Charlie should re-think further debates with Rubio
By Chris Ingram
After watching Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio this morning on Fox News Sunday, it was clear voters have a choice. Unfortunately the choice is between two flawed candidates. One who is a big-spending liberal when it comes to policy, the other is a big-spender with other people’s money who doesn’t seem to know right from wrong.
In a nutshell, the result of the first “debate” between Florida’s two main Republican U.S. Senate candidates was, Marco beat Crist but it was a TKO, not a knock-out punch.
Despite being more seasoned in the arena, and having participated in more debates, Crist came across as shallow and desperate. He continues to only speak in platitudes about being “for the people” – so much so I wonder when John Morgan the ubiquitous Florida trial lawyer whose ads run non-stop on television claiming to be “for the people” is going to file a lawsuit against him for trademark infringement.
Crist certainly recognizes Rubio’s greatest weakness right now is the issue of character. Our superficial governor tried to burn Rubio on the issue like UV rays in a tanning bed but mostly came up empty.
Not that Rubio’s explanations were all that believable, but it’s hard to take accusations of flawed judgment seriously from a guy who gave us Jim Greer, the Obama hug, is pals with people like Scott Rothstein, and has questionable Amex charges of his own.
Rubio for his part tried to explain away his issues with credit cards but it sounded to me like more double-talk and a continued failure to own up to his poor judgment. Marco could have eliminated this issue once and for all by looking into the camera and saying “I was wrong. I made some mistakes. I learned my lesson, and I’m sorry.” The American people are very forgiving. But you’ve got to say you’re sorry to receive forgiveness.
While I have issues with Rubio’s flawed judgment and his inability to discern right from wrong as it relates to credit cards and who pays for his family reunions, from a policy standpoint he came out with probably the most honest statement of the political season when he said unpopular changes to Social Security are necessary if we’re ever going to fix the near bankrupt retirement program. Specifically commenting about raising the retirement age Rubio said, “I think that has to be on the table. That’s got to be part of the solution — [that] the retirement age [will] gradually increase for people of my generation.”
The only part of this statement Rubio got wrong is the part about “my” generation. Changes in Social Security need to start right now. That is, with the current generation of recipients and everyone after them feeling some of the pain. Future generations’ futures already look bleak with mounting deficits, increased taxes, and fewer benefits. Current generations need to take their share of responsibility for themselves and the mess we’re in and take some cuts and make some sacrifices also.
Of course that won’t happen because most politicians lack the honesty to tell voters that benefit cuts, higher taxes, and a higher retirement age are coming. Talk about making these changes is generally considered political suicide.
So kudos to Marco Rubio for having the courage to admit what every politician in Washington knows but won’t admit. Social Security is going broke and it’s going to be painful to fix it.
Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek are no doubt salivating at the opportunity Rubio gave them to engage in senior-scare tactics by running ads saying Rubio will gut Social Security as we know it.
It’s dishonest for any politician to suggest Social Security will continue without doing a combination of tax hikes, benefit cuts, and an increase in the retirement age.
But that won’t stop them from saying it isn’t so.
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@IrreverentView.com.
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