Florida’s Republican political establishment is none too happy with the upstart Sen. Marco Rubio and his presumptuous attempt to rob his state’s former governor of the presidential nomination that is his due.
The Tampa Bay Times political reporter Adam Smith published an interesting post on Friday featuring the results of an informal survey of over “130 savvy Florida political players,” and he found that the vast majority believe Jeb Bush is much better positioned to defeat Hillary Clinton in Florida than Rubio.
“More than 78 percent of our Florida Insiders said Bush would be the stronger candidate against Clinton in Florida,” Smith wrote. But even this post’s author acknowledges that these unscientific results should be taken with a grain of salt because “our survey sample loaded with people who have previously worked for Gov. Bush or are currently actively supporting him.”
What’s more, there seems to be a fair bit of consternation toward Rubio for being a Washington D.C.-based U.S. Senator. “Since his 2010 win, (Rubio) seems to have largely ignored his Florida base and continued campaigning nationwide utilizing the same plan and speeches he has employed since 2009 – now with the addition a foreign policy component,” one unnamed Florida politico told Smith.
But the most common thread in this post is that many of these admittedly pro-Bush political professionals believe that Rubio’s decision to run for the presidency marks a betrayal of Shakespearian proportions.
“Most FL Republican heavyweights are supporting Jeb and see Marco running against him as an act of disloyalty towards his mentor,” said an unnamed Florida-based Republican. “It will complicate possible future aspirations in FL, should he not win.”
That sounds like a particularly Clintonian threat. How is this reaction any different from former White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Priorities USA PAC chairman Jim Messina’s attempt to justify Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid by simply insisting that “it’s her turn and her time?” The strong suggestion from these Sunshine State politicos is that Rubio should have waited his turn in line, and there will be consequences for his insolence.
That presumption alone is reason enough to back Rubio over Jeb.
But offending the pro-Bush constituency in Florida is not the only heterodoxy in which Rubio has recently engaged. “Marco Rubio is about to shake up the Republican presidential primary by running on a tax plan that tosses out decades of GOP allegiance to the idea of simply slashing rates across the board and expecting faster economic growth to follow,” Politico reported on Friday.
Rubio’s populist approach to tax reform, is from a political perspective, an effort to defuse the Democratic Party’s attack on Republicans as being unduly favorable toward the rich at the expense of the general public. Despite Hillary Clinton’s ties to the financial sector, she has repeatedly signaled that she plans to use this line of attack to both secure her left flank and cudgel the eventual Republican nominee during the general election.
Republicans aren’t especially thrilled with Rubio’s attempt at triangulation here either. “Some argue that it leaves the top rate far too close to the current highest bracket of 39.6 percent,” Politico‘s report read. “And they note that it would apply the 35 percent rate to individual incomes as low as $75,000, possibly exposing many middle-income earners to a significant tax hike.”
That is truly worrisome, but the middle class will likely endure an even greater tax burden under President Clinton.