Sunday, December 13, 2015


Clinton-hater turned pro-Clinton operative David Brock says he's not devoting much thought to Marco Rubio, and Matt Yglesias is puzzled:
... according to Politico's Annie Karnie [Brock] said something really weird on Friday about Marco Rubio.
Brock said he doesn't dismiss what he characterized as an outside chance that Donald Trump could win his party’s nomination -- "You never discount a demagogue" -- but said he is not prepared to pour resources into planning for the rise of Sen. Marco Rubio.

"I just don’t see it," he said of the young Florida senator. "He has some critical weaknesses, his absenteeism, weird listlessness on the campaign trail, all the mess with his personal finances -- there’s a lot. He hasn’t been vetted."

"I think Cruz will end up as the nominee," Brock added, "and I think Trump will support him and have a big platform. We’ll be hearing from him at the convention and on the campaign trail."
(Emphasis added by Yglesias.)

Brock isn't the only person in Hillaryland who thinks Cruz will win -- Hillary's campaign chairman, John Podesta, also thinks it'll be Cruz.
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta handicapped the GOP race for 90 Democratic donors assembled at a private fundraising event in Berkeley, California, on Thursday night, according to a Clinton backer who was in the room, telling the crowd that he viewed Cruz as the likeliest nominee, followed by Trump, and then Marco Rubio.
Are these guys trying to downplay Rubio strength because they don't want him to be able to go to Republican voters and say, "I'm the one Hillary Clinton fears"? Maybe. Or maybe -- as Yglesias's Vox colleague Andrew Prokop argues -- Rubio is running a terrible campaign:
There's something odd about Marco Rubio's presidential campaign: He hasn't been doing all that much, er, campaigning in the early states.

Unlike most recent presidential nomination winners, who have invested serious time and effort into campaigning and building organizations in at least one of either Iowa or New Hampshire, Rubio has taken a positively relaxed approach to both. He doesn't show up very often, doesn't do much campaigning when he is around, and doesn't seem to be building very impressive field operations.

And it's raising eyebrows. James Pindell of the Boston Globe wrote last week that Rubio's New Hampshire surge was "riddled with doubts," and that GOP insiders are bemoaning his "lack of staff" and "activity." National Review's Tim Alberta and Eliana Johnson reported Wednesday that Rubio's "weak ground game" was angering Iowa Republicans. And the New Hampshire Union Leader wrote an editorial headlined, "Marco? Marco? Where's Rubio?"
Rubio, according to Prokop, thinks he's running a forward-thinking 21st-century campaign -- he doesn't need to campaign face to face in Iowa and New Hampshire as much as successful candidates have in the past, he believes, because voters will see him on Fox News, and that's all that matters. He thinks he doesn't need to make frequent appearances in the two states, build up campaign staff there, travel outside Des Moines when he's in Iowa, or rack up local endorsements. But if he really has this figured out, you'd think he'd be the one making moves in Iowa polls right now, not Cruz.

Maybe Rubio knows something about modern campaigning that the rest of us don't. But I think Iowa and New Hampshire voters still feel entitled to endless stroking and coddling, and he refuses to pamper them as they're accustomed to being pampered.


AllieG said...

You've got that right, Steve. And if Cruz wins in Iowa, New Hampshire will go for Trump to maintain the state's beloved relevance, much as it went for Hillary after Obama won Iowa in '08.

Victor said...

Rubio will think he's "New Age," until his old age.
And in his dotage, he might wonder why he didn't work harder, but instead, waited for the crown to be put on his head.

The voters in those early primary states want to be stroked.
And being the gentleman that I am - LOL!- I won't mention what Marco's stroking instead.
All I'll say, is that it's far smaller than this empty-suit's ego...

Unsalted Sinner said...

Isn't this pretty much how Rubio has approached his job as a senator as well? Maybe he's just lazy.

Never Ben Better said...

Methinks Unsalted has nailed it.

Feud Turgidson said...

It could be framed as 'laziness', but I'm calling it 'hubris'. Look at the rise of Rubio in Florida: we see first, at the state level, him going quickly from first elected to the state house in 2000, to speaker in 2006. All the stories and analysis I've read on that is consistent: he was able to CLAIM an IMPRESSION of charisma at the voter level, by manipulating intra-party relationships.

If you know state politics you know how stale it can get; Florida's is far from exceptional. The Florida state house GOP in particular is a rats' nest of corrupt influence peddling by older pols for real estate developers. When a fresh face arrives, the rush is to corrupt it as quick as possible - but Rubio wasn't there to stay, so his moves more in the nature of a party activist/organizer. And the state house GOP desperately needed that given so much more actual power sits with the governor's office.

That's what explains Rubio's meteoric rise in state politics: all presentation, fresh blood, youth, a robust state-wide effort at identifying with the Cuban emigre population, parlaying from that an IMPLICATION of being able to mobilize Hispanics more broadly, and being respectful enough of his elders in the state GOP apparatus that he was able to get a whole lot of 'respectful son' pieces out into the process political media that dropped names of GOP operators who, maybe were relevant at some point but by then were just flattered to see their names mentioned and their supposed 'power', 'influence', and 'stature' in print. It was, in large part, an illusion.

That Rubio then was able to parlay all THAT to get from one statewide office, of state house speaker, to another, as U.S. Senator, isn't surprising: new face, fresh, Hispanic name, no known history of industry lobbying or pervasive corruption. But since 20110, what has Rubio been doing? Trying to do that same thing all over again in the Senate just doesn't work: the US Senate isn't 'just' an old boys' club, it's always been so and that's largely how it works (look at how Al Franken works the joint, Chuck Schumer, others: to be a stepping stone, you have to get out of the Senate FAST.). Rubio would have found ZERO hope of taking the Senate Leadership mantel from McConnell, or whoever, because that job's both a career ambition and a full-time job, not an kind of stepping stone.

That pathway shut to Rubio, what he's been doing is working the party apparatus beyond the Senate; thus, he gets credited with being best placed among anyone, Jeb! included, to attract establishment help in gaming the nomination. Problem: the party's regular heirarchy is such terrible shape, it's severely weakened condition is WHY Trump in particular has been able to tromp all over it.

I can see a certain laziness of PERSPECTIVE Rubio's fallen into; tho he's really not all that smart (See C. Pierce's ongoing series of casting Rubio as the Sideshow Bob of national politics.), nor does he has the connections or experience to readily view things any other way - which I call it more 'hubris' than 'laziness'.