Learn more about Marco Rubio
Glenn: You know, I really do believe that the secret to life is just remembering who you are, not who you've allowed yourself to become. With all the problems that we have in the world, remembering who we are, remembering where we came from, remembering what the truth is, remembering why the Pilgrim's came here in the first place and why so many fought and died, what they fought and died for, everything will solve itself. I know that sounds simple, but it is, because if you remember who you truly are, you truly are someone of honor and integrity, you may have allowed yourself to become something different, but when you remember, then you have a choice. Am I going to still be this person I've allowed myself to become or am I going to change myself and when we change ourselves, we'll change the world and the country will right itself. It is part of a -- it is part of what I think the tea party movement is all about. The 9-12 project is that. It's the values and the principles. It's people standing together going, wait a minute. This isn't who we are. What are we doing? None of this makes sense. And that's the thing that the media doesn't understand. When I was down in Florida a few months back, I heard from so many people that had gone to tea parties, 9-12 members, so many people said, you've got to talk to Marco Rubio. I don't involve myself in, you know, politics, local politics. I've met very few politicians that I actually like, but I don't remember what it was we were talking about the other day and I said to Stu, I said, do you know what? I would like to reach out to Marco Rubio, I would like to know a little something about him, because I'll tell you, there are going to be a lot of politicians that are going to try to co-op the tea party movement and -- especially Republicans and they're going to say, I've been with you the whole time. Those guys are playing a very dangerous game if they're not the real deal, because you burn people who are looking to you and they are damn near hopeless on I need a leader, I need somebody to represent me and you burn them, you lie to them? Oh, it's just not going to end well. Marco Rubio is running against Charlie Crist in Florida and he's on the phone with us many now. Hello, Marco.
Rubio: How are you?
Glenn: Good. How are you?
Rubio: Just coincidence. A lot of people told me I needed to speak to you. So, I'm glad.
Glenn: So, I don't even know where to begin with you to figure out if you're the real deal. I know a lot of people in Florida say that you are. Let me ask you the same question that I asked Sarah Palin yesterday.
Glenn: Why should I believe you?
Rubio: Well, I mean, that's probably the fundamental question you ask any candidate. Two reasons: One, because I have a political record. I mean, I served in the Florida house, was speaker of the house. My upbringing, all these things point to the fact that these principles of limited government are not something I figured out back in May, after taking a statewide poll. They're things I believed in my whole life, my whole adult life, both because of where I come from, you know, my upbringing and because of what I've learned in my time in public office. The other is because I'm running for the right reasons. You know, some -- most people that get into politics get in politics because they want to win and get elected to something. This is not the easiest race. I mean, I'm running against the incumbent governor of the State of Florida in my own party. That's not exactly the next logical step up the political ladder. You only get involved in a race like that early on when nobody gave me a chance because there's a certain set of principles you believe in strongly and you don't think anybody else in the race is standing up for them.
Glenn: What are the principles?
Rubio: I think Constitutional limited government has made America the freest, most prosperous nation in the entire history of the world and why we would abandon that and come like everybody else is just beyond me, you know, and I think that's primarily what's happening. I think both parties are to blame to some extent. I don't think we've ever seen the pace as fast and furious as it is right now, but what we've seen here in the last year is a systematic attempt to completely abandon constitutionally limited company and embrace something mere akin to what you see in other industrialized countries around the world and, in essence, an effort to make America just like everybody else and I don't want to see that.
Glenn: You know, Sarah Palin said to me yesterday that she's a Republican and -- because we have a two party system. I don't know if we have a two party system, quite frankly, anymore. We have kind of a two and a half party system -- or a one and a half party system. The Republicans are progressives and they're for big government, big spending and everything else. Tell me about the Republican party and the problem inside the party.
Rubio: Well, look. I think the vast majority of Americans, whether they call themselves or not, I mean, most people don't wake up in the morning and say, Good morning. I'm a conservative or, Good morning, I'm a limited government believer. They just wake up and have certain principles. They're too busy raising their kids and living their lives to identify that way, but the vast majority of Americans agree with limited government and I think the Republican party has been successful only in those times when it has been the home for that movement. Unfortunately what happens is once people win office and they're in office or in Washington or a State Capitol somewhere over a period of time, they start to become like everybody else who was ever been in power. They fall in love with the fundraising, with the power, they think the purpose of serving in office is to get reelected. And I think that's happened to the Republican party. You know, at this time last year there were Republicans and pundits across the country saying that the way the Republican party would become more successful is by becoming more like the Democrats.
Glenn: Well, how do you avoid that? You've been in power for awhile.
Rubio: You know, listen. It's the hardest part of being a pragmatic leader versus sticking to your principles. I think ultimately what you do is you make a commitment to yourself that there are a certain set of principles -- you know, ideas are always on the table but principles cannot be. There are a certain set of principles you believe in. It's the reason why you're serving in office ultimately. Your ultimate goal in office is not to get reelected, is not to do well in the next public opinion poll. It's to stand up for those things you believe in and to use the opportunity you've been given to serve to be a voice on behalf of the things that one believes in and I think you've got to surround yourself with people that remind you of that, I think you've got to work to constantly remind yourself, and I think you've got to tell yourself that the day you forget that, that's the day to get out.
Glenn: What is the difference between you and Charlie Crist?
Rubio: I don't even know where to begin. I think the one people would probably most recognize is that he's kind of running around the state now saying that, you know, he should not be blamed for accepting the stimulus dollars but what sets him apart from every other Republican governor in the country is that he actually campaigned for it. He went to Fort Meyers, stood on a stage with Barack Obama, said that he thought the stimulus package was a great idea. He then pressured our congressional delegation here in Florida to vote for it. And I think what I tell people ultimately is, look. Last year, last February, if I had been in the U.S. Senate, I would have voted against the stimulus and I would have offered a clear alternative. If he had been in the U.S. Senate, he would have been one of only four Republicans -- well, Arlen Specter switched -- so, let's say three Republicans in the whole country to have voted for it. So, for Republicans in this primary, the question is: Do you want your next U.S. senator to be someone that would have been Barack Obama's third Republican vote?
Glenn: The stimulus money is -- do you believe that it is -- it's enough rope to hang yourself with, it's a chain around the states and a way that the Federal Government is going to muscle their way into the states and then pretty much just take the state system apart?
Rubio: Well, let me say. The states have been complacent in this and I as a state officer can tell you that one of the things that folks are constantly looking at is what can we do to draw down Federal dollars, what can we do to draw down, you know, Federal matching grants and so forth. I think the states are guilty of increasingly going to the Federal Government and asking for aid, as well, but I think the real failure of the stimulus is that it was supposed to stimulate job creation and the only thing it has stimulated is the national debt. By and large, when you spend money you don't have, governments spend money they don't have, it's destructive and now, you know, my kids owe $800 billion, that they and their generation are going to have to pay off, and we have no jobs to show for he the. There was no progress made as a result of it. So, I do think it's part of a larger trend, which is what you're alluding to, to the Federal Government being involved in virtually every aspect of American life, you know, from the bowl college football system to, you know, creating jobs and part of the problem is that the people who -- part of the problem is that we have a president and a Congress who think the Presidents and Congress are job creators and they're not.
Glenn: Marco Rubio is who you're hearing now. He's running for the Senate in Florida against Charlie Crist, a Republican. Your parents were from Cuba.
Glenn: They saw it happen there. Do you believe that we are on the same sort of trajectory that Cuba or Venezuela or any of these countries have been on? Are we on that same -- do we have --
Rubio: Let me tell you why I'm always careful about those comparisons. I understand why they're made, but let me tell you why I'm careful about them. Fidel Castro imprisoned people. He executed people. He divided families. He created a Diaspro and exile community and so, I mean, he's a straight-out criminal and a thug and he was before he even took over the country. Here's what I think the lessons from Cuba are about and, that is, that you can lose the essence of your country in a very short period of time. I think one of the things I have always known as a young child, because my neighbors -- I mean, I have a neighbor who served 22 years in a Castro prison for handing out leaflets. I have, you know, people who have had their fathers executed when they were young children in Cuba. I mean, it's hard to grow up in an exile community and be apolitical. So, my entire life I have known that politics matters, I have known that who's in charge of government matters, and I have known innately that things can change quickly in your country if the wrong people are in charge.
Glenn: Wouldn't you say -- wouldn't you say that the wrong people are the same kind of people that are -- that were around Fidel Castro are like Van Jones?
Rubio: Well, Van Jones is an extreme example of exactly that kind of thought process and, you know, to your credit and the credit of those who joined you in exposing that in government in America today and, look, there is no doubt that there are socialists and collectivists in America today. I mean, few people wear that badge proudly, but they do it because they don't because they know it's unpopular, but let me say this: There is no doubt that those in charge of the America government today are folks that have an unhealthy faith in the ability of government to stimulate the economy and, more importantly, folks that I believe think that government needs to be more involved in our lives because only government can provide us with the things we need. In essence, government knows better than we do.
Glenn: Marco Rubio, could you hold for just a second?
Glenn: I need to take a quick break here for the network.
(Out at 11:18 a.m.)
Glenn: Speaking to senatorial candidate down in Florida, Mark Rubio, who is a -- pardon me? Oh, I'm sorry. Marco Rubio, who is a -- I almost said "polo" when you said that -- when you are -- you're running against Charlie Crist and you are really kind of the bridge -- this is what they're saying about you, you're the bridge between the tea party and the Republican party. If the Republicans don't get their stuff together, burn that bridge down, as far as I'm concerned, but we were talking a little bit about you're Cuban American and I want to talk a little bit about illegal immigration with you, but before we do that, I want to ask you, do you watch -- do you watch my TV show?
Rubio: I do. I have a lot of folks -- we TIVO it mostly.
Rubio: Does that count? Does that count on the ratings?
Glenn: Yeah. It doesn't matter. As long as you're watching, that's the deal.
Glenn: I'm wondering if you buy into -- have you looked into Cloward and Piven, that strategy of collapsing system?
Rubio: I have not. I haven't. That's not --
Glenn: Okay. That's kind of one of the things that I talk about on the show is that this is something that Rudy Giuliani talked about that happened in New York in the 1990's, Cloward and Piven strategy to collapse the system, financially overwhelm it. Do you buy into that or do you think these people in Washington are just so stupid on their financial planning here or do you think that it's a little more nefarious?
Rubio: I think there's a combination of two things happening. There are people that just don't believe in capitalism or they don't believe in the free market. I mean, thy know the overwhelming number of Americans support. So, they will never admit. I mean, it who ever runs, saying, I'm a proud liberal or I'm a proud progressive or elect me and I'll have government more involved in your lives. I mean, people get elected by, you know, running away from that kind of stuff.
Rubio: Even in the Democratic party. And so -- but there are people that don't believe in the free market, they're more interested in what they call economic justice or social justice, which is really code for let the really smart people tell you what to do because we know what's best for you. I think there is definitely a thought process out there like that and they see this opportunity, this downturn in the economy, as an opportunity to implement policies that we won't be able to return from. And part of it is incompetence. I think you do have people in Washington that don't have any idea how jobs are created. You know, in the commercial break you talked about small businesses and, you know, that's exactly right. I mean, in America some of the best companies started out out of someone's garage or someone's spare bedroom.
Rubio: You know, presidents don't create jobs. Jobs are created by people that have access to money and they risk that money in pursuit of a great idea that they're willing to work for and I think a lot of the folks making public policy in this country don't believe that, don't get that, and, therefore, their policies don't reflect that.
Glenn: Okay. Good. I think that's a great answer. All right. So, Marco, you, Cuban American, you clearly don't hate people because they are different than you unless -- maybe I'm supposed to hate him. He's Cuban America. Should I hate him, because he's different than me?
Pat: Well --
Glenn: You understand immigration because your parents came here. Now, Cuba is a different story because you're fleeing oppression, etc., etc.
Glenn: The big issue that I predict is going to be happening during the fall election is going to be illegal immigration and the left is going to make it all about racism. I personally believe that the more immigrants, the better, as long as they're here legally, the more immigrants, the better. They are the ones that built this country. I've got to tell you, you go down to the Cuban American community and they understand freedom better than those who have lived here for 100 years with their families. They get it. And it is important to have people who want to come here because they will renew is but illegal immigration to me is different.
Glenn: Do you agree, disagree, and --
Rubio: I always tell Republicans, when I speak to Republican groups, I always say the Republican party has to be the prolegal immigration party, not simply the anti-illegal immigration party. There's nothing more destructive to legal immigration than illegal immigration. And let there be no mistake. We have a legal immigration system that's broken, but we can't fix this until we get a hold and a grip of this illegal immigration.
Glenn: So, what would you do -- what would you do, because this is what's going to happen, because they can't make that charge against you that it's racism, because I don't want people coming from, you know -- I come from German heritage. I don't even know -- 150 years ago. I don't want people coming from Germany that are here illegally.
Rubio: Right, right.
Glenn: How are you going to make this case or how should the Republicans or the tea party people make this case clearly so you can't be charged with racism?
Rubio: Well, first you need to make people understand this was an issue of rule of law. It's not an issue of -- as you said, it doesn't matter where you're coming from. It doesn't matter if you're coming from Canada, Mexico, whatever part of the world. We want immigration, particularly immigration that's a positive for America, but it has to be through organized and legal process that ensures that it's a net positive for us, not to mention the national security component of it. I think the first step is border security and, by the way, something many people don't realize is that border security is not enough because close to half of the folks in this country illegally entered legally and overstayed visas. So, we've got to get a hold of the visa program.
Glenn: No. We fixed that after 9-11.
Rubio: Well, the problem with the visa program is part of it is they're not being renewed because the system is so bureaucratic. Others never intended to go back and manipulated the system to stay here. So, you've got to show you're serious on the enforcement side, but you also need to deal with the demand side. The reality of it is that there are American employers that are knowingly hiring illegals. There are American employers that are looking the other way and don't want to know because as long as you can produce a document. Some sort of a verification system is essential.
Glenn: Marco Rubio, glad I spoke to you. Thank you, sir.