HARD LINE

Egy re­mains fu­tile: scholar

Global Times US Edition - - EPTH - Page Ed­i­tor: li­[email protected]­al­times.com.cn

Ru­bio’s par­ents are both Cuban. They im­mi­grated to the US in 1956 and be­came nat­u­ral­ized Amer­i­can cit­i­zens in 1975.

Ru­bio pub­lished his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy An Amer­i­can Son: A Mem­oir in 2012, in re­sponse to Washington Post’s Manuel Roig-franzia’s bi­og­ra­phy, The Rise of Marco Ru­bio.

Franzia says in his book that Ru­bio’s par­ents ar­rived in the US be­fore Cas­tro came to power, but Ru­bio claims his par­ents ar­rived “fol­low­ing Fidel Cas­tro’s takeover on the first day of 1959.”

Since Ru­bio has never set foot in Cuba, he does not have feel­ings for the coun­try, said a Cuban news­pa­per, the Ju­ven­tud Re­belde.

Some re­ports have claimed that Ru­bio’s par­ents lived in Mi­ami and Las Ve­gas where they worked at ho­tels and res­tau­rants. Cuban im­mi­grants who came to the US be­tween the 1950s and 1960s lost their prop­erty and priv­i­leges be­cause of the rev­o­lu­tion. A bit­ter ha­tred against the Cuban gov­ern­ment and Com­mu­nism is rooted within this group.

Sta­tis­tics show that two-thirds of the Cuban im­mi­grants in Florida sup­ported sanc­tions against Cuba. In the 1990s, an im­pov­er­ished Ru­bio earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in po­lit­i­cal sci­ence and a doc­tor­ate in law from the Univer­sity of Florida with schol­ar­ships as­sisted by his rugby skills and stu­dent loans.

Ru­bio picked up his po­lit­i­cal po­si­tion from his fam­ily with his grand­fa­ther be­ing the first gen­er­a­tion of Cuban im­mi­grants. De­spite fam­ily hard­ships, his grand­fa­ther was a loyal sup­porter of Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan. Ru­bio would later find sup­port from the Tea Party, a con­ser­va­tive group.

Peo­ple who have checked Ru­bio’s pub­lic state­ments found that he rarely voiced his views on China is­sues when he served in the Florida State Coun­cil.

How­ever, since his ten­ure as sen­a­tor, Ru­bio’s pro­pos­als and re­marks against China have surged. An­a­lysts have said this has some­thing to do with both his per­sonal back­ground and the trend of US pol­i­tics in re­cent years.

Since the 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis, the US econ­omy has main­tained mod­er­ate growth over­all, but the gap be­tween rich and poor has con­tin­ued to wi­den while US hege­monic ad­van­tage in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity has de­clined.

The US elites point their fin­gers at China. Ru­bio sharply cap­tured this trend and be­came an ad­vo­cate of the “China threat the­ory.”

Ru­bio is also one of the lead­ing Con­gres­sional fig­ures who sup­port “Tai­wan independen­ce.”

One source in Tai­wan told the Global Times that Ru­bio had a reg­u­lar re­la­tion­ship with the Kuom­intang au­thor­i­ties, but be­gan to warm up to Tai­wan af­ter Tsai Ing-wen from the Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party (DPP) came to power.

Ru­bio vis­ited Tsai at her ho­tel when she trav­elled through Florida. Ru­bio also spon­sored the Tai­wan Travel Law last year.

Ru­bio and other hard-lin­ers called on the US Congress to in­vite Tsai to give a speech in Fe­bru­ary. Ru­bio’s close­ness to Tai­wan is prob­a­bly con­nected to Sen­a­tor Bob Dole, his “men­tor” who helped him with his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

In 1996, while still in school, Ru­bio worked for Dole, who was run­ning for pres­i­dent. Af­ter Dole re­tired, he was hired by Tai­wan au­thor­i­ties to head a lobby group in Washington DC.

It is be­lieved Dole helped the Tai­wan au­thor­i­ties with many ac­tiv­i­ties within US Congress, which many Con­gres­sional mem­bers, in­clud­ing Ru­bio, at­tended. US me­dia also re­vealed that the Tai­wan au­thor­i­ties spent $140,000 to get Dole on the phone with Trump.

Ques­tion­able prin­ci­ples

Shortly af­ter the 2012 pres­i­den­tial election, Ru­bio ap­peared on the cover of TIME mag­a­zine with the head­line: “The Repub­li­can Sav­ior.”

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mitt Rom­ney was seen as hav­ing lost the election be­cause of his harsh anti-im­mi­gra­tion rhetoric, while Ru­bio, a sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion im­mi­grant, could ap­peal to cen­trist vot­ers on the is­sue.

More­over, Repub­li­cans see Ru­bio as young, hand­some, mod­er­ate and elo­quent, all help­ful qual­i­ties in mod­ern Amer­i­can elec­toral pol­i­tics. More than four years ago, when Ru­bio was run­ning for the White House, he tried to present the im­age of a “mod­ern­iz­ing Repub­li­can Party” to Amer­i­cans, with “an in­clu­sive and sunny mes­sage,” com­mented Sean Sul­li­van of the Washington Post.

The re­al­ity is not so im­pres­sive. In 2012, an im­mi­gra­tion bill in­tro­duced by the Bi­par­ti­san Group led by Ru­bio failed to get passed by Congress.

To top it all off, many right-wing vot­ers and the me­dia be­rated Ru­bio for be­ing too friendly to il­le­gal im­mi­grants and for ad­vo­cat­ing amnesty for crim­i­nals who were in the US il­le­gally. Many Tea Party mem­bers an­nounced they were drop­ping their sup­port for him.

The ex­pe­ri­ence prompted Ru­bio to move to­ward the con­ser­va­tive side of im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy. Even though he is the son of Latin Amer­i­can im­mi­grants, Ru­bio is mov­ing closer to Don­ald Trump on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and is caus­ing re­sent­ment among other mi­nori­ties.

But an­a­lysts be­lieve that if Trump fails in the 2020 election, it will also dam­age Ru­bio’s chances of get­ting into the White House, as vot­ers may desert him as a po­lit­i­cal ally of Don­ald Trump. Scan to read and share story on your phone

Photo:vcg

Sen­a­tor Marco Ru­bio, a Repub­li­can from Florida and 2016 pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, speaks dur­ing a cam­paign rally at the Ro­han Re­cre­ation Cen­ter in The Vil­lages, Florida, US, on March 13, 2016.

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