Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The new new Senate power nexus: Senators Warren and Rubio?

Senator Elizabeth Warren
A breath of fresh air entered the Senate last night with the election of Senator Elizabeth Warren. I expect her to join forces with rising Republican star Senator Marco Rubio to work across the big divide on problems of concern to middle class Americans and the millions of voiceless and stateless illegal immigrants.

Under Senator Reid's weak leadership, the Democratic majority in the Senate has been remarkably ineffective on many fronts. The injection of a principled liberal in the form of Senator Warren will be a welcome stiffening of the Democratic spine in that august house.

Just who is Senator Warren?

She is proud to call herself a liberal:

Elizabeth Warren won her campaign for Senate in Massachusetts by reaffirming the social contract and standing up for the "core of liberalism," she told The Huffington Post Wednesday morning.
 Warren, energized by her victory but running on precious little sleep, is rare among Democrats in her willingness to talk about economic policies in terms of core values, and to defend liberalism -- even to use the dreaded term -- rather than run from it. The message has struck a chord, not just among self-described liberals, but among independent voters who feel that the system is rigged against regular people. It has also made her a lightning rod for conservative anger, and earned her the hostility of Wall Street...

Warren, however, said she plans to continue making her case. "The Senate should be a place to talk about the issues that are important to people's lives. It's just that straightforward," she said in her first one-on-one print interview after her victory.

The heart of Warren's appeal is her insistence that politics is a contest of competing values. 

"We said this election is about whose side you're on," Warren said, summing up her campaign's message. "I think of this as an election where we stuck to our values: Make sure Social Security and Medicare benefits are protected, and millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share. To me, that's the heart of it. That's really where the basic social contract is reaffirmed. We said, 'We're gonna end subsidies for Big Oil and we're gonna make sure there's equal pay for equal work. Those were big issues here. Or, at least, I talked about them all the time."

And she does not fudge her views about what happened to the middle class in America:

Warren received a primetime speaking slot at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, immediately before Bill Clinton on the evening of September 5, 2012. Warren positioned herself as a champion of a beleaguered middle class that "has been chipped, squeezed and hammered." According to Warren, "People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here's the painful part: They're right. The system is rigged." Warren said Wall Street CEOs "wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs" and that they "still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them."

A worthwhile addition to a somewhat wavering Democratic team that has to face a recalcitrant Tea Party-dominated House of Republicans.

Just who is Senator Rubio?

Rubio is an impressive speaker, and readily has faced up to the desperate Republican lemming impulse to do their level best to insult and repel the significant Hispanic Americans.
Senator Marco Rubio

A Catholic, he has been accused of fudging his parents' reasons and timing for their escape from Cuba. He is also a newcomer to the Senate:

Marco Antonio Rubio (born May 28, 1971) is the junior United States Senator from Florida, serving since January 2011. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives (2007–2009)...
Although not a Tea Party candidate, Rubio has been called the "crown prince" of the Tea Party movement, primarily by the media. The term has been used to both praise and ridicule Rubio. He had been mentioned as a potential choice for the Republican vice presidential nomination in 2012 but said he was not interested. In June 2012, it was reported that Mitt Romney was vetting Rubio as a possible running mate; however, Romney ultimately selected Paul Ryan...

Rubio married Jeanette Dousdebes, a former bank teller and Miami Dolphins cheerleader, in 1997. She is of Colombian descent, and together they have four children named Amanda, Daniella, Anthony, and Dominic. Rubio and his family live in West Miami, Florida. Rubio attends Catholic Mass as well as a Southern Baptist church in West Kendall, Florida. Rubio described his theology in 2012 stating, "I'm a Roman Catholic. I'm theologically in line with the Roman Catholic Church. I believe in the authority of the church, but I also have tremendous respect for my brothers and sisters in other Christian faiths. I recognize, as the Catholic Church does, that there are excellent teachings of the Word throughout other denominations."...

Senator Rubio will be a major force in the realignment of the Republican Party's policies on Hispanics:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, an early frontrunner in GOP 2016 presidential chatter, congratulated President Barack Obama on his re-election and said he plans to work on “upward mobility policies” and on communicating the conservative message to minority voters who overwhelmingly backed Obama.

“The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them,” said Rubio, the Hispanic Senator who is probably the GOP’s most prominent minority voice.

Should Jebb Bush decide to run for president in 2016, I would not be surprised to see Senator Rubio take a run at governorship of Florida, and then later at the White House. He could prove a formidable opponent.

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