Marco Rubio: Just More of the Same

As we discussed earlier this week, the GOP is in the process of trying to rebrand itself without actually changing any of its policies. Due to his starring role in the immigration debate, youth, Hispanic background, and obvious interest in higher office, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is often touted as the future of the GOP. This week’s TIME magazine cover even bills Rubio as “the Republican savior.”

A closer look at Rubio’s record and views, however, reveals that aside from immigration, Rubio rarely departs from GOP orthodoxy on any major issue. In fact, his record is really more of the same extreme conservatism we’ve unfortunately come to know well in recent. ThinkProgress’ Igor Volsky rounds up eight reasons why Marco Rubio is not, in fact, the GOP’s savior but is rather just more of the same:

1. Refused to raise the debt ceiling. Rubio voted against the GOP’s compromise measure to temporarily suspend the debt limit through May 19 in order avoid defaulting on the national debt. In a statement posted on his website, Rubio insisted that he would hold the debt ceiling increase hostage “unless it is tied with measures to actually solve our debt problem through spending reforms.”

2. Co-sponsored and voted for a Balanced Budget Amendment. “Now more than ever, we need a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Rubio proclaimed in 2011. A Balanced Budget Amendment would force the government to slash spending during an economic downturn, driving up unemployment and making the downturn worse, in a vicious cycle. If the amendment were in place during the last financial crisis, unemployment would have doubled.

3. Signed the Norquist pledge. Rubio pledged to never raise taxes under any circumstances and even voted against the last-minute deal to avert the fiscal cliff, since the deal included $600 billion in revenue. “Thousands of small businesses, not just the wealthy, will now be forced to decide how they’ll pay this new tax,” Rubio noted in a statement.

4. Backed Florida’s voter purge. Rubio defended Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) attempted purge Democratic voters from the rolls, brushing off its disproportionate targeting of Latino voters. He also defended Florida’s decision to shorten its early voting period from two weeks to eight days by pointing to “the cost-benefit analysis.” After Election Day, several prominent Florida Republicans admitted that the election law changes were geared toward suppressing minority and Democratic votes and researchers found that long voting lines drove away at least 201,000 Florida voters.

5. Doesn’t believe in climate change. During a recent BuzzFeed interview, Rubio claimed has “seen reasonable debate” over whether humans are causing climate change. Scientists have long agreed that the debate is now over.

6. Opposed federal action to help prevent violence against women. Rubio voted against the motion to proceed to debate the Violence Against Women Act, noting that he disagrees with portions of the bill. Rubio claims he supports a scaled-back version of the legislation.

7. Believes employers should be able to deny birth control to their employees.Rubio co-sponsored a bill — along with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) — that sought to nullify Obamacare’s requirement that employers provide contraception to their employees without additional co-pays by permitting businesses to voluntarily opt out of offering birth control.

8. Recorded robo calls for anti-gay hate group. Rubio has previously boasted the endorsement of anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council and during the election recorded robocalls for the National Organization of Marriage urging Americans to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians. He recently wouldn’t take a position on legislation that would prohibit employers from firing employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identify and wouldn’t say “whether same-sex couples should receive protections under immigration law.”

BOTTOM LINE: From LGBT rights to women’s rights to the rejection of basic science, Marco Rubio holds a variety of extreme views — the same extreme views that were soundly defeated at the ballot box last November. If Rubio is the GOP’s future, that future is going to look very much like the past.

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Advocacy Team