybe we should stay just stay out of Venezuelan affairs? The other imperialist interventions and coups we’ve funded and provoked in South and Central America have never turned out well. Why do we have any hope for this campaign that’s trying to spread pro-corporate neoliberal “democracy” by helping Guaidó?

    https://theintercept.com/2019/01/30/donald-trump-and-the-yankee-plot-to-overthrow-the-venezuelan-government/

    https://theintercept.com/2019/02/13/neoliberalism-or-death-the-u-s-economic-war-against-venezuela/

    1. Actually, our intervention in Central America is the reason that Costa Rica is a safe, reliable democracy. It’s also the reason they don’t have a military. Same goes for Colombia. Others, well…they haven’t worked out so well. The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Chile. But it isn’t all disasters.

    2. Crowley, I know your question is directed at Chris, but I’m going to express my opinion regardless. I do not expect the intervention in Venezuela to go well; I actually expect it to be a disaster. The U.S. will go in with guns blazing and with a military heavy intervention. Then right wing ideologues will follow, with the sole intent of setting up a capitalist system that will rely heavily on privatization of all assets and industries. That will make room for the wealthy to come in and buy up all the assets and an oligarchy will be created. But it will be friendly to the U.S. and we will have unfettered access to the oil. That is the typical pattern when the Republicans conduct nation building exercises. That is what happened in Iraq and in Afghanistan. That pattern was largely followed in Russia, except the oligopolists were homegrown. However, the U.S. and the West encouraged the rapid privatization of the assets.

      Ultimately, the people will be no better off and most likely worse off.

      1. “The people will be no better off and most likely worse off…”

        There is no excuse for America to enter this country. The transparent grab of Venezuela’s resources will not benefit the people of America either. Rather, these ill-gotten gains will be seized from the people of Venezuela and make their way to those who always benefit in America- the most wealthy and powerful.

      2. EJ

        I read the attempted putsch in Venezuela as being much less about Trump, and much more about Bolsonaro.

        A little background: Jair Bolsonaro had a deeply mediocre military career, after which he entered politics. Many of his previous military colleagues have commented that he was very bitter about never rising above the rank of captain, and resented Brazilian society for what he saw as a lack of prestige for the military. He’s commented that Brazil needs to act more like the regional power that it is, and dislikes having to go along with laws and agreements because it feels humiliating.

        In short, Bolsonaro is your standard run-of-the-mill embittered entitled lower-management man who now has a chance to revenge himself for his feelings of humiliation by playing war with real life soldiers. I think everyone in the world knows at least one man like this and winces at the thought of him being put in charge of anything.

        Bolsonaro was definitely going to invade someone. It could have been one of a number of countries. It happened to be Venezuela.

        To my reading, therefore, the recent American obsession with regime change in Venezuela is therefore just another example of cheerleading for a regional strongman with a military fetish.

      3. “We aren’t going to do anything about Venezuela. ”

        Really Chris? You actually believe that? Washington Post, among others, has stated today that U.S. pulling the last of the diplomats out. Dependents left long ago. U.S. urged all citizens working there to get out long ago.

        Brazil, also run by a fascist, is chomping at the bit to get in there.

        The puppet tyrant is 2 plus years into his playtime and has not yet had an opportunity to pull out the best toys. You KNOW he is getting calls every day from oil exec’s saying “we learned from Iraq. This time we WILL get the oil.”

        You are completely delusional if you think plans for military air support, at the very least, have not been drawn up, and more likely some kind of troops on the ground.

        Anyone who says “let this presidency play out by proper procedure” is insane. The planet, let alone the country, can’t wait two more years, or 6.

      4. We aren’t going to do anything about Venezuela. We have no assets positioned near there. The military doesn’t care because it isn’t strategic. And Trump still doesn’t seem to have found the buttons to push or papers to sign to make the military do anything. We are not doing anything about Venezuela.

  2. From New Zealand. The world is watching, jaws gaping, heads shaking.

    Q. “Where does America get such sad excuses for elected officials?”

    A. “From districts whose boundaries
    are drawn to guarantee one-Party rule.”

    Conclusion: (Members of the Party are)…bound not by respect but by fear. If one fails, they all fail.”

    My take? If fear of being primaried reduces your party to donald trump as your standard bearer, hasn’t the party already failed? The article suggests that the Republican Party already has two major disasters it cannot discharge: the botched Iraqi reconstruction and the Great Recession. They are adding the third leg of the stool of shame with their abdication of responsibility and subservience to trump – a man so puerile and undeserving he destroys everything and everyone around him. But, really, republicans, did you have to make it so easy for him?https://i.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/donald-trumps-america/110985949/why-us-president-donald-trumps-cronies-dont-stand-up-to-him?

    ?”

  3. Haven’t heard much from Marco about the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans who entered Florida following the devastating hurricane they experienced. American help was short-lived, grudgingly given and minimal Wonder how he feels about these refugees? Guess he’s waiting to see how they register.

    I’d like to suggest a little moral ditty for Rubio – “ Blessed are those who walk the walk.”

    Oh, and that hype about concern for journalists well being? Really Marco? Yesterday’s breaking news about the “list” of American journalists – print and especially photo who are being harassed at the border is the very authoritarian tactics Maduro is applying.

    At least the people of Venezuela don’t sugar coat what’s happening there. It’s all sickening. And shallow and so transparent. But when the emperor has no clothes, what incentive is there to be a profile in courage?

      1. Would you not consider Lisa Murkowsky the most honest of the lot? She doesn’t grandstand in her opposing positions and she seems true to her conservative values while clearly drawing red lines that she stands by. Of all the GOP she impresses me most even though I disagree with her.

      2. EJ

        If I’m thinking of the right Murkowski, she’s said some scientifically illiterate and factually nonsensical things in order to defend the oil industry, which has resulted in her coming down (amongst other things) in defence of BP during the famous Gulf of Mexico spill, in opposition to cleanup legislation, and in defence of climate change denialism.

        When it comes to other matters, though, she has definitely been much better than most of her party mates.

      3. Murkowski is a mixed case. Sometimes she votes for the true welfare of her constituents. e.g. the ACA. Other times she follows the Republican line, e.g. the tax cuts act for the wealthy of 2017 and petroleum. Often times our WA senators, Murray and particularly Cantwell, are able to work with her. An example of that is the recent Federal Lands act, where Cantwell and Murkowski worked well together. That act contains some good and bad for the environment, but overall was positive.

        AK and WA have a long historical relationship and we are almost neighboring states. Afterall, it was the Yukon Gold Rush that got Seattle moving and the site of the Alaska, Yukon and Pacific Exposition became the Univ of Washington’s campus.

        In other words, Murkowski seems to be essentially a classical politician and votes in accordance with her beliefs and the desires of her constituents. After all this is a representative democracy. She is not necessarily an ideologue. I would give her an acceptable rating and would concur with Mary and Chris.

  4. Two thoughts on this: one- you’ve made a most excellent argument for major campaign finance overhaul/ reform. We can toss it on the mountain-sized pile of good arguments/ evidence for campaign finance reform. Our system actively selects for the cowards, hypocrites, toadies, and ass-kissers. We can be disgusted, but we no longer have the right to be shocked.

    Two- Max Boot wrote a recent OpEd in WaPo chiding the left for not getting behind the pressure campaign on Venezuela, because of dislike for Trump. The dislike is true, but he overlooks other reasons, like the disgusting hypocrisy. Why are we supposed to get outraged over the hardships of Venezuelans, but it’s OK to dismiss the asylum claims of Central Americans fleeing lawlessness and violence and treat them cruelly?? It looks to me that it’s all about fleeing the GOP-approved right type of oppressor (i.e. Commie/LW baddies). For the record, I feel sympathy for both. There’s also the matter of whether there’s the ulterior motive of lusting after all those oil reserves. Boss Tweet is on record as saying we should have taken Iraq’s oil, is it any stretch to say that he’d try to take some of Venezuela’s?

  5. Rob

    Marco Rubio is a politician, an American politician, and an American Republican politician. This behavior is not surprising. Fire will burn you, water is wet, and Trump had Little Marco’s number. Just look at this guy from the beginning, a pretty face and a hollow core, that is it. The idea that some guy who rode the Tea Party wave of 2010 to become a US Senator from Florida had any more substance than cotton candy at his core was ridiculous. What can anyone else say?

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