I do not tend to see the world the same way as Florida Senator Marco Rubio does. But we had the pleasure of having his recently departed General Counsel Len Collins at our last Dinner at the Square program on immigration. Collins was bright, articulate, exceptionally well-informed and incredibly pleasant. I’d double dog dare anyone to even try to dislike him.
And – given the substantive impediments to any kind of immigration reform and our desperate need to do something, I’ve left our discussion about immigration with the general sense that Senator Rubio is brave to step out and lead on it. Sure, he’s a politician so he’s trying to get a win out of it in the hispanic community, but I like anyone occupying a middle ground these days (for whatever reason) and there is considerable downside risk to him in what he did, since he needs to keep winning primaries to stay senator or be president. If you doubt that, check out the National Review cover skewering him for his support of reform.
So given my recent more personal experience with the Senator’s views (and staff), when I saw the spate of headlines drawing attention to his apparent faux pas demanding a nonexistent IRS commissioner to resign (the former commissioner’s term expired in November – and he was appointed by the Bush administration), I dug a little deeper.
Turns out there is currently an acting director, who served as deputy director in the chain of command where the problem took place. Rubio’s staff says that’s who he was referring to. Now, I don’t know if this was an error on the part of the senator, his staff (more likely) or simply a poorly written statement. But making a headline of it – as so many articles did – just seems small. Are we really going to spend our civic energy being petty?
This is a perfect example of why our tribalism is growing deeper and more impenetrable by the day.
If you like Rubio, you’re likely to give him a break. If you don’t like him, you’re liable to revel in his error. And we had media that did both. (Then there’s this accumulation of ewwww. Some pieces yammered on snottily about a typo.)
Meanwhile over at Fox News, they’re spinning yarns about just how high the order to audit Tea Party organizations originated (and I’m betting you can guess how high they think). Again, they have no intention of giving a President Obama the break they’d have given a President Bush for the identical situation.
Someone’s going to have to grow up. Until that happens, please do read – and listen – with caution.