Rubio: the GOP's "Marco Polo"?

For the pool-deprived, the reference to “Marco Polo” is probably rather cryptic. Indeed, I have to confess that I had to look it up because years of sitting watch at the side of the public swimming pool, trying to keep track of three familiar heads, never clued me in to the meaning of the din of “Marco Polo” reverberating across the waters unceasingly.

Today I discovered it’s actually a game, like tag–in the water.

Wikipedia explains:

The game Marco Polo is a form of tag played in a swimming pool.

One player is chosen as “It”. This player closes their eyes and tries to find and tag the other players without the use of vision. The player who is “It” shouts out “Marco” and the other players must respond by shouting “Polo”, which “It” uses to try to acoustically locate them. If a player is tagged then that player becomes “It”.

Now, even without knowing about the self-blinding, I’ve thought that Marco Rubio’s popularity may well be somewhat related to the familiarity of his name. North Americans, or Americanos del Norte, are big on names. And Mark is a good name. That’s why Samuel Clemens chose it for himself as an author’s moniker. Indeed, our own Markos may well have had an inch up the ladder of success that he might not have enjoyed were he named Marion.

Anyway, can’t you just picture Marco calling attention to himself in the middle of a pool? Perhaps his fellows might even be moved to respond “Rubio” and remind themselves of those magical slippers in the land of Oz.

Marco Rubio is a grandstander. Or, perhaps the GOP thinks of him as a challenger in the arena, like King George going up against the dragon. Whatever the intent, giving a response to the President’s State of the Union Speech is an effort to be gilded by the association. Indeed, that’s what much of the GOP agitation seems to be about, stealing just a bit of the sparkle and glitter that surrounds the head of state.

Marco Rubio speechifying about the state of the union is a farce. Billing it as a response is just plain stupid. If news reports are to be believed, the Spanish language version is already in the can. The English version, no doubt crafted by a crew of speechifiers, will be read and delivered live. Will Marco use a teleprompter? If he doesn’t, he won’t be able to look into the camera directly and his audience will see him turning pages (and running the risk that some might be stuck together and he’ll lose his place).

Nevertheless, the teleprompter will continue to be a sore issue, and it should be. Because the argument that President Obama uses one, too, is a half truth — designed to obfuscate the fact that the President outlines and edits his own speeches and most of the “responders” don’t.

I do want to note here that the significance of doing things out of order, like writing a response before the event one is responding to has even happened, probably doesn’t strike those, whose sense of time, sequence and order is out of order, as peculiar. After all, they have no problem with preemptive war, which attacks countries and kills civilians on the basis of a suspicion of what might happen. Giving a speech before its time is minor.

More significant, perhaps, is the ostentation– the pomp and circumstance even– with which the “response” by Rubio is being orchestrated. The other day, I wrote up a little post entitled, “Ostentatious Crooks,” in response to my realization that some of our assumptions about how malefactors comport themselves may be in error. That is, we expect crooks to be stealthy and, perhaps because that’s what we expect, we presume that flamboyance is just for show and not to be taken seriously. So, for example, we were amused by the non-witch from Delaware during the 2010 congressional election cycle and we scoffed at Sharron Angle, even as the GOP turned out 175 thousand in the Nevada primary, while Democrats had a weak showing of 116 thousand. Perhaps the jobs Angle promised registered as an illusion and so didn’t sway the electorate; perhaps not. That the other three Democrats in the primary were dismissed as “political unknowns,” should tell us name-recognition is a potential problem. And the GOP knows what to do about it.

On the other hand, as we consider that scoffing at ridiculous candidates is perhaps not the best strategy, we might also give serious consideration to what the cons are about with their grandiose plan to “drown government in the bath-tub.” They’re obviously not directing their animus at the specimens they are sending to Washington. So, what is it they’re targeting for a rub out? If it’s scofflaws they’re sending, it must be the law they’re after eliminating or, at a minimum, suborning. Right there in full view of everyone.

See, that’s what I mean about “ostentatious crooks.” We’ve been misled by our own preconceived notion, thinking that crooks are stealthy when, in fact, half the fun, if you’re a real bad ‘un, is in letting everyone know what you’ve done. The class clown should not be ignored and neither should grandstanding Congressmen. Grandstanding is out of order.

Indeed, grandstanding is abusive. It’s wasting time that should be going to the careful stewardship of our nation’s resources and assets. And, if our assets have been wasted, austerity and deprivation are not the right response. As it says in the parable of the unjust steward, the malefactors have to be replaced.

Luke 16:1-13

Yes, the crook gets away. But, prudence dictates that we not throw good money after bad. Besides, in this day and age, the money is worthless, as long as it’s not hoarded or sequestered or rationed by our agents.