Thursday, February 4, 2016
Maybe Marco Rubio is just feeling his oats after a strong third-place finish in Iowa, but you really have to wonder what he gains by viciously attacking Obama's speech to an Islamic mosque in Baltimore. It wasn't like the President said anything untoward Marco personally or in anyway singled him out. Obama made a general statement about "the inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim-Americans," but mostly the speech was about making Muslim-Americans feel at home in America.
It is clear from Rubio's comments and those of other Republicans on the campaign trail that they didn't listen to the speech or even bothered to read a transcript, if they can't stand to hear's the President's voice. For anyone who did listen, it was a very good speech. Hugh Hewitt said so himself during a radio interview with Jeb Bush, not that Jeb bothered to tune in, as he made only abstract comments. Jeb was quick to point out that his brother gave a similar speech much earlier in his tenure, so there Barack!
Sadly, the GOP campaign trail has reached a level of petulance that is truly hard to comprehend. Was it really any skin off any of their noses that Obama chose to address the Muslim-American community? He offered empathy but at the same time challenged the congregation to work with police to root out radical Islamic elements in their midst. For the most part, he praised Muslim-Americans' role in society. He told how our Constitution was written to protect all religious faiths, not just the Christian faith. He noted Jefferson even being accused of being a closet Muslim, which drew laughs from the audience. It was a very well measured speech that covered a broad range of topics told in a soft spoken manner to stir as little indignation as possible.
Yet, Marco was having none of it. To him, the President continues to "divide the nation," sounding the nauseating theme that has run through the GOP campaign trail from last May, as if they are still running against Obama. It really makes you wonder what grudge Marco harbors against Obama, since he is the most vociferous in attacking the President on every single issue and every single thing he says.
Throughout the President's 40-minute speech, Obama stressed unity not division. At one point, he said an act of terror committed against anyone in this nation is committed against us all. He noted the past divisions in this country when it came to civil rights, but struck a hopeful tone in that we can overcome these differences, echoing the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Maybe Marco didn't like the President's religious references, especially when Obama noted that we are all descended from Abraham -- Christian, Jew and Muslim alike. I think a lot of Christians are under the false impression that Islam is a whole separate religion, failing to grasp that like Christianity it uses the Old Testament as its base text. Allah and God are one in the same. But, the Rubio camp refused to comment when asked if the Florida senator had seen the speech.
This doesn't explain the animosity Rubio harbors toward the President. The only thing I can think of is that it stems back to the White House attempt to broker a compromise on a Congressional Immigration Reform Bill. Rubio was part of the Gang of Eight, and he was afraid this might become the kiss of death to his political ambitions if he didn't distance himself as far as possible from the President. God forbid he got a hug like Charlie Crist, which allowed Marco to sweep the governor out of the Florida Senate race in 2010. Whatever the case, Marco needs to tone down his rhetoric, unless he ends up looking like Scarface.