As much as I dislike all the leading candidates for President of these United States, there’s no one on the Republican side who disgusts me more than Marco Rubio.
As concerning and hateful as so much of Trump’s commentary is, we can at least be sure he speaks from his own twisted mind. This is precisely why he appeals to so many people in this day and age of completely captured politicians. People like the fact that every word out of his mouth hasn’t been carefully placed there by some billionaire patron.
On the exact opposite end of that spectrum we find Marco Rubio. A man so incapable of free-thought, he becomes the ideal target for billionaires looking to craft the perfect puppet. Forget Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio is now the establishment GOP’s pick, and they will do everything in their power to get him the nomination.
There are three billionaire oligarchs in particular who seem to really love Rubio. They are Sheldon Adelson, Paul Singer and Ken Griffin. Let’s look at the evidence so far.
Although Adelson hasn’t officially endorsed Rubio, it’s likely just a matter of time. See the following excerpt from yesterday’s Miami Herald:
As GOP presidential candidates take the debate stage Tuesday at an extravagant Las Vegas hotel, they will once again compete for voters in an increasingly unpredictable race. But they are also vying for the attention of the man who owns the building — and no candidate has worked harder than Florida’s Marco Rubio.
The U.S. senator has avidly courted casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, sitting down with him privately numerous times, including a dinner in Washington weeks before launching his campaign in April, and checking in regularly by phone to talk about Israel and the campaign.
All told, Adelson and his Israeli-born wife spent $93 million that cycle , the No. 1 individual donors, by far.
This time, Adelson, whose worth is valued at somewhere between $20 billion and $30 billion, reportedly wants to throw his weight behind a more electable candidate and he’s prepared to spend even more. “I don’t cry when I lose,” he told the Wall Street Journal in 2012. “There’s always a new hand coming up.”
Rubio has benefited from an outside group that has run TV ads featuring his hawkish foreign policy views, including a vow to tear up the Iran nuclear deal, which Adelson loathes. Rubio is also backing legislation Adelson is pushing to crush an expansion of online gambling, which threatens his global casino empire.
Much of Rubio’s supposed favor has been conveyed by people who are close to Adelson, not Adelson himself, who rarely talks to the media.
Adelson is a critic of unions but moderate on social issues and supports stem-cell research and immigration reform.
Adelson does have business interests, and earlier this year Rubio attracted attention when he signed onto a bill that Adelson is trying to get through Congress that aims to curtail online gambling in states, a threat to his casino empire.
Though Rubio has talked about states’ rights and avoiding picking “winners and losers,” he has attributed his support for the bill to a feeling that the Internet has fewer safeguards to protect people from fraud and addiction.
“Rubio calls and says, ‘Hey, did you see this speech? Did you see my floor statement on Iran? What do you think I should do about this issue?’ ” a September New York magazine story quoted an unnamed Adelson friend as saying. “It’s impressive. Rubio is persistent.”
For more on Adelson, see:
Moving along, Rubio already has the official support of hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer. CNBC reports:
Marco Rubio got some great news on with backing from influential hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who was heavily courted by multiple GOP presidential candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
But Singer’s backing — while a huge positive for Rubio in the money race — does not come without some risks for the Florida senator. Singer is distrusted in the conservative base of the GOP both for his support of same-sex marriage and his support of Rubio’s immigration reform efforts in the Senate. According to a person close to Singer, the hedge fund billionaire gave $100,000 to support immigration reform, which the right widely regards as “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.
Singer’s backing encapsulates a major potential problem for the Rubio candidacy. The senator wants and needs the vast piles of money the GOP’s Wall Street establishment is capable of pushing his way. Nobody organizes and directs that money better than Singer.
But there’s far more to Singer’s support than ideology. From the Huffington Post:
All that is music to Singer’s ears, but Rubio’s “work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee” is about something else altogether: his political support for Singer’s efforts to drain more than $1.5 billion dollars from Argentina in payments on old bonds that lost most of their value after the country defaulted in 2001.
Singer’s Elliott Management bought that debt several years ago for less than $50 million, and then successfully sued in U.S. court to demand full recovery of the face amount — in the face of opposition from the Obama administration, most other bondholders, and, above all, Argentina’s government, led by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
Last year, another member of Congress got in on the act: Senator Marco Rubio. While grilling President Obama’s nominee as U.S. ambassador to Argentina, Rubio complained that Buenos Aires “doesn’t pay bondholders, doesn’t work with our security operations… These aren’t the actions of an ally.”
This May, Rubio introduced a resolution in the Senate suggesting that Kirchner conspiried to “cover up Iranian involvement in the 1994 terrorist bombing.” Rubio declared that the issues in the case “extend well beyond Argentina and involve the international community, and more importantly, U.S. national security.”
As Eli Clifton noted, “It turns out that Singer’s hedge fund, Elliott Management, was Rubio’s second largest source of campaign contributions between 2009 and 2014, providing the presidential hopeful with $122,620, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.”
Next up, we have the billionaire CEO of hedge fund Citadel, Ken Griffin, also thought to be the richest man in Illinois. He recently endorsed Rubio. From CNBC:
Ken Griffin, the billionaire hedge-fund manager who has become a major Republican Party donor in recent years, is throwing his support behind Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for president.
“I’m really excited to be supporting Marco Rubio,” Griffin, who is the founder and chief executive of the Chicago firm Citadel, said in an exclusive interview with CNBC. “He will be the next president of the United States.”
With a net worth estimated by Forbes to be $7 billion, Griffin is thought to be the richest person in Illinois, so depending on the level of financial support he provides, he could be crucial to a Rubio candidacy. In 2014, for instance, Griffin helped secure a gubernatorial victory for private-equity executive Bruce Rauner in Illinois by contributing $5.5 million and reportedly offering the use of his private plane.
In the telephone interview Thursday, Griffin said he would play an active role in raising money for Rubio from his own network of associates. He also said he would contribute “several million dollars” to Rubio’s PAC starting “imminently.”
Which brings us to Rubio’s latest squirmy tactic, in which he sacrifices individual choice in favor of protecting mega corporations. From the Intercept:
Rubio, who is raising campaign cash from the telecom industry for his presidential campaign, fired off a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to allow states to block municipal broadband services.
The letter was the latest salvo in a long-running effort by the major telecom companies to outlaw municipal broadband programs that have taken off in cities such as Lafayette, Louisiana, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, because they pose a threat to a business model that calls for slow, expensive internet access without competition.
In Chattanooga, for instance, city officials set up a service known as “The Gig,” a municipal broadband network that provides data transfers at one gigabit per second for less than $70 a month — a rate that is 50 times faster than the average speed American customers have available through private broadband networks.
AT&T, Cox Communications, Comcast, and other broadband providers, fearing competition, have used their influence in state government to make an end-run around local municipalities. Through surrogates like the American Legislative Exchange Council, the industry gets states to pass laws that ban municipal broadband networks, despite the obvious benefits to both the municipalities and their residents.
That’s why the FCC has become involved. The agency stepped in to prevent states from crushing municipal broadband and released a rule this year that allows local cities to make the decision on their own.
As a result, telecom companies are furiously lobbying the FCC, litigating the rule in court, and leaning on GOP lawmakers to pressure the agency to back down.
Naturally, Marco Rubio is leading the charge.
Personally, I don’t think Rubio is even capable of all that much independent thought in the first place, but even if he was, the guy will do anything for campaign money. If you tried to create the perfect puppet in a test-tube, what would likely emerge is something very close to Marco Rubio. A man who consistently talks about small government and free markets, but who will fight to protect cronyism and oligarchy whenever somebody hangs a fresh dollar bill in front of his face. And all the smartest GOP billionaires know it.