by Javier Manjarres
Florida Senator Marco Rubio held a meet-n-greet with constituents along with a brief Q&A session for the assembled media at his Miami Senate office last Friday. Senator Rubio indicated that he was “losing patience” with the Obama Administration because it has not submitted the Colombian & Panama free trade agreement to Congress, finding it “inexplicable why those agreements have not been submitted for approval by the U.S. Congress.”
I had the opportunity to ask Senator Rubio’s opinion as to what similarities exist between the policies of President Obama and those of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Rubio was somewhat taken aback by the question, questioning whether parallels between the two leaders even existed. His answer to the question is on the video below, but it leads to a larger question- does Rubio, or the political class for that matter, truly grasp the extent of Obama’s lawlessness and the expansion of his executive power- both of which are in direct contradiction to the national interest and only intended to further his political aims?
President Hugo Chavez has nationalized many of Venezuela’s industries- Oil, Banking, Cement, Telecommunications, and Public Utilities, just to name a few. President Obama has effectively nationalized industries in a more gradual and less abrasive way, as he has imposed ‘government-run’ healthcare (Obamacare), and assumed student loan industry, the home mortgage industry, and General Motors. Another similarity between the two is their co-opting of their national media. While Chavez has tightened his control over the Venezuelan media by seizing or forcing independent media outlets off the air, President Obama has effectively colluded with the mainstream media to enhance his image. This has been the case with NBC, as it has been a recipient of TARP and so called “Stimulus” funds, and if any doubt remained, Obama’s appointment of GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt to the Council of Economic Advisers should have removed any doubt as to whether Obama was fully in bed with friendly media. And of course, both Chavez and Obama are strong proponents of wealth redistribution- hello, Joe the Plumber? Clearly, there are parallels between the two- both have shown enormous disdain for checks on their respective powers, and they both have actively attempted to bypass those checks while greatly expanding the scope of their authority.
During President Obama’s recent trip through Latin America, two major issues came to the forefront which have largely escaped criticism from elected Republicans, including Rubio. First, Obama informed the Brazilian government that the United States will help develop its offshore drilling resources so we can one day import its oil as we simultaneously scuttle our own domestic drilling industry:
“We want to work with you (Brazil). We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers.” – President Obama
On his stopover in El Salvador, President Obama blatantly played the race card by claiming that the Republican Party is deliberately targeting “anti-illegal immigration sentiment”:
Perhaps some of my Republican friends are gonna start recognizing, if they looked at the last census, that they are gonna have a very hard time winning any elections if they continue to deliberately target anti-immigration sentiment. – President Barack Obama
Most of the criticism on these two Presidential statements has come from the conservative blogosphere, not from Republican elected officials. Rubio is missing out on some golden opportunities to take the lead on these pressing issues that directly involve Latin America or Latinos in general- we’ve heard very little from Republicans either about Petrobras or this blatant slur of Republicans made to an international audience on Univision. While Rubio has recently refrained from using the terms ‘Socialist or Socialism’ in the context of the President, he did offer the following statement at the 2008 RNC convention in St. Paul:
“Marx would be pleased (by Obama’s tax proposals). I love what Barack Obama’s candidacy says about America. I just fear what his candidcacy would do to America. To leave our children with a centrally planned socialist economy is not a better plan.” Marco Rubio
Rubio needs to be taking a much more prominent role on these issues where American and Latin American interests intersect- and not just on trade agreements. While Rubio’s work on fiscal matters has been admirable, there are other pressing issues out there besides the budget and the debt ceiling that require Republican leadership- our support of Petrobras and Obama’s offensive characterization of Republicans are two that are calling for Rubio to step up and lead on- now.