How Long Til Marco Rubio Gives Up His Senate Seat?

At Salon today, Simon Maloy draws attention to a strange phenomenon: Marco Rubio managing to make the nothing-burger of his bad Senate attendance record a problem by claiming he’s still doing the important stuff Senators do–just not the voting on legislation stuff.

It’s a strange case for Rubio to make, given that he’s not doing the committee work that he says is so crucial. “He has missed private hearings during a critical stage in the Iran talks, a public forum on China and a private briefing on the U.S. strategy on the Islamic State,” Politico reported in July. Again, absenteeism isn’t really an issue on its own, but it starts becoming an issue when you claim that you’re still doing the work that you’re not actually doing.

Rubio also cites constituent services work as continuing despite the time he’s spending on the trail. But except for hustling the occasional pork-barrel project–which a proud Son of the Tea Party like Rubio would never, ever do–Senators are not, trust me as a former Senate staffer, involved in constituent services. They would roll on even if The Boss is running for president or drunk in a ditch somewhere. I can promise you Marco Rubio has never personally helped anyone get their Social Security check on time.

So why is he continuing in a manner that draws criticism from rivals and the media? Beats me, unless he needs the salary or something. I’d guess he’ll resign the seat at some point pretty soon, giving Gov. Rick Scott the chance to give somebody a leg up in the race to succeed Rubio in the Senate, and giving Rubio a moment of manufactured drama.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.