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article imageOp-Ed: Marco Rubio hurts 2016 chances by being intolerant on intolerance

By Calvin Wolf     Jul 23, 2014 in Politics
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) claims that there is rising intolerance against religious conservatives. His attempt to portray religious and social conservatives as victims will come back to haunt him.
There are different types of power, especially in politics. A tricky type of power to utilize is the controversial concept of "power as victim." Essentially, you try to appeal to others as a wounded victim, gaining their support. Until recently, liberals seemed more prone to using "power as victim" as a campaign strategy. Democrats would accuse Republicans of mudslinging and attempt to characterize any disparaging comment against a female or minority Democrat as proof of widespread racism and sexism among Republicans.
As an independent voter, I felt the Democrat "power as victim" ploy to be a bit much.
Now, interestingly enough, a prominent Republican is trying to attract sympathy for conservatives as alleged victims. According to the Associated Press, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, the young Floridian who appears to be aiming for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, told the audience at Catholic University that there was a rising "intolerance" against those who oppose same-sex marriage.
In his speech, Rubio accused liberals of hypocrisy for praising diversity while remaining intolerant against religious conservatives and the unborn. Though Rubio has a point, it will easily be overshadowed by his questionable tactic of appealing for more tolerance...while criticizing those who supported abortion rights. He blasts intolerance and is then intolerant himself. It's quite a quandary, tough for anyone, but few have had the temerity to tread where Rubio has gone.
Additionally, Rubio's tactic in attempting to head off criticism by predicting the oncoming criticism is also questionable, for it confirms that he knows of the political minefield in which he walks. Though Rubio claims he will be attacked as a bigot, it does not assert that he is not a bigot. And critics could claim that, by insisting he will soon be "victimized" by liberal criticism, Rubio is hypocritical and weak.
Rubio and other Republicans who claim there is intolerance against religious conservatives face the difficult task of defending public ire toward opponents of same-sex marriage as different from public ire toward opponents of racial integration, gender equality, or other progressive social movements. Basically, liberals can easily trip up Rubio by asking if he would support more tolerance toward racists and sexists. After all, according to Rubio's logic, shouldn't society be more tolerant toward those views? Many religious conservatives, after all, believe that women are inferior to men.
Supporting more tolerance for religious conservatives is only a short step from supporting more tolerance for misogynists and racists, which is a political death trap. Rubio will have to work hard to talk himself out of the pit into which he has blundered...before someone makes the above connection. Then again, perhaps we will be more tolerant of political blunders as we get closer to 2016.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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