Dear Sen. Rubio,
Well, I’m flattered. You must have read my blog about rebuttals not being memorable. You gave a memorable speech!
I have a confession to make. See after working an entire day, picking up my kid, cooking dinner, bathing my child, cleaning my house, dealing with a six-year-old melt down that probably was recorded on the Richter scale – I missed your speech. I fell asleep in my modest, two-bedroom apartment in middle America. I missed you telling me all the opportunities I have in America if I would just work harder, try harder and make it happen.
Turns out I missed much more than you stomping on my self-esteem…
I missed Watergate 2.0 (can’t take credit for this gem)
I watched the replay early this morning before work.
Senator Rubio – we’ve all been there. We’ve all let nerves get the best of us. It happened to me once when I was speaking at Kansas City’s Women’s Equality Day. Yes conservative Kansas City, there is a Women’s Equality Day event held every year. It’s sandwiched somewhere in between the “We Love Guns Day” and “We Hate Liberals” week.
Anyway, my stomach was flipping around like crazy and I was getting that hot-in-the-face feeling. The lip licking began for me as well. You know it’s all over then. I didn’t know if I was going to throw up or run for the bathroom. I made it through the speech, but I don’t remember much of it. I don’t think my audience did either. We’ve all been there Sen. Rubio.
All day I’ve been hearing people say ,”It’s refreshing to see that he’s just like us.” and “Rubio taking a drink makes him more human.”
Not so fast Sen. Rubio…
Now I may sound harsh – not about the women’s equality part, but about the you’re not off the hook part. We all agree that you are a smart politicians. However, one of the reasons we can all agree that you were picked for the rebuttal of the State of the Union was because of the “rebranding” of the Republican party. We all agree that you do not look like traditional members of the Republican party (see dictionary definition of GOP- white, older, men). You are a big fish in a small pond. If you were a Democrat you would be a small fish in a big pond. Lots of smart people are Democrats that reflect all different races, religions and sexual orientations. Not so if you are Republican. Therefore, you have a much larger chance of being picked for high-profile speeches like the rebuttal for the State of the Union. This also means you have a much larger chance of being picked for other highly visible positions like Vice Presidential nominee or even Presidential nominee as this party re-brands itself.
See your speech actually didn’t say anything new about critical issues like women in combat or gay marriage that were discussed in Obama’s speech. There was little in there about immigration – something that you brought up that is important to your family. You may have been a minority giving the GOP rebuttal, but you were just a mouthpiece providing the same tired rhetoric that the GOP usually provides. You just looked different from the usual GOP mouthpieces. Don’t increase minimum wage, don’t raise taxes, blah blah blah…
Also, it doesn’t take a genius to tell you (trust me, I’m writing this) that the government WAS NOT responsible for the housing crisis in this country. In fact, unregulated banks and mortgages were the problem for the out of control housing market in this country.
Thanks for humoring me – I was busting to make that point.
Back to my bigger point. As a politician, it is likely that most of your words are written for you. (I know America – next up Santa Clause isn’t real.) We all like to believe that our politicians come up with these brilliant words themselves. We like to believe that the speeches are crafted by your own hands, that this amazing political theater is of your own doing, but the harsh reality is that there are brilliant staffers and interns who are writing all these words, drafting all of this legislation and briefing all of you on what’s happening in your own halls. It is not too much to ask that when you do have the national stage that you don’t screw it up. It’s that simple.
To be fair, Obama stocked the room with victims of gun violence to prove his point about gun control. I think it was brilliant, but I know the GOP hated every-standing-ovation-moment of it. Ted Nugent most of all. It is political theater and both sides are equally guilty or deserve Academy Awards depending on how much you love the system.
However, if an actor on stage can’t perform his lines, the audience doesn’t applaud him, because it makes him more “human”. They boo his performance.
Very few of us will ever have the opportunity to be on a national stage. Republicans will say it’s because we didn’t work hard enough. Democrats will say it’s because we didn’t have enough opportunity. Time will tell if the nation will forget this little blip of nerves. You will probably have to endure SNL and Jon Stewart’s mocking for the next week. The GOP will continue to try to make this normal and try to humanize this response from you. I expect to see you on the late night show rounds laughing at yourself. I expect more. It isn’t that you are Republican. It is because you are a politician and I expect more from my politicians.
Politicians main role is to communicate. Leave the crappy communication to people like me who don’t have much of a platform, don’t have staff and interns and who don’t get paid by taxpayers to do it.
Thank you and good luck in your recovery from this. I don’t want to see anyone’s career ruined by a good sip of water!
Yours in quenching thirst,