After Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tried to explain away his failure to vote in the Senate by pointing fingers at other senators who are running for president, it brought attention to the fact that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has the best record of current senators running for president.
Sanders was asked today by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell why he has missed so few votes while running for President and he responded, “Well, that’s kind of what I’m paid to do. My job is what I’m paid to do right now is to represent the people of the State of Vermont in the United States Senate. That’s what I do. I will miss votes but I’m trying to miss as few as I possibly can. I am extraordinarily proud to represent my great state in the Senate. We’re working very hard on a number of issues. And while it is difficult and very time-consuming to be a full-time candidate and to be a full-time senator, that is at the moment what I’m trying to do.”
Watch here via MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports”:
Oh, doing what he is paid to do? So the Democratic Socialist shows up to work, while the Republican complains that he hates the job you are paying him for so he’s gonna just run for President and if that doesn’t pan out, well, see ya’. He quits.
Jeb Bush tried to use Rubio’s record of not voting to hit him during the last Republican debate.
“Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work. Literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French work week? You get, like, three days when you have to show up?”
The National Review Online has argued that this is a “dumb” argument to make against Rubio. It’s true, other Senators have missed a lot of work while running for President. Vox tallied it and concluded that Democrats missed a lot of votes in the primaries of 2008 whereas John McCain missed every single vote in the primary. Who can blame him, though, he was trying to wrangle his VP choice, Sarah Palin. But Vox says Rubio deserves some of the grief he’s getting, “Despite this being the norm, Rubio deserves some of the grief he’s received for missing votes. In October, he’s missed 18 of 20 votes.”
Interestingly it’s Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who have missed the least amount of votes among Senators running for President, though even this record isn’t as good as it first appears according to Vox, “Ted Cruz would’ve missed the fewest votes among senators running for president, if it weren’t for Bernie Sanders, who has missed just 3 percent of votes this year. This is no different from the percentage of votes he normally misses in the Senate — which, to be clear, is actually worse than the median of 1.6 percent, but is still astonishingly low for a man running for president.”
“… astonishingly low (rate of missed votes) for a man running for president.” <--- Said of the Democratic Socialist. To put this in perspective, from Jan 2011 to Oct 2015, “Rubio missed 176 of 1,437 roll call votes, which is 12.2%. This is much worse than the median of 1.6% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.”
And as Philip Bump at the Fix pointed out, “That said, Rubio still has a worse attendance record by this point of the year prior to an election than did Obama or Hillary Clinton at this point in 2007.”
Yes, we want to be able to pull presidential candidates from people who know how government works and have given it a shot on the legislative side, but we’d also like Senators to do a modicum of the job we are paying them to do.
The real issue with Marco Rubio is that he doesn’t like the job of being Senator, and the reason why should disqualify him from office. He’s leaving so he doesn’t care, and the reason he is leaving is it is too slow and rule bound. Oh, yeah, the Presidency is much quicker. Waiting on a dysfunctional Congress requires zero patience.
Marco Rubio, who was ushered in on a wave of blind Tea Party hope in fools, is a bit like Sarah Palin. He’s quitting ‘cuz he cares. In other words, he’s not a grown up. Yes, government is slow and the dysfunction has been horrendous, but for Rubio to think that being President will reduce his frustrations is laughable. Will he just quit showing up as president when frustrated?
Senator Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialist, is leading the pack of those who run for President and still manage to vote. Cruz is next. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not currently in office, she left in 2012 in what many saw as preparation for running for President. Let’s just repeat that – the “Socialist” is the one showing up to work, while Republicans pretend that everyone who isn’t a Republican refuses to work.
Bernie Sanders is a Democratic Socialist, and the distinction matters, but either way his voting record while running for president puts this narrative to shame. It is, actually, Republicans like Marco Rubio and John McCain who expect to be paid for doing next to nothing while they run for president.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.