The latest line of attack against Sen. Marco Rubio in his pursuit for the presidency is a familiar one to followers of presidential politics. Like many senators who seek the nation’s highest office, Rubio has been forced to miss Senate votes during his time on the campaign trail.
While Rubio hasn’t missed substantially more votes than other senators who have sought the presidency, his opponents have wasted no time in pouncing on the issue as a means to attack the man that betting markets have as the odds–on favorite to win his party’s nomination.
The assault was given prime–time coverage after last week’s Republican presidential debate. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, sagging in the polls and facing unrest among his unsatisfied donors, took the line and went on the attack against Rubio.
“Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six–year term, and you should be showing up to work. Literally, the Senate, what it is like a French work week? You get like three days when you have to show up?” Bush said on Wednesday night.
Rubio fired back by pointing that Bush never criticized Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee for president, for missing votes.
Indeed, missing votes during presidential campaigns is a common occurrence, with then-senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama missing a substantial number of votes during their presidential campaigns in 2008. And not included in tallies of missing votes are the importance of such votes.
For example, raw numbers don’t tell us whether a senator missed an insignificant procedural vote or a vote over a key budget bill.
It seems that the attacks on Rubio’s missed votes have yet to pay dividends, with Rubio riding a wave of support that has seen him rise in the polls and pick up key donors. At the end of the day it’s this surge of support that has shaken the Bush campaign and inspired this recent string of attacks.
Bush’s use of this line of attack, and breaking Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment not to attack a fellow Republican, is nothing more than a sign of desperation amid his sinking campaign. If Bush wishes to extinguish Rubio’s rising star, he should focus more on proving himself as a superior alternative rather than resorting to sparking a nasty intra–party fight