Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is widely tipped as a likely Republican Vice Presidential nominee no matter who wins the GOP primaries. But if the party’s new golden boy is indeed going to leap to the front of national politics then he’d better get used to things like the following.
The liberal-leaning political fact-check group Media Matters is slamming Rubio for his speech at the Reagan Library on Wednesday. As reported here, in that speech Rubio denounced entitlement programs such as Medicare for having “weakened” the American people. Instead, he harkened back to the days when “our communities, our families, and our homes, and our churches and our synagogues” took care of people.
Media Matters’ sidearm, PoliticalCorrection.org, points out that Rubio wasn’t singing this tune just a few months ago.
Back in May he had the following to say on the subject of Medicare:
“My parents immigrated to the United States in the late 1950s. They worked hard for over 40 years to provide their children the chance to do all the things they themselves could not. But they never made much money.
As a result, they retired with precious little in savings. Medicare was and is the only way they could access healthcare.
When my father got sick, Medicare paid for his numerous hospital stays. And as he reached the end of life, Medicare allowed him to die with dignity by paying for his hospice care. […]
America needs Medicare. We need it to continue without any benefit reductions for those like my mother currently in the system. And we need it to survive for my generation and my children’s generation.”
Rubio delivered these lines in a video supporting the House Budget Bill of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), which was under intense fire for its entitlement-slashing proposals. So, the hypocrisy factor is perhaps less potent than it initially appears. What is noteworthy, however, is just how far to the right Rubio’s rhetoric has moved. When defending the Ryan Plan, he claimed he was doing so on the grounds that it would save Medicare from bankruptcy. But this week, he’s harkening back to an era before the sort of social welfare programs like Medicare were woven in to the national fabric. If the VP hopeful has his finger in the air to test the winds of the conservative movement, then it would seem to be a hurricane-like gale blowing to the right.