Bush’s message to Rubio: you should be doing your job
The tension between Rubio and Bush came to head during the last debate, where Bush, for the first time, made a jab at the senator from his state. Rubio, who is Bush’s protege, boldly announced his run against his former mentor. Although the two never mentioned the topic, there was no doubt by everyone that there must be a deep seeded rivalry here, as both come from a powerful swing state, and are expecting those votes. Furthermore, Bush’s mentorship to Rubio turned out to be a little Brutus like when his protégée decided to run alongside him, especially when the senator is so young, and has a whole career ahead of him. Bush, on the other hand, successfully completed his time as governor in Florida, and has been waiting for this moment since his brother was president. It seemed to many that this was Bush’s presidency to win. Most of the political cats in Washington were talking about potential runners in the GOP primary, but wanted everyone to be realistic: it would come down to Bush and Clinton. But now, with Bush’s poll numbers hurting badly, and with three debates under his belt where he could not get his message out, he has decided to cut straight to the chase, and call out Rubio.
To put this in context, think back to the last debate on CNBC. Bush said to Rubio that he made a promise to Florida voters when they elected him to be their senator, and that was to go to Capitol Hill and represent the state’s interests in the legislative process. While there is a presidential election, it is hard for many people to remember that the House and the Senate are just as important in American politics and the person sitting in the Oval Office. A senator has immense power on Capitol Hill, and every vote counts to pass legislation, as every person counts to create bills. Legislation, or laws, are the backbone of our democracy, and as each state only gets two senators, it is a highly prestigious position to have in our government.
So, Bush pointed this out at the first debate, which quickly turned around to hurt him. But really, what Bush was saying is that as Rubio is his senator, he believes he has a job to do and is already elected for, and that is to fulfill his six year term in this position. Bush, who waited till after he had served in office before he eyed the White House, implied that it is important to fulfill your duties when elected. He then points to his record as governor in Florida to why he would be dedicated to his position as Commander in Chief.
Rubio, instead, flipped this around on Bush, stating that Bush never cared about the number of votes McCain missed while he was running for president. He continued that he believes the time is now, and is tired of the Republican establishment telling candidates to wait in line. Rubio told the crowd at the debate that he is so fired up about conservative principles and fixing the country, that he cannot wait four more years and wants to act and run now. He also told Bush that he was only saying this because someone told him to, and that it would help him get votes. Rubio then looked at the crowd and said that he does not have to revert to such below the belt tactics, because his main goal is to beat Clinton.
While Rubio has a good point, Bush also has a good point. Rubio, however, said his point with more conviction and charisma, which made everyone in the crowd overlook Bush’s bottom line. Bush was saying that if you are elected, you should hold that promise and see out that term in that elected office. It is an issue that has to do with commitment, and seeing out whatever role you chose in public office.
Instead, Bush has been seen as desperate to make a jab at Rubio. But just take a second and really think about what he said, and what example we should look to in future elections. How much does leaving an elected office really matter? Voters should think about this as they head to the polls.