Tuesday, February 02, 2016

IF DAVID BROOKS IS SMUG, I'M NOT HAPPY

Yes, the racist ignoramus lost last night, and the Canadian demagogue won, but Marco Rubio exceeded expectations, therefore much of the press is treating him as last night's real winner. (Politico: "Rubio Off to New Hampshire with Wind at His Back.") David Brooks has been predicting a Rubio nomination, so he's unusually smug today, not so much on his own behalf as on behalf of his party:
What happened in Iowa was that some version of normalcy returned to the G.O.P. race. The precedents of history have not been rendered irrelevant.

Ted Cruz picked up the voters who propelled Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee to victory in previous caucuses. His is a Tea Party wing in the G.O.P. But its size and geographic reach is limited.

The amazing surge for Marco Rubio shows that the Republican electorate has not gone collectively insane. At the last moment, and in a state that is not naturally friendly to him, a lot of Republicans showed up to support a conservative who could conceivably get elected and govern.
Yes, but a lot more Republicans showed up to support an unabashed extremist and two unqualified know-nothings, one of whom is a thug and a bigot. Rubio's vote total? 23.1%. Combined vote totals of Cruz, Trump, and Carson? 61.3%.

Trump got 24.3% of the vote and 7 delegates last night; four years ago, Mitt Romney's vote percentage in Iowa was barely higher (24.53%), in a much smaller field, and he won one fewer delegate than Trump. And Cruz outdid both Trump this year and Romney in 2012.

But the Establishment is declaring victory, and the Establishment really might be able to will Rubio momentum into being, because there do seem to be a certain number of Republicans who want an electable choice -- maybe just enough in a three-way race. Perhaps the candidate who'll win this nomination while not being the choice of anything close to a GOP majority will be Rubio, not Trump.

Am I sorry the ignorant bigot lost? Yes, I am. Even though Trump has created a particularly toxic strain of Republicanism, he poses a threat to the Republican Establishment -- he tarnishes the GOP brand by saying out loud what other Republicans say in code, and while his agenda may overlap with that of the GOP's power brokers on many issues, he wouldn't just take an ALEC or Grover Norquist agenda off the shelf and run on it, much less govern by it. I think a Trump presidency would be a nightmare, but it would be a singularly Trumpian nightmare -- it wouldn't be a tactical advance in the long war being fought by the Koch brothers and their allies. And we might never get to that point, because Trump would be a weak general election candidate, at a time when the Democrats are going to have a weak candidate of their own. (If Marco Rubio is the nominee, he will win. Take that to the bank.)

We seemed to be on the verge of a Republican crack-up. Instead, last night we got a better-than-expected performance by someone who might be able to keep the party patched together. I hope someone -- Trump, Kasich ... hell, even Jeb -- humiliates Rubio in New Hampshire next week. If not, I hope Trump and Cruz cleans his clock in South Carolina. He's dangerous.

16 comments:

AllieG said...

Why do you assume Rubio will win? He is clearly benefiting from the phenomenon which also helps Sanders -- being lesser known and thus able to serve as an object of voter projections. That gets harder to do the closer one gets to November. Ideologically, he's not much different from Cruz.

Ten Bears said...

Didn't Huckabee "win" Iowa a cycle or two ago? And... what's his name, the frothy mix of lube and fecal waste, didn't he "win" Iowa a cycle or two ago as well?

Other than demonstrating that they in no way shape or form represent the interests of everyday Oregonians (or New Yorkers), Iowa doesn't mean a focking thing.

Unknown said...

He's now goine more unreservedly neocon - he's TALKING full metal neocon - than any neoconartist since Reagan and before. With one exception, those warmongering, war hawk, neocon a-holes have proven disturbingly successful against all but the absolute best the Democratic party is able to come up with, & no matter which of HRC & Sanders the D party process settles on this time, that nominee not be among those best. Jeb is walking toast * that bottomless war chest is going somewhere; it now has a new home.

Some weeks back, Steve M. offered up Rubio as both most likely to win the GOP contest and the most likely of that bunch to win the general. I remain more unsure about the first than about the second, but now the horrible twisted beast I figured to win the former has shot his wad in his most favorable early state & largely proved himself a creepy wanker, I join Steve in concern that the g.d. monster party won't cooperate by nominating an even more obviously flawed candidate than the Dems will.

Unknown said...

Now that Rubio has earned the title of "mainstream consensus", Jeb has literally no hope left. He'll be lucky to break 5% in NH. Then the party apparatus will stop pussyfooting around and tell, not ask, him to drop out and endorse the protege he tried to destroy.

That will be a jumbo shit sandwich to choke down. But then he gets to spend the rest of his life with the stench of failure about him, trying to ignore the cold looks of disgust from Mom and Dad.

Phil Freeman said...

[i](If Marco Rubio is the nominee, he will win. Take that to the bank.)[/i]

Never gonna happen. Marco Rubio is a very, very stupid man, dishonest in an obvious and easily proven way, with effectively zero personal charisma, which means that reporters will happily wave his contradictions and obfuscations in his face when the time comes. He is an old person's idea of a young person, to repurpose a phrase. A whole bunch of Republican voters haven't figured out that he's one of those brown people yet. And Latino voters loathe him. The Republican party has no winning candidates this year.

Steve M. said...

Stupid is a disqualifier, Phil? In a country that elected Reagan and George W. Bush twice each?

Victor said...

What you see in Bobo, isn't smugness.
It's excess humility.

And yeah, the manchild in the empty suit is a much easier sale for the HRC-loathing MSM to push on the nit/dim/half/fuck-wits in this country, than either Trump or the Cruz-ader.
Oy.

BKT said...

Yeah, I'm with Ten Bears on this. Caucus results in Iowa don't really mean anything.

Speaking as someone who's lived in Iowa for 31 years and attended the caucuses 6 times, I continue to be struck by how few people actually participate. And I live in a highly poltically-active college town!

In 2008, the last time there was no incumbent running, the turnout of eligible voters here was 16.3%. That's less than one out of every six, and that was the all-time record high (last night may have been higher, though-- I'm not sure). Even by the pitiful voter turnout standards of the U.S., that's simply appalling.

Victor said...

Let's hope that someone finds some clearer photo's of Marco dancin' the night away at a Miami gay "foam party," back in the 90's.

Not that I give a shit, but if he was, then that might disturb the Evangelical rubes.

Charon04 said...

Rubio is about as extreme right as you can get on both the PNAC warhawk stuff and religious stuff like abortion. He may look moderate to some people now, but he has said a lot of stuff he can either own or walk back.

He has some pretty dicey money stuff in his background too.

Rand Careaga said...

(If Marco Rubio is the nominee, he will win. Take that to the bank.)

A little early for this, Steve, and while I respect your judgment and have long followed No More Mister" with admiration, you seem here as if you're distantly channeling poor Andrew Sullivan's fainting fit following the first Obama-Romney debate. Let's talk again after Super Rubesday.

Curt Purcell said...

Rubio's vetting hasn't been too serious yet. He'll get much more of it before NH, from Cruz, Trump, and Bush's Billion. Let's see how he comes out the other side of that meat grinder. If he does win the nomination, I don't expect him to make it look easy, and then he'll have to stand on a debate stage with Hillary, who will make him look like the foolish, ignorant child he is. I think in the general, Rubio's advantages and weaknesses cancel out to the point that it will be decided strictly on the fundamentals (i.e. economy, Obama's approval, etc.), which is still better from a GOP perspective than Cruz or Trump, both of whom would be doomed millstones around the whole party's neck.

the RaptorMage said...

"ditto" (TM). Rubio and Cruz both have paths to the presidency, but neither one is a safe bet; either can beat either Dem, but neither is a lock to do so.

Cruz is Nixon: smart, scheming, and playing the dog whistle like a symphony oboe.

Rubio is Bush Jr.: dumb but smiling, hard to beat because he doesn't stand for anything.

America elected each of those mistakes twice, and nobody should be shocked if we end up with a repeat.

(We've had businessmen like Perot run before, but I would still consider the 'vulgar talking yam' unprecedented.)

Lit3Bolt said...

Rubio is the great Republican Hope and Change. It doesn't matter if his record is thin or he's an empty suit....those are pluses for people to project him as what they want him to be.

Trump could easily sew up the nom by chanting the new n-word: "immigration immigration immigration!!" That would win him a majority of delegates in most Southern states. But I'm not convinced he truly wants the nomination.

Ken_L said...

What happens to Carson's 10% supporters might be the key. They must be the hard core crazies, so it's unlikely they'll go to Rubio. If they go to Trump, it's shut the gate. To Cruz, and it keeps him in a two-horse race. But they might lose interest and not bother turning up at all, resulting in a tight three-way contest with Rubio the insider favorite.

Ten Bears said...

It's been my feeling, Lit, for a couple of weeks now that tRump has grown tired of the game.