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Friends, let’s talk about Marco Rubio. But first, have you heard this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing? Come on! He knows exactly what he’s doing! Really, if I could have one wish, it would be to dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. So before we move on, I want you to promise me that you’ll dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing.
He knows exactly what he’s doing.
OK, let’s move on.
When asked about the apparent hard drive malfunction that caused him to go into an error loop during Saturday’s debate, Rubio argued that he meant to say the same thing over and over again, because he means it. Lots of people say the same thing over and over again to emphasize how much they mean it, even when they’re in the process of being repeatedly shamed on live television for their inability to say literally anything else. Right? That’s a thing, isn’t it? Anyway, Rubio:
“I’m going to say it again,” Mr. Rubio said in front of a crowd of about 1,000 people who packed a high school cafeteria here, one of his largest New Hampshire audiences. “Barack Obama is the first president, at least in my lifetime, who wants to change the country. Change the country — not fix it. Not fix its problems. He wants to make it a different kind of country.”
This brings us to the other thing wrong with Rubio’s one perfectly memorized talking point: it’s wrong. For one thing, “dispel with” is not actually a phrase that makes any sense. But also too, virtually every presidential candidate campaigns on the idea that he or she is going to “change” the country in some way. What the hell is Rubio talking about? Fixing problems is change, and presidential candidates usually pick the latter framing over the former. Obama wanted to make America a “different kind of country”? OK. Marco Rubio wants to turn America into a kleptocracy based on vast structural inequities between the wealthy and everyone else, where women are denied basic human rights to control their own bodies and refugees from scary parts of the world can go get bent. Each of those things would represent a “change” in the way America operates that is at least as great as whatever changes Obama has made.
Of course presidential candidates always talk about change. The country has to change, because everything is constantly changing. Rubio may argue that he only wants to go back to the America of, I don’t know, the ’50s (maybe the 1850s), but that would still be a change! A pretty freaking big one, actually! Unless his plan is literally to take the oath of office and then sit unmoving in the Oval Office for the next four years, a President Rubio would indeed preside over changes to the country.
I’m not one to give Rubio’s intellect the benefit of the doubt, but even I think he knows better than this. He needs to upload a better talking point database, though.
UPDATE: At Salon, Simon Maloy points out, correctly, that I’m not really Rubio’s audience for this kind of talk. He’s speaking the language of nutter far-right conspiracy talk radio:
If you’ve listened to a lot of conservative radio (or watched just a few seconds of Glenn Beck) then you’ve probably come across this theme. Each AM dial screamer has his own variation on the “Barack Obama is deliberately trying to undermine the United States” theory. Some peg it to the “Cloward-Piven strategy,” which maintains that Obama has constructed government programs with the intention that they’ll fail, which will spark societal upheaval and the downfall of American society. Others mindlessly attach Saul Alinsky’s name to everything the president does in order to give him a sheen of danger and radicalism. Dinesh D’Souza, the discredited felon, makes the insane argument that Obama is diminishing the country’s standing in the world out of deference to his father’s anti-colonial worldview. They’re all slightly different routes to the same destination: Obama is deliberately harming the country by targeting and destroying the things that make us uniquely “American.”
This is, let’s not forget, Marco Rubio, the “mainstream” Republican, the darling of the DC media establishment because he’s a Republican but he’s not some fringe screamer like Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. Yeah, sure he’s not.
One thought on “Does not compute”
Thank you! That has been bugging me through all of Rubio’s opening statements and responses, along with his attempt to completely imbalance the ‘logos, ethos, pathos’ triangle by using 80% ethos.