Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is one of the ringleaders of a fairly radical move: he and his allies are demanding that Democrats take away health care benefits from millions of families by defunding the Affordable Care Act. If Dems balk, Rubio wants to shut down the federal government until the far-right gets its way.
Yesterday, the Florida Republican offered his own unique spin 0on his threats.
"The president and his allies -- and even some Republicans -- will accuse us of threatening to shut down the government. In fact, it is President Obama who insists on shutting down the government unless it funds his failed ObamaCare experiment."
From time to time, the Beltway establishment and Republican Party leaders argue, sincerely and with a straight face, that Marco Rubio is a serious person. So serious, in fact, that when they talk about Rubio running for president sometime soon, they consider it inappropriate for folks like me to ask, "President of what?"
But take another look at that quote and tell me why in the world anyone should perceive the right-wing senator as a credible voice on public policy. Rubio seriously believes that if President Obama expects to provide the resources needed to implement current law, then the president is "insisting on shutting down the government." Rubio is threatening to shut down the government unless he gets his way, but he doesn't want to be blamed if he feels compelled to follow through on this own threats.
If a child made this argument, it'd be laughable. When an ambitious U.S. senator makes this argument, it's just sad.
Also note, Rubio didn't just get tripped up during an interview, clumsily saying something he didn't really mean -- this quote was in a written piece Rubio published on Fox News' website. He had time to think of exactly the point he wanted to make, and this is what he came up with.
As for the law being a "failed experiment," the Affordable Care Act hasn't been fully implemented yet, so it's tough for something to fail if it hasn't been tried, though the parts that have been implemented are working quite well so far. (U.S. senators should probably be aware of this by now.)
That said, this same experiment has been tried before -- Mitt Romney gave it a try in Massachusetts and it works just fine.
Rubio added that it's time to "replace" the reform law "with market-based reforms that will give people more health insurance choices and options."
If the unaccomplished senator wants to prepare a reform plan of his own, and explain how these "market-based reforms" would work, he's welcome to present his alternative and subject it to public scrutiny. But until then, it's awfully difficult to see Rubio as someone who knows what he's talking about.