In this week’s broadcast I draw an operatic parallel between Marco Rubio’s career and the plot of Tosca, with Marco Rubio as Mario Cavaradossi, the hapless hero; the GOP as Floria Tosca, Cavaradossi’s besotted lover; and Chuck Schumer as the sinister Chief of Police, Scarpia, who outsmarts them both, without trying very hard. The parallel rests on the similarity of names, Marco-Mario (perhaps fortified by Rubio-Mario), which I admit is a bit thin; but it comes to mind anyway.
This whole episode [i.e. the progress of the Amnesty Bill] fortified the impression we’ve all been getting the past few weeks, that Rubio is not very bright and Schumer is playing him for a patsy.
Possibly so. As an opera fan, I can never see Rubio’s name without thinking of the last scene in Tosca, the fake fake execution scene.
Tosca, the heroine, watches her lover, Cavaradossi, get executed. She’s OK with it because she cut a deal with the chief of police to have him fake the execution just for public show. When the show’s over, she and Cavaradossi can flee to safety.
Unfortunately the chief of police has double-crossed her. The execution is not fake, it’s real. Tosca doesn’'t realize this until she goes to her lover lying there after the executioner’s departed, and tells him, “Up, Mario. Quickly. Come, come. Quickly.”
When Tosca realizes she’s been double-crossed, she is, quite understandably, somewhat distraught. Listen to Maria Callas. [Callas: “Mario, su presto! Andiamo! . . . Su! . . . Ah! Morto! Morto! O Mario! . . .]
Please don’t imagine I wish any harm to Senator Rubio. I think he’s done a shameful thing, helping to push this appalling bill in the Senate, but I think he’'s done it from stupidity, not malice. And as a matter of fact I think that Rubio, unlike Cavaradossi, will survive his current troubles and have a bright future. Stupidity is no bar to political advancement—How do you think we ended up with Joe Biden?
The numbers bear me out. In a Quinnipiac Poll released this Wednesday, 51 percent of Florida voters approved of Rubio’s overall performance in office, versus 35 percent disapproving. Among Republicans, Rubio’s overall rating is 81 percent favorable and only 5 percent unfavorable.
Quite the star performer, you might say.