What a crappy week for Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
First the "birthers" (us normal folks like to just call them "racists," but whatever, I'll stick with the lingo), wasted everyone's time noting that Rubio (and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal) are ineligible to be president because of their heritage, Cuban and Indian respectively.
Unable to prevent Barack Obama from becoming president, rigid followers of the Constitution have turned their attention to another young, charismatic politician many think could one day occupy the White House.
The birthers are focusing on U.S. Sen Marco Rubio, the budding Republican star from Florida.
“It’s nothing to do with him personally. But you can’t change the rules because you like a certain person. Then you have no rules,” said New Jersey lawyer Mario Apuzzo.
Forget about the alleged Photoshopped birth certificates; the activists are not challenging whether Rubio was born in Miami. Rather, they say Rubio is ineligible under Article 2 of the Constitution which says “no person except a natural born citizen … shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
The rub is that “natural born citizen” was never defined.
Jeez, really? A guy with a name like "Mario Apuzzo" is going to spend time beating up on a guy who should be an ally but isn't because of where his parents were born? And he's going to do this by misreading the Constitution?
I'll happily apply the same logic here that I applied to the birther idiots before: they should never have wasted so much time and energy wondering if Obama was eligible to be president, and they shouldn't do the same thing with Senator Rubio.
The guy was unquestionably born on U.S. soil in Miami. His parents were Cuban citizens at the time (the point of contention with the racists birthers). The guy is a "natural born" citizen. End of story, such as it is.
Look, I disagree with just about everything Senator Rubio stands for. His ideology and mine are diametrically opposed. But that doesn't mean I don't think he's eligible to be president. And I'm not going to waste everyone's time trying to re-interpret Constitutional passages which have been understood for generations.
As it turns out, the worst of Rubio's week was not the birthers targeting him.
It was the fact that he got caught in a lie: embellishing the history of his family and their departure from Cuba.
During his rise to political prominence, Sen. Marco Rubio frequently repeated a compelling version of his family’s history that had special resonance in South Florida. He was the “son of exiles,” he told audiences, Cuban Americans forced off their beloved island after “a thug,” Fidel Castro, took power.
But a review of documents — including naturalization papers and other official records — reveals that the Florida Republican’s account embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio’s parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than 21 / 2 years before Castro’s forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year’s Day 1959.
Hey, you can't claim to be "the son of exiles" if your parents are not actually exiles. There's a difference between fleeing political oppression in your country, and just leaving.
Look, I'd almost be inclined to side with the no-big-dealers, here. But this is a guy who has skyrocketed to prominence in the Republican Party and onto the national stage. It's a good bet he's at or near the top of every GOP presidential candidate's list for Vice President.
For better or for worse, Rubio -- and his story -- matter. If speculation around a larger political future for Rubio continues, I wouldn't expect this story to go away any time soon.
Hey, welcome to the big leagues, Marco.
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Though there have been conflicting reporters on the specifics, it seems safe to say that former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi met a gruesome and undignified death at the hands of Libyan rebels. As it was with bin Laden, I am not awash in grief at the loss of a global tyrant, and I do believe the world may be (or could be) a safer place for my daughter. Also as it was with bin Laden, reveling in the violent and dramatic end of an evil man also somehow seems out of place in the world I'd like to build for Emeline.
As Mustang Bobby pointed out, those affected by the bombing of Pan Am 103, in which Qaddafi was almost assuredly complicit, may feel differently. I certainly hope his death -- and what will be a tough transition for the people of Libya -- brings the families of victims a sort of closure.
On a more political note, I think it's time we started talking about the implications of a successful foreign policy and military practice for a president who seems to have mastered the art of not getting credit where due (and getting flack the rest of the time).
My friend Kevin had the perfect status update not long ago that I thought captured this idea pretty efficiently:
Bush and Saddam - One Trillion dollars and thousands of US lives.
Obama and Qaddafi - One Billion dollars and zero US lives.
To rid the world of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Qaddafi within six months: if Obama were a Republican, he'd be on Mount Rushmore by now.
Funny enough, that's from Andrew Sullivan, who was a Senator Rubio defender, linked in the dispatch above. And, if that's not small-world politics enough for you, it was Senator Rubio who was given the unenviable task of explaining how President Obama screwed it up in Libya (if only he'd done it all faster).
Rubio's bad week just keeps getting worse.
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The foreign policy victories continue to rack up for President Obama, who today announced that troops in Iraq will be home by the end of 2011.
Fulfilling a long-held campaign promise, President Barack Obama announced Friday that he will pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of the year, as conditioned by the Status of Forces Agreement with the country.
"As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end," Obama said. "So today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year."
Aside from another foreign policy victory for Obama, this announcement -- on the heels of the death of Qaddafi -- makes Rubio and his Republican counterparts looking inept as they complain that Obama didn't act fast enough in Libya.
Sullivan's right. Anyone else, they'd already be carving their face into Rushmore.
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Thanks to my friends at Progress Florida for another "Best of the Blogs," this time for the whole Rep. Brad Drake let's-just-shoot-prisoners deal.
I appreciate it, gang.
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Things are deteriorating in the Bachmann camp, fast.
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I strongly urge you to go read Dan Tilson's post on the Florida Democratic Party right now.
That ought to be required reading for every Democratic operative in the state.
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Very little I see on the Internet makes me laugh out loud anymore. Hard to say if the quality of stuff has just gone that far down hill, or if I'm just that curmudgeonly.
Anyway, nothing makes me laugh anymore... except this.
[CUE BETTE MIDLER'S "WIND BENEATH MY WINGS"]
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Don't forget: you can follow all this nonsense on Twitter: @bkirby816
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It's finally Friday, and Duncan is coming home.