For the February 18 issue of Time magazine, the publication fell all over itself and anointed a new head of the Republican Party. The man who would lead the floundering and disjointed party out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land. It would be as if they thought him Moses, but in fact they reached even higher.
Marco Rubio. The Savior of the Republican Party. The freaking Savior!! The man they call right there on their cover for all to see..."the new voice of the GOP."
So, you know the phrase, "Everything old is new again"? Well, it seems there's a corollary. Everything new is old again -- and really, really quickly.
Just six weeks after being anointed the new voice and party savior, along comes National Review magazine, a far-right publication you would think would adore Sen. Rubio (R-FL), the favorite poster-child of the Tea Party corporations, and pile on the love. All they did, instead, is pile on.
Well...gee, that's different. From Savior to Folly. In just six weeks. Yipers.
Yes, I know that Mr. Rubio had a rough, parched night when he gave the Republican response to President Obama's State of Union Address. But licking your lips, sweating bullets and grabbing for water doesn't seem enough to go from Savior to...Folly. Especially when it's the very conservative National Review, what should your home court advantage, pummeling. So, what in heaven's name did he do??
Well, in part, he did the dastardly thing and offered a plan for immigration reform. And while I know that just chaps the legs of the far right, helping the less fortunate, it really couldn't have come as a surprise to them as they have been building Marco Rubio up all these time. I mean, after all, he comes from an immigrant family, he's made his immigrant family part of his campaign story since he's run for office, and it's his immigrant background which, in large part, helped make him -- The Republican Savior. So, even if conservatives don't like that he's involving himself in immigration, you'd think that this is one "bad issue" to them that they could cut some slack on.
But prominent as immigration is, as as much as it's a major explanation Mr. Rubio has fallen from Far Right Grace, I don't think it's the real reason.
I think it's because he's not Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is so far to the right that he makes Mario Rubio look almost moderate. The far right really adores Ted Cruz, no matter how loony, out of control, and mean-spirited a Red-baiting reincarnation he is of Joseph McCarthy. Just look at what the previous issue of National Review has -- a love letter to Ted Cruz promoting him for president, titled "Cruz 2016." Mario Rubio stands in the way of that. So, if the National Review wants Ted Cruz to be president, they've got to tear town Mario Rubio.
Mind you, horrible and dangerous and foolish and empty and inexperienced as Ted Cruz is, I think Democrats actually owe the National Review a big thanks. I think Mario Rubio is an empty shirt and deeply far right -- but I also have long thought that he is Republican threat, for being young, appealing and able to reach to some Hispanics. (Though Cubans and Mexicans are two different worlds.) Ted Cruz -- far worse a politician and, I think, human, than Mario Rubio is -- has a far, far smaller chance to be president. Not only is his base SO far to the right that it would hard to attract most of the country...but...well, he's ineligible to be president. He was born in Canada and lived there for the first four years of his life. So, if the far right want to take down Mario Rubio on behalf of a guy who would seem to, literally, have no constitutional chance to be president, then a doff o' the cap to the National Review.
How the Mini have fallen. In just six weeks.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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