Yearly Archives: 2010
Editor’s Note: This profile of Marco Rubio was originally published at CatholicAdvocate.com on February 8, 2010.
By Deal W. Hudson
Move over Sarah Palin – the GOP has a new star on the rise! Former speaker of the Florida house, Marco Rubio, has pulled twelve points ahead of Florida Governor Charlie Crist in the GOP senatorial race.
Although the election is not until August, some political observers are speculating Crist will pull out of the race in time to get back in it as a Democrat or an Independent. Crist’s support has fallen from 53 percent in August to 37 percent as of February 1.
Rubio’s rise has been so meteoric he was pictured on the cover of New Times Magazine (1/6/10) under the headline, “The First Senator from the Tea Party?” The answer to that question, in my opinion, is “No” for several reasons. The first being the article’s implication that Rubio’s candidacy is appealing to some sort of extreme political element, when, in fact, Rubio is a fiscal and social conservative with strong appeal to moderates and independents.
Only 38 years old, Rubio, the son of a bartender and maid, is the father of four young children. When I met him for dinner a few weeks ago in DC, Rubio left the table to call home and tell his children ‘goodnight’ just before bedtime. Rubio, from the Cuban community of Miami, obviously didn’t do this for show — he often spoke in a self-effacing way about his wife, Jeanette, who reminds him to take out the garbage and “move those boxes.”
A few days ago I caught up with Rubio as he drove from Miami to Melbourne for a series of four appearances on the Friday before the Super Bowl. Football (Dolphins & Gators), by the way, is one of Rubio’s few hobbies. A former high school and college defensive back, he would play flag football on the weekends, when he had time. “I read a lot, “ Rubio says, “Right now I am reading, Peggy Noonan’s When Character Matters.”His choice of reading didn’t surprise me.
The old-fashioned virtues are important to Marco Rubio. His home, in a working class neighborhood of West Miami, is close to the home his parent’s bought in 1984 after moving back from Las Vegas. “The neighborhood is just home, close to my family, where I grew up, and where I feel comfortable.”
Cubans are known for having close ties to their families. For Rubio, being a father is the “most important” job he has. “As my kids gets older, if I get that job wrong I will regret it the rest of my life.” His children, ages 2 through 9, are two boys and two girls. His wife, Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio, a Miami Dolphins’ cheerleader in 1997, was born in Miami to Columbian parents.
Rubio doesn’t think the surge of support for his candidacy is about him personally:
“I think it’s about our message. On multiple fronts, the American people think this administration is going in the wrong direction. They want to elect people to go to Washington, stand against this agenda, and offer a clear alternative.”
The Obama administration, for Rubio, lacks a belief in what has made this country the most free and prosperous country in history, the American free enterprise system. “The White House,” he argues, “has enacted policies that hurt the environment for business. Government should help investment,” Rubio explains, “with a reasonable tax policy, predictable, without an overly burdensome regulatory system — one that ensures the public safety and welfare.”
He points out that Gov. Crist praised Obama’s stimulus package. Rubio opposed it because he doesn’t believe that government should be spending money “we don’t have,” adding, “The debt we are saddling our children with is unconscionable.”
For Rubio, Obama’s lack of awareness of how his policies are impacting individuals and families also explains the negative reaction to health care reform. “People are reacting to the notion that the state is going to be in charge of another aspect of our lives.” Everyone understands that people need broader health insurance, but they are “not prepared to turn over their liberties to get it — they don’t want to live in such a country.”
Rubio has not been shy about mentioning his Catholic faith on the campaign trail. He told me that he hasn’t met any objections: “I don’t think my views should offend anyone — you can’t force religious views on anybody, but it’s an essential part of who I am, how I view the world, how I try to live, and part of that is we are all flawed and need forgiveness.”
We talked briefly about Catholic politicians who are elected and then cave in on issues like abortion, euthanasia, and the protection of marriage. “I have a consistent record on those issues, and they are not going to change with the polls or the times. Roe is morally and constitutionally wrong and should be overturned. Marriage is between a man and woman; it is the cornerstone of society, the best way to raise children, the product of a thousand years of wisdom.”
For Rubio, his pro-life convictions are the “cornerstone” of everything else. “A society that does not respect the sanctity of life cannot make sense of anything else, and it leads to absurd and dangerous policies.” Without a belief in protecting preborn life, “the entire society is endangered, and social justice cannot be the outcome of such an unjust system.”
As the son of Cuban exiles, Rubio’s core beliefs were shaped, not just by his Catholic upbringing, but by his parents’ stories, and the stories of many in the Cuban community of Miami.
“We are not just immigrants, we are immigrants of a unique kind –- the Cuban exile community has a real passion for liberty because we know that politics matters and has consequences. This awareness runs through the veins of our community, that liberty is not something that is self-perpetuated.”
Yes, Rubio is articulate. He still has the dash and charm of a young man. But he’s a seasoned politician, having just finished eight years in the Florida legislature rising to Majority Whip, Majority Leader, and Speaker of the House.
Keep your eye on Rubio; he’s got a personality, quickness of mind, and fearlessness, not often found in politics.
By Anne Hendershott
Evangelicals and Catholics have much in common as they share the same basic view of God. Acknowledging these common bonds in 1994, Evangelical and Catholic leaders signed the document, Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT). Since that time, there have been successful ecumenical initiatives—especially in the pro-life arena. The 40-Days for Life Campaign has been a successful alliance of pro-life Evangelical Christians and Catholics to protect the unborn.
The U.S. Senate confirmed U.S. Solicitor General and political activist Elena Kagan by a vote of 63 – 37 to be the next Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kagan, at 50 years of age, will now hold a lifetime seat on the highest court in the land. Elena Kagan has not served a single day on any federal court. But, there is plenty known about her work in the Clinton White House, as President Obama’s top lawyer before the Supreme Court. Also, Kagan’s answers during her confirmation prompted our community, through Catholic Advocate Voice, to send over 3,000 letters to the U.S. Senate urging opposition to her confirmation. Even though we did not prevail, they made a difference.
By Matt Smith
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Wednesday, August 4, 2010, that California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriages in California after the state Supreme Court legalized them, is unconstitutional.
Proposition 8 passed with 52 percent of the vote in November 2008 and has been under siege ever since. The court’s ruling today will certainly green light same-sex marriages to proceed in California and other states will be forced to recognize them.
By Matt Smith
One of the largest pro-life efforts ever in Congress will begin this week. Congressman Chris Smith (R, NJ-04), Chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, will introduce the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” on Thursday, July 29, 2010.
In a letter to his colleagues asking them to become an original co-sponsor of the legislation, Congressman Smith writes:
“For over 30 years, a patchwork of policies has regulated federal funding for abortion. Together these various policies ensure that the American taxpayer is not involved in funding the destruction of innocent human life through abortion on demand.”
By Matt Smith
As a father of two, I often find myself asking my children to be quiet at times when I do not want them to speak during in opportune times. Now, in the wake of the very unpopular pro-abortion health care reform, TARP, failed stimulus, and extremely low approval ratings for the institution, Congress this week is attempting to silence our voices from being heard in this year’s elections.
H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, was introduced in April to legislatively overrule the recent Citizens United Supreme Court decision and narrowly passed the House of Representatives on June 24, 2010 by 219 – 206. The primary author of the legislation is Representative Chris Van Hollen (D, MD-08) who also serves as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The Citizens United ruling was a victory on behalf of those who cherish the fundamental freedoms protected by the First Amendment. The proposed legislation will not ensure free, fair, and transparent elections, but rather create a punitive measure for associations of persons who choose to exercise their right to free political speech as guaranteed by the Constitution, and affirmed by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United v. FEC case.
The bill targets corporations and conveniently exempts traditional Democrat campaign supporters, including unions. Disclaimer requirements and limits on foreign corporations and government contractors target only the political speech of corporations, with no effect on unions including foreign-influenced labor unions, public-employee unions, or government grant recipients.
One key casualty will be grassroots organizations such as Catholic Advocate and other pro-life, pro-family organizations.
In May, nine former Federal Election Commission (FEC) members, spanning thirty-five years of service co-signed a letter to the House of Representatives stating:
“Its disclosure provisions are unnecessary – duplicating information that is readily available to the public or providing information of extremely low informational value at a significant cost in terms of complexity and lack of clarity, especially for grassroots political speech.”
On July 22, 2010, Senator Chuck Schumer (D, NY) began working feverishly to have the DISCLOSE Act moved through the Senate before Congress leaves for their August recess later this week, signed by President Obama, and implemented before the November 2nd elections.
The DISCLOSE Act is an acronym for Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act, or in the words of some it should probably be called “Democratic Incumbents Seeking to Contain Losses by Outlawing Speech in Elections”.
The DISCLOSE Act is not about accountability in our elections. This Act is about silencing those who are frustrated with the direction of our country and who want to hold our elected officials accountable for their votes.
Members of the Catholic Advocate community interested in ensuring their voices are not silenced should immediately contact their Senators today.
Matt Smith is Vice President of Catholic Advocate
By Anne Hendershott
During the past decade—beginning with a PBS broadcast in 2000 entitled On Our Own Terms: Moyers on Dying, and culminating with the provisions for “end of life” counseling in the current health care legislation—assisted suicide and euthanasia have become so successfully defined down that even Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) volunteered to co-host a luncheon and fundraiser last year for Compassion and Choices of Northern California—the assisted suicide advocacy organization formerly known as the Hemlock Society.
Indeed, for Progressive Democrats like Feinstein and other liberal lawmakers, the movement for assisted suicide and euthanasia has become the new frontier for the freedom to choose. And, like abortion advocacy organizations, powerful pro-death advocacy organizations—some with annual budgets of more than a million dollars—have emerged with generous funding from leftist foundations like the Tides Foundation.
According to Wesley Smith, a Senior Fellow in Human Rights and Bioethics at the Discovery Institute and author of Culture of Death, “Compassion and Choices clearly wants to become the Planned Parenthood of assisted suicide, no doubt hoping one day to receive public funds and medical referrals for end-of-life counseling, and to facilitate assisted suicide.” (more…)
By Stephen Phelan
Just when faithful Catholics thought they’d heard the last of the troubled Patrick Kennedy, we find that he had one more curious public spectacle up his sleeve. As we have come to expect from the lame-duck congressman from Rhode Island, the occasion is one last attempt to make himself relevant to his family’s party by opposing pro-life Christians.
Kennedy is joining the chorus of supposedly “objective” Democrats who are traveling to Kenya and weighing in on the upcoming congressional referendum. Like Vice President Biden and a handful of other Democrat congressmen, Kennedy doesn’t see a problem with telling Kenyans how Washington thinks they should vote. But Kennedy has taken the rhetoric up a notch in both tone and absurdity, threatening to use the Congressional Oversight Committee (COC) to expose Western pro-life organizations that finance the opposition to the new pro-abortion constitution.
This threat is just crazy for several reasons. First, the efforts he is threatening to expose are in no way illegal. Human rights organizations on a daily basis do exactly what Kennedy apparently finds so nefarious – working with Kenyans to keep their country the way they want it – abortion-free. Along with the majority of Kenyans who are pro-life, these groups are right to be concerned by the proposed constitution, which essentially opens the door for a complete reversal of Kenya’s prohibitions against abortion. (more…)
By Matt Smith
Members of Congress are still trying to hide behind Catholic Health Association CEO Sister Carol Keehan’s pro-life declaration about the health care bill suffered another defeat on July 2, 2010.
One component buried in the health care bill is a minuscule $25 million pregnancy assistance grant program to be administered by states through arrangements between the federal Department of Health and Human Services and partners such as institutions of higher education, high schools, community organizations, and state attorneys-general offices.
HHS states the $25 million will be distributed in amounts between $500,000 and $2 million, if applicants meet certain criteria. This is throw away money considering Planned Parenthood annually receives $350 million in taxpayer funding.
The Catholic Advocate community might remember hearing about a Government Accounting Office (GAO) report released the Friday of Memorial Day weekend this year that proved taxpayers paid $967.1 million to groups that perform or promote abortion between 2002 and 2009.
- $967.1 million (nearly a billion dollars of your money) to support abortion according to the GAO
- $25 million to pregnancy assistance
And now for the real surprise from the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services led by Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic…
Planned Parenthood and its clever grant writers are able to compete for these federal dollars the way grant rules are written and assessed. Applicants have until August 2, 2010 to submit their proposals for funding which, among other things, must include a letter of endorsement from a “state representative.” With stringent criteria such as this, the game is fixed and only the few true pregnancy assistance centers with some form of State government endorsed partnership will be able to apply for these funds.
While Planned Parenthood has received what amounts to an abortion-entitlement program from the federal government for years, crisis pregnancy centers and other pro-family, pro-mother organizations have been succeeding for years without the handouts. Instead of needing to lobby Capitol Hill for funding, the free market and support for life have allowed them to establish a lasting formula for success.
A true pro-life champion of Congress, not one of those who compromised with their vote for the health care bill needing cover, should consider introducing legislation that extends the deadline and clarifies for HHS how the funds can be used to ensure Planned Parenthood or another pro-abortion entity cannot possibly use these funds that are meant to support women and their unborn babies.
Matt Smith is Vice President of Catholic Advocate