In the most-competitive congressional seat in the Miami area, District 26, the main Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia was targeted by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee robo-calls to voters last week.
“Carlos Curbelo refuses to disown Washington Republicans’ shutdown,” the DCCC’s caller says in the script.
Curbelo — an opponent of Obamacare — did oppose the shutdown, but like other Republicans he blamed Democrats for it, partly because they didn’t support piecemeal bills from the GOP-led House that would have reopened parts of the government.
For obvious reasons, though, Curbelo wasn’t cranking out multiple campaign statements highlighting the shutdown.
Miami’s most-recognizable political figure, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, was among the first in the Senate to link Obamacare and a budget deal. But Rubio appeared far more cautious than Cruz or Sen. Mike Lee.
Rubio said in a Fox News Sunday interview that the latest rancor in Washington will make passage of an immigration-reform bill tougher in the U.S. House.
“I was never in favor of shutting down the government or of defunding the government. I was in favor of voting to fund the government fully,” Rubio said on the show. “The only thing I didn’t want to see is us wasting any more money on Obamacare, which is already a disaster.”
Democrats pounced and said Rubio was downplaying the fact that he once said Republicans should “go all the way” to defund the Affordable Care Act.
Obamacare is still in its infancy. The full effect of the law, whether it’s good or bad, will take months or years to determine.
On Sunday, Rubio’s former mentor, Bush, sounded far more like a critic of the shutdown tactic that the senator helped endorse (there’s an off-chance that both Miami-area politicians could run against each other for president in 2016).
Bush essentially predicted the Affordable Care Act is doomed because of its structure, not just its website. But Republicans need to show there’s a better way.
Bush didn’t provide specifics and also didn’t mention that the heart of Obamacare is patterned on an insurance concept that was once so favored by Republicans that Obama’s 2012 rival, Republican Mitt Romney, instituted it in Massachusetts when he was governor.
“The best way to repeal Obamacare is to have an alternative,” Bush said. “We never hear the alternative: We can do this at a much lower cost with improved quality based on our principles, free-market principles.
“We don’t even hear about that because we’ve stepped on that message,” he said. “And I think Republicans need to take a step back, show a little self-restraint and let this happen a little more organically.”