Rubio embodies American Dream, but would deny it to others

Story highlights

  • Maria Cardona: Marco Rubio, running in 2016, wants to portray himself as something new. But his policies not aimed at middle class
  • She says his tax plan helps rich, hurts poor; he's reneged on immigration reform; his foreign policy moves have been irresponsible
  • Cardona: Rubio more interested in pandering to GOP base than offering solutions for all Americans

Maria Cardona is a political commentator for CNN, a Democratic strategist and principal at the Dewey Square Group. She is a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton and was communications director for the Democratic National Committee. She also is a former communications director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Marco Rubio has officially waded into the waters of the 2016 Republican nomination for the presidency.

The senator has the gift of oratory and a compelling family story that he tells so well. He seems to embody the quintessential American Dream and it is clear he hopes his story will speak to many Americans, who could be looking for a "wow" factor in their next presidential candidate.
But voters are intelligent and can tell the difference between a beautiful speech and a policy stance that will adversely affect their families and their future.
    Maria Cardona
    The fact remains that while Rubio is attempting to portray himself as something "new," those paying attention can see his presidential ambitions seem to have little to do with wanting to offer Americans real solutions. In fact, he offers nothing more than the same old and failed ideas that majorities of Americans have rejected over and over again in previous presidential elections.
    You only have to look at the last few weeks to know this is the case.
    In March, Rubio released a draft of his tax plan in an attempt to set the far right agenda for the primary field. If Rubio's plan is any indication, the fight for the Republican nomination will feature failed trickle-down economic theory more than of any serious commitment to hard-working families.
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    Rubio's plan raises taxes on those struggling to get ahead while slashing them for those at the very top and wealthy corporations (sound familiar?). It does this while increasing the debt by trillions. In his first major policy announcement of the year, Rubio had a chance to side with hardworking Americans across the country, but instead he apparently chose to side with Mitt Romney's definition of people -- corporations. If he is supposed to be offering fresh ideas for the Republican Party, he has failed.
    In the one area where Sen. Rubio showed early promise, he ultimately kowtowed to the Republican base. After the 2012 elections made clear that the American people demanded comprehensive immigration reform, he jumped on the issue. At the time, I and other progressives commended him wholeheartedly and had hopes that he could be a different kind of Republican. But alas, that effort fizzled quickly , like a comet across the sky, as Rubio bowed to the political pressure from the Tea Party and those who would rather score political points than make real progress on immigration reform.
    Marco Rubio now supports ending the deportation relief for DREAMers that keeps families together and he opposes comprehensive immigration reform -- including the very bill he sponsored. He chose to play politics for his own ambitions rather than solve a pressing issue that affects millions of people. Inaction on immigration reform hurts American's economy and businesses every day.
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    His foreign policy positions haven't been any better. When Sen. Tom Cotton foolishly wrote an open letter to the Iranian government with the goal of undermining nuclear negotiations, Marco Rubio said where do I sign up? The letter was reckless effort that jeopardized delicate negotiations and threatened to undermine our nation's ability to broker a deal in good faith.
    Since then, Rubio has sought to undermine the agreement negotiated with our allies and partners that represents the best chance of halting and significantly scaling back Iran's nuclear program.
    Additionally, Rubio brazenly claimed that America's efforts to combat ISIS were not serious. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's subsequent dismantling of this embarrassing and irresponsible claim demonstrated a stark contrast between a serious, knowledgeable leader committed to protecting America's national security interests and an untested and overly ambitious politician trying to get some TV time and appeal to his hawkish political base.
    Marco Rubio offers very little in the way of new ideas or new ways of getting things done in Washington.
    So while some voters may initially find Rubio's words, family roots story and his speech delivery appealing, in the end most will see that the choices the junior senator from Florida has made up to now have not put them and their families first.
    Voters will realize Rubio is following a tired Republican playbook that by design turns its back on hard working Americans in diverse communities all around the country. And many voters will then turn their backs on him.