Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio is compiling a dreadful Senate attendance record. When he cast a Senate vote last week, it was his first in 26 days. When he gave a floor speech, it was his first in 41.
Naturally, Rubio has come under attack for this record by some of his GOP presidential rivals, including Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. Rubio responds that he’s fed up with the Senate to the point that he wants little to do with it. “That’s why I’m missing votes, because I’m leaving the Senate; I am not running for reelection,” he says.
This excuse is pathetic. I hope we haven’t reached the point that it’s acceptable to stop doing one’s job because one is frustrated and plans to leave it.
From a political standpoint, Rubio’s explanation may suffice in the primary season. Mad-as-hell conservatives share Rubio’s disgust with Washington and may see him as less of an insider if he blows off his Senate duties. Establishment types may roll their eyes at Rubio’s explanation, but probably will continue to see him as probably their best hopes of stopping Donald Trump.
But if Rubio wins the nomination, Democrats will have a field day attacking him over his attendance record. They will point out that the people of Florida sent him to the Senate to do the work of a Senator. This work includes showing up and voting, whether things are going your way or not. They will suggest that to do otherwise is to behave like a spoiled brat.
They will be right.
The real reason for Rubio’s absenteeism is, I assume, his preoccupation with running for president. But Ted Cruz is running just as hard, and deplores Washington at as least as much as Rubio does. Yet, you don’t hear that his attendance record is poor.
By failing to show up in the Senate, Rubio is handing the Democrats a club with which to assault him. He should clean this up. He should do his job.