But Rubio might be right that the Senate is no place for a young, ambitious politician. The days of being patient and eventually achieving glory appear long gone. The Senate is taking fewer and fewer votes, federal lawmakers are increasingly unpopular and simply passing a budget this winter will be considered a "victory."
Maybe that's why Rubio is one of five senators running for president in 2016 -- although he's the only one retiring from his seat to do it.
Here are eight reasons why Rubio's right that the Senate stinks.
1. No one knows who you are
A 2013 Gallup survey found that 35 percent of Americans said they could name at least one of their representatives in Washington (although that's likely a generous number; Gallup pollsters didn't check to see if people actually could.)
The good news: Of those who said they could name one of their lawmakers, 62 percent said they approve of the job their representative is doing.
2. It's a thankless job
The most recent Gallup polling shows 82 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the job Congress is doing, numbers that are at or near the worst since Gallup began asking for Americans' opinions on this.
Americans are also skeptical of the power we give our lawmakers; an October Gallup poll found 60 percent of Americans are concerned the federal government has too much power.
3. What you do there will be used against you
As voters have become increasingly disenchanted with Washington, they've tuned out what's going on there, which can make it harder for lawmakers to show off their lawmaking skills -- such as they are.
The exception is when someone spends money to draw the public's attention to what's happening in Washington. Unfortunately for lawmakers, the people who take the time and money to do that are usually an opponent or interest group unhappy with the way things are working. In other words, the votes you take and the causes you support will likely be ignored until they're used against you.
Maybe that's one reason why Gallup also found that the more Americans know about Congress, the more they dislike it.
4. It's designed to be slow
Our founding fathers purposefully wanted a branch of government that would move sloooowly so that it wouldn't be subject to the passing whims of the public. Edmund Randolph, a member of George Washington's cabinet, described the Senate's role this way: "to restrain, if possible, the fury of democracy." James Madison said the Senate should "proceed with more coolness, with more system, and with more wisdom, than the popular branch."
In other words, the Senate is not a place to get things done quickly.
5. Some would say it's slower than normal these days
Recent partisan gridlock is yet another anchor weighing down progress in the Senate, which has slowed to historic proportions.
Fahrenthold tells the story from Rubio's perspective: "In Rubio’s first two years, the Senate held just 486 recorded votes. That was the fewest in 20 years, according to the publication Vital Statistics on Congress."
6. It takes a long time to move up
The Senate's motto for newbies: Be seen and not heard. That culture is changing, though. In the early 20th century, freshmen senators used to wait a year before they'd give their first speech on the Senate floor. Now they're jumping right into serious negotiating roles and in front of cameras to represent their parties. (See Cruz, Ted.)
But even that can backfire. Rubio was one of those freshmen who was put in the spotlight quickly; perhaps too quickly in his case. The nervous Republican star paused while delivering his party's 2013 State of the Union response to awkwardly gulp down water.
7. There's less room for individuality
For much of the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s, less than half of members of the Senate voted with their own party, according to the Vital Statistics on Congress analysis of partisanship. Voting along party lines has been rising steadily since then to the point where in 2013 close to 70 percent of senators voted with their parties.
8. It's often at the mercy of the more unruly House of Representatives
One of Rubio's accomplishments since coming to the Senate in 2011 was helping craft and pass an immigration reform bill in 2013.
But that victory was immediately halted in the House, where a significant conservative faction did not want to bring it up for a vote. And in the House is where Rubio's biggest legislative accomplishment remains; the bill hasn't come up for a vote there to this day.
Scott Clement contributed to this report.