Conservatives have gotten to the point where they are because they keep trying to out-crazy each other.
The latest example is how, probably in preparation for a 2016 presidential run, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has decided to go all free-capitalist libertarian against his fellow contenders.
That's all well and good for Rubio to try to go as far extreme as he can possible go to try to win the Republican nomination. Unfortunately, as usual, Rubio, like his recent Republican predecessors seeking the presidential nomination, he hasn't exactly...thought out his position fully (to say the least).
Jed Lewison, one of my favorite dailykos writers, had a diary last week about how Rubio recently told CBS News that he opposes minimum wage laws. Here's the link to Jed's diary (hint, they don't get to the minimum wage issue until about three minutes into the interview):
That may sound like just another typical Republican falsely trying to position themselves by pandering to the most extreme crackpots in their party, but, as usual, they are going about it by shooting themselves in the foot in doing so.
We're not just talking about opposing an increase in the minimum wage, like most Republicans (because, they claim, it's a "job killer”). This is dramatically different. In fact, it would be interesting to see who the last Republican presidential nominee was who said that they opposed ANY minimum wage.
Lets assume that Rubio does, in fact, win the nomination of those Grand Old Prostitutes in 2016. Just imagine the following scenario:
-At the Democratic convention, the party features speaker after speaker who work for the minimum wage. Each one of them is blunt: If they did not earn at least the minimum wage, they would have to be completely on government and other assistance.
-The Democratic nominee runs an ongoing series of ads focusing on Rubio's ongoing support for tax cuts for the rich...while wanting to eliminate the minimum wage for this country's lowest-paid workers. It features actual...arithmetic...showing exactly how much money a minimum wage worker would receive in a year. It features a single woman with a couple of children who works for the minimum wage. It calculates how much additional government assistance this person would be eligible for if she didn't receive even the current minimum wage. It shows workers in third-world countries toiling in horrible working conditions for 50 cents a day. And, perhaps, it might be appropriate to show a brief, 15 minute documentary at the Democratic national convention regarding the history about how a minimum wage came to be, including child slave labor and all.
So what? Is this a big deal? Or, more precisely, is this any bigger of a deal than any other crazy idea Republican presidential candidates and nominees have said in recent years?
To my way of thinking, the answer is, clearly, yes.
Not only poor people, but the working poor people of this country and most middle class workers in this country know that without requiring employers to pay a minimum wage, a lot of already poor folks would be even poorer.
To the best of my knowledge, there are very few people in this country who actually want to eliminate the minimum wage altogether. This matter shows how extraordinarily and extremely out of touch Rubio is with the vast majority of Americans.
It also demonstrates, once again, that when it comes to choosing whether to support, represent and govern on behalf of average, everyday working Americans or billionaires and millionaires, who control two percent of all American wealth, Rubio will always come down on the side of...billionaires.
This is not just a huge issue regarding fairness. It's a huge issue as far as credibility and trust. Up against any Democratic nominee, this clearly shows that Rubio is not on the side of working Americans, but rather that he's on the side of those who give him and his political party massive amounts of money. And because of that, this is also a campaign finance reform issue.
In short, by straying so far away from today's mainstream political opinion and stating publicly that he is against a minimum wage of any sort, Marco Rubio may have virtually eliminated himself as a future president, even though he he might have helped to get himself closer to obtaining the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
In my opinion it wasn't Rubio's atrociously horrid performance with his response to the President's 2013 State of the Union message that will be his political undoing. It will be his exremist position of opposing any sort of minimum wage in this country.
While having an argument about whether increasing the minimum wage will help or hurt people and the economy is one thing, it seems to me that a full-throated debate on the merits of having a minimum wage at all...is not a debate Republicans want to have.