Marco Rubio shows other Republicans how to respond to Black Lives MatterThere's more, and Lopez is right: What Rubio says a hell of a lot better than most of the rhetoric we hear on this subject from other Republicans. Watch the clip here:
... in a largely unnoticed appearance on Fox News's The Kelly File in August -- resurfaced by Peter Beinart and Jamelle Bouie on Wednesday -- Sen. Marco Rubio gave a surprisingly strong response to the issues raised by Black Lives Matter that showed he not only views racial disparities in the criminal justice system as a real issue, but actually understands the roots of the problem.
"This is a legitimate issue," Rubio said. "It is a fact that in the African-American community around this country there has been, for a number of years now, a growing resentment toward the way law enforcement and the criminal justice system interacts with the community. It is particularly endemic among young African-American males -- that in some communities in this country have a much higher chance of interacting with criminal justice than higher education. We do need to face this. It is a serious problem in this country."
Rubio also gave a personal anecdote: "I have one friend in particular who's been stopped in the last 18 months eight to nine different times. Never got a ticket for being stopped -- just stopped. If that happened to me, after eight or nine times, I'd be wondering what's going on here. I'd be upset about it. So would anybody else."
But let's talk about Beinart's gloss on this. Will Rubio really win the White House if he keeps talking this way? Yes, possibly, if he manages to win the Republican nomination -- but this kind of talk hurts his chances of winning in his party.
It certainly didn't help Rand Paul. Back in August 2014, in the wake of Michael Brown's death, Paul published an op-ed in Time in which he wrote,
If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot.In The Washington Post, Chris Cillizza wrote that the op-ed "shows why [Paul] is the most interesting voice in the GOP right now." Eight months later, Paul made an appearance at historically black Bowie State University:
Senator Rand Paul laid out his vision on Friday for a legal system that makes it easier for people with criminal records to get jobs and to vote, telling students at a historically black college here that he believes there are still “two Americas” as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said almost a half century ago....How's that working out for Paul? The Real Clear Politics polling averages currently show him with 2.3% of the GOP vote. There are a lot of reasons for that, but talking this way didn't help him at all.
Mr. Paul also made a case for expunging criminal records of people who have been convicted of nonviolent felonies so they can find employment more easily, a stance that puts him at odds with many in his party.
“As Republicans we’re big on saying, ‘Well, we don’t want people permanently on welfare; we want them to transition from welfare to a job,’” he said. “People say, ‘Well, how am I supposed to get a job? I was a convicted felon.’”
“There has to be a way to figure out how we can get people back to work,” he added.
Rubio gave this interview to a guest host on Megyn Kelly's show, at a time when the politically world was mostly talking about Hillary Clinton's emails, the Donald Trump/Roger Ailes feud, and a rumor that Al Gore might enter the presidential race. Not a lot of people noticed what he said at the time, but it was picked up by the conservative message board The Right Scoop. Commenter response was not charitable:
... The Black Lives Matter movement is bigoted at the core, based on lies, and should be condemned as reprehensible by every sane prominent figure. It's not about traffic stops, which happen because cops have to flood the zone in high crime neighborhoods (or just sit back and let those regions burn which is increasingly happening). The movement claims white cops are systematically SLAUGHTERING blacks because they're black, which is completely false and a dangerous lie to tolerate. Grassroots Nazis in Germany had sincerely held grievances against Jews and others, but that didn't make their grievances "legitimate". This dysfunction has been coddled and enabled by society for way too long....So this is not likely to appeal to the GOP base, to put it mildly.
Rubio just lost any support that I have considered giving him. This is a non issue, pushed by radicals based on false premises. Black lives matter members are lunatics who do not listen to fact or reason. I thought Rubio was a lot smarter than that.
The problems in the black community can only be fixed by the black community. The only thing conservatives can really do is reach out to black churches and support them by any means necessary. Unfortunately the most organized groups within black communities are the criminal elements i.e. the gangs....
He sounded like a democrat. Black Lives Matter is right up there with the Black Panthers...they encourage and justify thugs to break the law....
MO, the problem in the black community is cultural...blame whitey on everything that goes wrong and the entitlement mentality. There's very little personal responsibility and so many babies born out of wedlock - these are future parolees. Look at the role models they have...thug rappers and sports athletes. Successful black people like Ben Carson and Condoleeza Rice are portrayed as sellouts and their race called into question. If the culture doesn't change, many blacks continue to live on the democratic plantation and go nowhere in life.
However, it's likely to appeal to the mainstream-media figures who are desperate for a safe alternative to the current Republican front-runners (and to Hillary Clinton, whom they despise). Vox's Lopez says this clip was "resurfaced" by Peter Beinart and Jamelle Bouie, but I'm skeptical -- I think Rubio's campaign fed it to the non-right-wing press in an attempt to get some good MSM coverage, and Beinart took the bait. Interesting move on the campaign's part, I guess -- but Rubio really should avoid talking like this as the GOP campaign heats up if he wants to get past the primaries.