Does any politician “get it?”
By Chris Ingram
Having been a political professional almost all of my adult life, I shouldn’t be surprised by anything any politician says or does. I’ve been disappointed in a lot of candidates in the past. Even the few truly good people who get into the political arena with noble intentions usually end up getting corrupted by the system once elected. The perks, privileges, power, and ego gratification are just too much for most mortal men and women not to succumb to with double-talk and pandering to get elected/re-elected.
I’ve thought for a long time now that Marco Rubio was one of those rare few. But when I heard earlier today that Marco said he would have accepted federal stimulus dollars if he had been governor, I was disappointed that he was turning into another typical politician.
I’ve been a supporter of Marco’s since before he got into the race for the U.S. Senate. He showed true leadership as Speaker of the Florida House when he proposed a revamping of Florida’s unfair and archaic property tax system by replacing it with a sales tax. Great idea. Unfortunately, the special interests in Tallahassee prevailed and Rubio’s idea went nowhere.
But I don’t agree with Rubio on every issue. I think he’s wrong on Cuba with his embracing of the decades-old and ineffective embargo as though Castro is somehow worse than any other third-world dictator we deal with. Embracing the embargo is about pandering, not good policy. I disagree with him on gambling because I think people should be allowed to spend their money as they see fit; you can’t legislate morality – you can only spend a lot of money trying. And I’m not sure where he stands on rail as he’s been unclear. But on the whole, I like Rubio and his positions on most issues.
Then I watched an interview Rubio did with Keith Cate of News Channel 8 in Tampa and I became disappointed in him. In the interview Cate asks Rubio if he would have accepted Obama’s federal stimulus money. Rubio responded by saying: “Ultimately I would have accepted those portions of the money that would not have put Florida in a worse position off in the future than it is right now.”
This sounded like double-talk, but double-talk or not, what immediately came to my mind is this: we ARE in a worse position. Specifically, thanks to that bill, our kids and grand-kids will be stuck with another nearly $1 trillion dollars in debt. This is in addition to the $13 trillion in debt which is projected to be $20 trillion by the end of Obama’s first (and hopefully last) term.
While I’m not opposed to all forms of government spending (there are things only government can do well such as building roads and providing for our national defense), I oppose deficit spending that our children will have to repay. Deficit spending as fiscal policy serves only one purpose: getting the geniuses in Washington re-elected. They print money, give you prizes, and don’t mention who gets stuck with the bill. What’s going on in D.C. is akin to going into a fancy steak restaurant, ordering a big filet, enjoying it, and then walking out without paying, but instead expecting the next patron to sit at the table to pay the bill. The difference is, in the restaurant the next guy wouldn’t pay the bill. Our kids won’t have a choice but to pay it — even though they never got the steak. Or the sizzle for that matter…
We have a vacuum in leadership in this country because we have politicians who speak out of both sides of their mouths, refuse to tell the truth, and are more concerned with their own egos and re-election than they are with our future. These same scoundrels think taking money from you, washing it in Washington and turning it into a government program they then send back to you as though it were some sort of Christmas present is a good idea. Well, actually for them it is because they get re-elected.
When voters finally wake up and reject the type of double-talk and pandering that Charlie Crist and virtually every member of Congress engages in we’ll be in a better place. But until we stop punishing those few elected officials who tell the truth and give us what we need as opposed to what we want, America will continue its downward spriral.
I thought Marco Rubio was going to be that kind of unique politician who would give us what we need.
And guess what? He is. I called him to ask him what he meant by his comment. He stood by it. And he explained what you can’t get out of a two-minute news story. Rubio asserted that he has said all along that he would have accepted non-recurring stimulus dollars (shame on me for not realizing this before). By “non-recurring” he means items that were one-time projects (like building roads) as opposed to funding budget operations (like salaries and government services).
Rubio also pointed out that had he been in Congress, he would have fought for alternatives to the stimulus which Charlie Crist (as governor) fought hard to pass as Obama looked on smiling (remember Fort Myers?). Charlie admittedly advocated and took stimulus dollars because it meant he didn’t have to raise taxes and you don’t have to pay them — but your kids will.
Okay. Fair enough. I disagree with both of them. But fair enough. But in my view, to accept dollars just because they are there is faulty economics. And the reality is, the dollars aren’t there. The federal government just printed money and promised our children will pay it back.
So where does this new realization I have about Rubio leave me and other concerned Florida Republicans? Nothing has changed really. It leaves us with the choice of a shameless, liberal, and leadershipless chameleon in Charlie Crist, and someone who while conservative in principle, isn’t quite the deficit hawk we’d like him to be.
In short, if the election for the U.S. Senate were held today I’d still vote for Marco Rubio, but I have to admit I’m disapointed that he has not taken a tougher stance on fighting big-government spending and more importantly addressing the staggering national debt. I can’t point out enough how much lower the standard of living our children and grand-children will face when all the bills come due. At some point taxes will have to be raised or we’ll default on our debt leading to financial instability from coast to coast. Politicans of virtually every stripe certainly understand this, they just choose not to talk straight about it because voters don’t want to hear about the bills being due.
While Marco isn’t perfect, one thing is clear: he’s a hellava’ lot more conservative than Charlie Crist. He believes in something. He actually has fresh ideas. And he’s willing to engage in a substantive debate about the issues and his positions. Oh yeah, and there aren’t any pictures of him hugging on Obama. That’s more than you can say about Chuckles…
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of www.IrreverentView.com. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at: Chris@411Communications.com.