Neutral?

Senator Marco Rubio, (R-FL,) may have given a clue to his true attachments.  Rubio ripped Newt Gingrich over an ad being aired on Spanish-language in Florida that accuses Romney of being anti-immigrant.  Said Rubio: “This kind of language is more than just unfortunate. It’s inaccurate, inflammatory, and doesn’t belong in this campaign,” according to the Miami Herald.  Rubio has behaved as though he’s been on Team Romney all along, since Romney endorsed him in 2010, and he also doesn’t mention that it had been one of his top staffers who was behind the scenes pushing Florida to move its primaries forward, thus driving Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina to move their contests forward.  The Rubio camp denied it, but it was assumed moving the early states up would give Romney an opportunity to wrap up the nomination race early.

It’s not surprising to see Rubio pick sides in a fight like this, since in truth, he chose sides long ago, but to see him continue to fly under the radar with his leanings toward Romney, it’s pathetic to see this otherwise promising young Senator, himself the son of immigrants, make of himself a shill for the most liberal Republican remaining in the race.  I think he should openly endorse Romney to unmask himself fully, but since he depends upon Tea Party support, you shouldn’t assume Rubio would be forthcoming.  According to the Miami Herald:

“Rubio plans to stay neutral in the race. He’s a potential running mate whom both candidates would love to have on the ballot. And he’s gaining iconic status among many national Republicans who see him as a face of the future in a nation that’s growing more Latino.”

I don’t see how Rubio can claim to remain neutral.   I don’t remember hearing from him when Romney was spending millions on ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina(never mind Florida,) that had been fraught with inaccuracies and downright untruths.  Where was “Senator Neutral” then?  He’s out there attacking Gingrich, and defending Romney, as in this Tampa Bay Times story:

“Mitt Romney is no Charlie Crist. Romney is a conservative. and he was one of the first national Republican leaders to endorse me. He came to Florida, campaigned hard for me, and made a real difference in my race.”

This statement by Rubio makes me question his integrity.  To pretend that Romney is a conservative is simply dishonest, and one would ordinarily assume the Florida Senator would know better, but at least he did mention here the obvious reason for his bias, despite the ludicrous claims to “neutrality.”  Rubio has also denied he is angling for the bottom of a Romney ticket, but it’s clear that at least with respect to the 2010 endorsement by Romney, for his Senate campaign, Rubio is on the hook for 2012.  I wonder how much “help” Rubio might have gotten, but I do note that according to OpenSecrets.org,  among both Romney’s and Rubio’s top 25 contributors, there’s some interesting overlap, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase. Now of course, this doesn’t prove any conclusive connections, but it clearly shows there is a some funding similarities, although it’s true to say that these same contributors show high up on the list of many politicians’ contributors, and in both parties.

Don’t misunderstand my criticism of Rubio. I’m not suggesting he has some obligation not to take sides, but he’s taking sides to a degree that challenges his alleged “neutrality.”  While he may not endorse for the Florida primary, he ought to simply say which direction he’s leaning in some form.  Otherwise, it looks like he’s being a stealth advocate for Romney, but doing a rather poor job of being stealthy.  His reason for supporting Romney is likely no more than Romney’s endorsement of his candidacy in 2010, but then say it.  I think it’s important that particularly in his home state’s primary, he should play straight with voters who are interested to know his opinion, or at least how he will vote when the time comes.

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