16 March 2016

Out with the old.....and out with the new

I've already commented on the ignominious implosion of the Bush dynasty which had previously been emerging as a sort of royal family of Republican politics.  That collapse, however, had been widely expected and even hoped for, even before this campaign really got under way.  America is not receptive to dynasties, and many Republicans wanted a fresh new face to represent them to the country.....

.....well, so much for that.

The first hint that Rubio might not be quite ready for the big leagues was, of course, the infamous water-bottle lunge during his 2013 SOTU response.  It was a minor thing, but it stuck in the memory as a misstep that a more skilled performer would have avoided.

His next and most fatal error -- though almost no one saw it as such at the time -- came soon after, with his involvement in the Senate "Gang of Eight" illegal-alien amnesty bill.  Perhaps he didn't realize how angry a large chunk of the Republican base is about illegal immigration -- but he should have.  His involvement dogged him through the primary campaign, and was by far the most often-cited issue among Republicans who opposed him, based on what I saw in discussions on their sites.

The real end, though, came at the hands of Chris Christie during the debate in early February, where he got Rubio rattled enough to fall back on reciting the same memorized talking point four times:

From this kind of gaffe, there's no recovery.  "Rubot" memes proliferated, the jokes wrote themselves, and primary voters started thinking about what such a stilted performance implied about how future debates with Hillary would go.  From that point on, Rubio's campaign was a dead campaign walking.  All Trump did yesterday was to put down the zombie.

If Rubio had waited -- perhaps run for Governor of Florida for some executive experience, and tried for President later when he was more prepared for the intense stress and scrutiny -- he might have done better.  As it is, I suspect his political career is over.  This spectacular crash-and-burn, capped with a 19-point loss in his home state, will define him.

At that, we should be relieved.  Rubio is no reformist.  He would just have put a younger, less lily-white, and more attractive face on the same old garbage.  He rejects global warming, his opposition to abortion is extreme even by Republican standards, and he injects religion into political talk to an alarming degree.  He represented a danger, but not an opportunity.

The Republicans have opted for a very different savior.  After yesterday, it's hard to see how anyone but Trump has any credible path to the nomination, unless the leadership pulls some Byzantine maneuver at the convention, which would enrage the Trumpolines into all-out revolt.  Be thankful that our opponents have, at least, chosen a messenger as repugnant as their message.


Anonymous NickM said...

I know you are a Dem Infidel but how do you feel about the Reps wrecking themselves because if they go with The Donald that is it for a generation. Something I have often been concerned about is the grotesquely two-party state of affairs in the USA. And seeing as one seems to be chucking itself off the bus then... This is not a criticism of the Dems at all. It is a criticism of the Reps for idiocy, ineptitude and chucking themselves under their own bus. I hope Hillary wins because whilst I don't entirely agree with her (and I am English so it isn't my fight is it?) God knows what Trump will do. And no, I don't want a Commander in Chief who is three stops from Dagenham. Between him and Putin is me!!!

16 March, 2016 07:19  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

In normal times, this would be the end of Rubio, but we don't live in normal times. He may lie low for a while and then come back -- but to what? We're watching the breakup of the Republican Party, and Rubio wouldn't be part of the Trumpista wing. Because three people were running for the open senate seat in Florida, Rubio won only 49% of the vote. So it was hardly an overwhelming win. Tuesday showed that he's not popular in his own state.

But I lived through the Nixon years and the famous "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore," only to see him come back and win the presidency. And I'm now living through the phenomenon of a "vulgar talking yam" who's admired and supported by a frighteningly lot of people.

I can now sadly say nothing surprises me anymore.

16 March, 2016 10:28  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Nick: Ever since the Republican party got more-or-less captured by the fundies, it's been pushing a Christian Nation vision of America which would make me a second-class citizen in my own country. And it's supported economic policies which are increasingly concentrating vast wealth in a few hands while reducing the rest of us to serfdom. To hell with the Republican party. The country would be better off without it.

I do have a few speculations on a post-Republican America -- see my comment on this post.

The thought of a man as belligerent and inflexible as Trump getting control of the US military (and nuclear weapons) is terrifying to any sensible person -- to quite a few Republicans as well, thank goodness. He'll almost certainly be the Republican nominee, but President, no.

Shaw: I suspect Rubio would have trouble making a comeback. He'd be the most natural fit for the fundie wing (or future splinter party) of the Republicans, but they're a shrinking constituency. Cruz or even Huckabee are more natural leaders for that bunch. Rubio's string of embarrassments during this campaign will be much harder to shake in the age of YouTube.

16 March, 2016 17:51  

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