The obvious ones would be:
- Because I can.
- Because I lack integrity.
- Because I’m as immature as I look.
I can’t make the Rubio quote making the rounds this morning an Ethics Alarms “Unethical Quote of the Month,” because it occurred, we are told by the Washington Post, on the evening of September 18 during the last Republican candidates’ debate. Why didn’t I pick up on Rubio’s statement then? I don’t know: no one else did either, based on a Google search. I guess when there are 11 GOP candidates embarrassing themselves and their party seriatim (By the way, did you know that the WordPress spellcheck program says that the word I wanted to type there is “Maserati’?), it’s easy to miss a few outrageous statements.
Anyway,here is what Sen. Rubio said, however, after being chided by Donald Trump for missing so many Senate votes:
“That’s why I’m missing votes. Because I am leaving the Senate. I am not running for reelection.”
The front page Washington Post story says that Rubio is frustrated with the unresponsiveness of the U.S. Senate to his attempted leadership:
Marco Rubio is a U.S. senator. And he just can’t stand it anymore.
“I don’t know that ‘hate’ is the right word,” Rubio said in an interview. “I’m frustrated.”
This year, as Rubio runs for president, he has cast the Senate — the very place that cemented him as a national politician — as a place he’s given up on, after less than one term. It’s too slow. Too rule-bound. So Rubio, 44, has decided not to run for his seat again. It’s the White House or bust…Rubio had arrived at one of the least ambitious moments in Senate history and saw many of his ideas fizzle. Democrats killed his debt-cutting plans. Republicans killed his immigration reform. The two parties actually came together to kill his AGREE Act, a small-bore, hands-across-the-aisle bill that Rubio had designed just to get a win on something.
Now, he’s done. “He hates it,” a longtime friend from Florida said, speaking anonymously to say what Rubio would not.
So Rubio is missing votes in the Senate because he hates his job?
That’s not exactly indicative of trustworthy character, not just for national leadership but for any position, including busboy. He ran for the job, got it, is being paid for it, and if it isn’t as much fun or as rewarding as he thought it would be, tough. Rubio still has an obligation to fulfill his duties as best he can. Who gets to goof off at work because he or she doesn’t like a job or is “frustrated”? Just Marco Rubio, it seems. Leaders have to be role-models and ethical exemplars. Rubio is modelling the “stop doing the job if you’re not good at it but still collect your paycheck” approach to the workplace. Who does he think he is?
The words “Because I am leaving the Senate. I am not running for reelection” do not ethically or logically follow from “That’s why I’m missing votes…” What words do? “I don’t understand the issues,” maybe, or “I inadvertently locked myself in the cellar,” perhaps. If he were Lincoln Chafee, it might be “My father just died and I’m disoriented.” If you won’t or can’t do your job—and voting for and against proposed laws is what Senators do—the proper course isn’t seeking an infinitely more challenging job, it’s resigning—quitting— so someone else can do it.
Rubio said that because he doesn’t want to be a Senator any more, he’ll just lay back and collect his $174,000 a year while he ignores his duties. Why should anyone elect someone like that as President?
I hope Senator Rubio has a satisfactory answer, but I can’t imagine what it would be.