Performance anxiety, or stage fright, is anxiety, nervousness, or persistent phobia which may be aroused in individuals required to perform in front of an audience, and some of its manifestations are coldness in the extremities, pounding heart, sweating, and dry mouth. Stage fright affects people regardless of their experience and background, whether they are completely new to being in front of an audience, or have done so for years, and it touches actors, comedians, musicians, and politicians. There has been no dearth of criticism targeting Senator Marco Rubio for stopping to drink water during his rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address, and Sarah Jones gave an accurate accounting of the pitfalls facing many speakers when addressing a camera sans audience. However problematic and nerve wracking giving a major speech to a camera with a national television audience watching can be, it is just as likely that Rubio exhibited acute dry mouth due to the gross mendacity permeating his speech that is endemic to Republicans in general.
For starters, it was not Rubio’s speech. It was a reiteration of any number of Willard Romney’s stump speeches in his failed bid for the White House, and besides rank plagiarism, it was devoid of veracity that would give Willard pause, or great pride depending on one’s perspective. The focus of what Univision termed “token slave boy’s” entire speech was that the federal government, and President Obama as its primary representative, was inherently bad and responsible for every problem thirty years of conservative economic policies have set on this country, a country so depressed Rubio “stretched” the truth about his humble origins.
Rubio lied about still living “in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in,” with “retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare, and immigrants who came here because they were stuck in poverty in countries where the government dominated the economy.” Hardly true that Social Security-dependent retirees live in “working class neighborhoods” where homes like Rubio’s is on the market for $675,000; but what’s a half-a-million dollars difference between real working class neighborhoods and upper-class communities when veracity is replaced with mendacity?
From that point on, Rubio assailed the deleterious effect the federal government has had on Americans in spite of his use of federally-funded government student loans to attend college. In fact, he decried all government programs as “hurting the middle class” and preventing them from getting ahead saying, “They are going to hold you back, they’re going to limit you. The idea that more government spending is the best way to help hardworking middle class taxpayers; that’s an old idea that’s failed every time it’s been tried.” Actually, if not for the President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus), America’s economy would have slipped into a depression and prevented well over 3.4 million jobs from being created, but when you reiterate failed Republican talking points, it is imperative to claim everything this President implemented is a death knell for the middle class.
Rubio even asserted that the government was the major cause of the economic recession and that the housing crisis was created by reckless government policies. However, the facts reveal that financial institutions and banks were responsible for over 84% of subprime loans that created the housing crisis and the recession that followed. The reckless government policies were, by the way, caused by deregulation under the Bush administration that Republicans are wont to blame on President Obama who was just two years into his career as a United States Senator, but what is a few years when you are repeating lie after tired, worn out lie?
No Republican anti-government screed would be complete without referencing the President’s signature healthcare insurance law and Token didn’t fail to disappoint. He claimed people are losing the health insurance they were happy with regardless the health law is not fully implemented or replacing any Americans health insurance. He blamed the unemployment numbers on the Affordable Care Act because “many of these businesses aren’t hiring, and not only that; they’re being forced to lay people off and switch from full-time employees to part-time workers.” Another fallacy repeated ad nauseum by the GOP because using part-time employees to avoid providing healthcare benefits is a 25-year trend by such corporate giants as Wall Mart to increase their profits and force taxpayers to subsidize their payrolls by increasing Medicare and Medicaid enrollment.
Rubio’s assault on the federal government and President Obama went on at a rate that most likely gave Republicans reason to cheer, but there was not one bit of truth in any of his contentions. He claimed the President hates business and free enterprise, and that his so-called “job-killing laws” were responsible for the “economy actually shrinking during the last three months of 2012,” that every economist blamed on reduced federal spending and not higher taxes or restrictions on business. In fact, another study confirmed that taxes and regulations do not hold back job creation, and in many cases help hiring, but facts, business surveys, and data have never been the purview of Republicans and Rubio did nothing to reverse fact-less claims of the GOP.
Marco Rubio supported Florida’s voter purge, voted against preventing the nation defaulting on its debt, promised to never raise taxes, won endorsement from anti-gay hate groups, made robocalls for the National Organization of Marriage, co-sponsored a bill to nullify contraception coverage in the ACA, and most recently voted against the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). On Tuesday night, he culminated an already despicable career by assailing the President and the federal government as nation killers; it is no wonder he had an overly dry mouth.
Perhaps he had stage fright, or maybe he parched up over speaking into a camera, but it is most likely he knew the only true statement he made was that Barack Obama was the President of the United States and that the rest if his rebuttal was pure fiction. That being said, he did Willard Romney proud and continued the four-year Republican tradition of spewing anti-Obama, anti-government rhetoric and lied himself into a dry-mouthed predicament. Unfortunately, instead of asking why he had dry mouth, or why he lied, the media only mentioned that he needed a drink of water.