Marco Rubio’s political history demonstrates that he folds faster than a lawn chair in the middle of a hurricane, which has manifested itself in the three iterations of this column I wrote in the span of a few hours. I initially set out to write a piece titled “Is Marco Rubio Going to Kill the GOP’s Tax Bill?” to serve as something of a recap as to where we stand on the GOP’s tax cut push—as one of the most high-profile members of the Senate has publicly rebuked his party. Rubio has been kicking up a storm this week, fighting to insert more middle-class tax cuts into this GOP “tax reform” bill that is really just one big giveaway to the rich.
Marco Rubio has taken the unconscionable position that children and families should also receive a tax cut if we're just going to hand them out like candy to rich folk. He is directly challenging the Republican Party's jihad of liquidating this country to spoon it into the top .01%'s mimosas, and the corporate shills are not happy. Grover Norquist, who is something like a Mullah for tax cuts for billionaires, told The Daily Beast that “It's worse than a crime, it's a blunder. This is not 'last minute,' this is after the curtain is down. So this is not some kind of clever ploy, it's too weird for words.”
Norquist came up with an amazing slogan there to describe the GOP's entire modus operandi: “not cutting taxes for billionaires is worse than crime.” Norquist famously said he wanted to shrink government down to the size where he can drown it in a bathtub, and he is surely losing his mind over Rubio intervening in his attempted murder. The problem that people like Norquist have is that they have been tricking poor and middle-class Americans in to voting for their pro-oligarch agenda, and that scam is beginning to get played out. Only 29% of Americans hold a favorable view of the Republican Party. Sixty-one percent believe that this tax plan benefits the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. Voters believe the Democrats can handle taxes better than Republicans by a margin of 47% to 39%. If you cared about democracy, you wouldn't pass this bill.
But the Republicans don't care about democracy. They are explicitly anti-democratic. They restrict the vote wherever they can, and jam through opaque legislation designed to trick us into signing away our futures to the super-rich. This con worked for several decades on an unsuspecting populace, but our millennial generation has a low tolerance for BS, and we have seen through the GOP's perpetual grift—as it is the only version of the Republican Party that we know. Any Republican representative who wants to have a national political future must reckon with this new reality, and a young, former presidential candidate like Rubio would theoretically be one of the first to take the plunge. Despite the uproar he caused within his party this week, Little Marco is still pushing back against this scam today.
However, Rubio is certainly not the first Republican to showcase his anxiety over this party's extreme unpopularity, and the way they have tried to bridge this gap in the past is by kicking up a very public storm, only to capitulate to their masters behind closed doors (also known as the John McCain “Maverick” strategy). Normally, I wouldn't cite a garbage source like Fox Business, but they have an award-winning reporter saying that Rubio is going to vote for the bill, despite not receiving confirmation that Rubio will get exactly what he wants.
Just as I went to publish what you read above (plus more paragraphs that have since been eliminated), news broke that the GOP has made more of the child tax credit refundable as a concession to Rubio and Mike Lee. However, Rubio's spokesperson, Olivia Perez-Cubas said “We have not seen bill text, and until we see if the percentage of the refundable credit is significantly higher, then our position remains the same.” I decided that this denial provided me enough cover to publish a column around the question of whether Rubio will ax the bill, inserted it as an update at the end, and just as I went to publish it yet again, this report came across my Twitter feed.
This back and forth is a perfect summary of Marco Rubio's political career. He staked out a public and aggressive position, only to begin to walk it back as soon as reality set in. Once reports hit that he got at least partially what he wanted, he tried to maintain his hardline stance, even though additional reporting soon followed, saying that this $1,400 tax cut was enough to get Rubio to vote yes on a bill that still overwhelmingly favors our global oligarchs.
The text of the bill is coming out later today, and the GOP plans to vote on it next week, which gives you an idea of how bad this bill is. They don't want anyone to see it, even after capitulating to Rubio and Lee over an amendment that anyone with the capacity to feel empathy will support—which, granted, leaves out people like Ann Coulter.
Marco Rubio has proven time and time again that when he puts on his big boy pants and challenges the Republican establishment, he will inevitably back down. Remember, this is a man who took the position that Donald Trump cannot be trusted with the nuclear codes and that he was going to vote for him. The Republican Party is filled with spineless frauds who have literally sold out children's lives in order to pay for an extra private jet for their billionaire donors, and Marco Rubio is no different than all these other empty suits posing as human beings. All this hemming and hawing by Republicans like Rubio or Mike Lee or Susan Collins over this tax bill is likely just performative—done in order to create cover for themselves to deny the fact that they sold out the vast majority of the country to our oligarchs yet again.
UPDATE: Like a lawn chair in a hurricane.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.