Oh, the headlines. Oh the damage control. Oh, this election cycle that is whittling itself into obtuse ignominy before our very eyes. This is hell. In the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed the gloves coming off and the chandeliers swaying in an increasingly heated presidential-preference primary season, mostly because that’s what happens every four years and we should be accustomed to it. But it’s also because when manufactured candidates get closer to the truth, it’s almost like their wings melt, and the clashes of titans become more like stutters in rehearsed lexicon pools.
Case in point: the Feb. 5 Republican debate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It was a Saturday, and we all know that Saturday nights are all right for fighting, so the presence of playground bullies like Donald Trump and Chris Christie wasn’t a surprise. The popcorn was already burned; the rotgut already crystallized at the bottom of a red Solo cup for later tosses into regret fires. But Rubio – oh, our poor, poor former state House speaker and author of books sold at Wal-Mart on the cheap – he wasn’t quite ready, really, and the whole of the news media and the Republican slam book was on alert. Rubio, who is loved for no reason by the Log Cabin Republicans and people who don’t like politics alike (he’s cute from a distance, really, but there’s no need to get any closer), pulled a robotic Small Wonder and waivered from his fresh-faced political sprint. There in the miniature shadow of the New Hampshire primaries, Rubio went on autopilot, pulling an attack on sitting President Barack Obama, even though said sitting president is not even in these primaries.
“Let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Rubio sideswiped a double negative. “He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.”
This strained reference to homogenization naturally doesn’t play too well into Rubio’s own amorphous narrative, given that he and his family either ran away from Cuba or capitalized on the American dream in different time-space continuums, but it plays even worse when it’s repeated. Oh, and it was. Rubio dipped into the same shallow end of his rhetoric four times upon confrontation from the other Republican feral dog puppets like Christie in a sad, canonic repetition. His circuits melted. His bottled water melted. His direct line to the Republican nomination melted.
“When I’m president, we are going to re-embrace all the things that made American the greatest nation in the world, and we are going to leave our children with what they deserve: the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”
Sometimes it seems like Marco is still playing Marco Polo with his Star Wars figures, or at least dozing off on mom’s Xanax.
Christie, the guy who knows how to run a bridge while still enjoying his sandwich, popped back with his bully purse. “You have not been involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable. You just simply haven’t,” the belly rumbled. “That’s not leadership. That’s truancy.”
So Rubio’s record skipped again and he went back to his “Thanks, Obama” shtick just in time to get pounced by another Christie belly flop.
“There it is: the memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody,” Christie said.
Rubio, who has been plagued by a bizarre gay narrative over the past few weeks – something about a beer in a car outside a cruising park and a Village-People-cum-Chippendales glee-club narrative that we don’t even want to know about – had been surging in the polls as if the party were directing said polls (it likely is). Now, on the eve of New Hampshire’s primary (which closes after our press time), he is buckling, rebooting, shooting off sparks and failing. Oh, and he also doesn’t like gay people.
According to Politico, though, Rubio is sticking to his stick-proof guns. “This week, the other candidates made one thing clear: They were going to try to take Marco out,” a fundraising email blast proclaimed.
Taking Rubio out gets more and more complicated by the day.
Mrs. Smith goes to TIME
Generally when Florida nabs a national headline, it involves somebody huffing bath salts off the back of snake while be locked in a car that’s trapped inside a grow house on fire. Oh, or Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. Same diff. Last week, though, Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith made us proud with a piece published on the website of TIME magazine. EQFL is deep in the midst of its legislative battle these two months, and Smith wasn’t about to the opportunity to be reasonable pass her by. Smith centered her focus on the Competitive Workforce Act – something you can read more about in our Central Florida News section toward the front of Watermark. She also touched on the so-called “Pastor Protection” bill, which wound its way through another committee and seems likely to garner some more bankable hate for the right-wing campaign coffers.
“In Florida, we have a chance to take a different path,” she writes, adding that, “now it’s time for Florida to move beyond a patchwork quilt of protections and promote legislation that encourages economic growth.”
It’s about time.
Planned budget mess
Ultimately, the legislative session boils down to a missionary hair-braiding circle of budgetary concerns for and increasingly terrible Republican Party. This year, the story is playing along as scheduled. In addition to trying to steal rights away from the LGBT community, House Republicans are making a go at Planned Parenthood, Texas-style. A House budget committee has elected to float the idea of defunding the women’s (and men’s) reproductive health organization full stop. House leaders are seeking to cock-block any funding for the organization, including the funding that is creatively pushed through county health departments. It should be noted that no funding goes to abortion, so this is, at best, a Trojan horse.
“It’s a politically derived stunt that they’re pulling against one nonprofit organization that provides health care to women,” state Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach (and our hearts) said, according to the St. Augustine Record. A senate companion to this buffoonery is only a twitch away.
Speaking of dumb Florida legislative ideas and those who spin them into inevitable reality, in spite of every bit of reason or concern floating out there among experts and the electorate, the Florida House is racing forward, guns blazing, with its open-carry legislation designed to make college kids and the people who love them seem even more terrifying. A general open-carry bill, HB 163, cleared the House 80-38 in early February. Swiftly thereafter, the campus-carry bill, HB 4001, sailed smoothly through the House of cards with a vote of 80-37. Wisely, the Senate is being a bit more circumspect on the issue, and by most accounts, the backwoods tendencies of those with explosive personalities have yet to be realized by the more realized branch of our bicameral overlords. Keep it in your pants, dickbags.