On the one hand, yay! I'll take a center-right Tea Party/"establishment" hybrid over a center-left RINO dynast any day of the week....although we already knew that Jeb Bush is finished. On the other hand....booyay? I'm not quite sure whether it's net-good or net-bad that Rubes is dragging Gentle Ben back down to the second tier just as he was passing up Trump.
Ideologically Carson and Rubio are more or less a wash, being mostly acceptably conservative with some notable, even glaring exceptions here and there; both have hugely positive personal approval numbers (Rubio 62/19, Carson 64/19); both are articulate, both are likable. But while Rubio has little federal experience and no executive experience, Carson has no political experience whatsoever. However, on the other hand, Carson was overtaking Trump, and taking out and taking down the Democrat Trojan horse has to be considered the overriding priority if electoral disaster in 2016 is to be averted.
Leading to the latest $64 trillion question: Can Rubio overtake and take down Trump if he submarines the retired pediatric neurosurgeon from doing so?
FWIW, The Donald is displaying his concern in his usual inimitable fashion:
Republican co-front-runner Donald Trump is worried about rival Marco Rubio.
Discussing the proposed changes to the party's presidential debates in a Monday interview with Bloomberg Politics' With All Due Respect, Trump found a way to get in a dig at the Florida senator, saying he hoped the debate venues would be better air conditioned in the future.
“[Rubio] is the one that sweats the most,” Trump said at New York's Wollman ice skating rink. “He’s the youngest but I have never seen any human being sweat like that.”
Trump repeatedly jabbed at Rubio, calling him “highly overrated.”
“I don’t think he’s going to make it,” Trump said. “I said at one point he was a lightweight and I don’t mean to be insulting [<eyeroll>], but I do describe people somehow well. I described Jeb Bush as a low energy individual and it unfortunately for him that stuck.”
Trump criticized both Rubio’s absence from Senate votes, as well as his quick rise through the ranks as weaknesses. He even challenged those who have described Rubio as handsome, saying “I don’t know. I think I’m better looking than he is.”
Donald Trump insults rivals that he considers to be threats to his chances of winning whatever competition in which he is engaged. Okay, he insults everybody, but especially rivals who are threats to his chances of winning whatever competition in which he is engaged. And now rightwing Dezi is on his radar screens, closing fast. It's just a pity that the Floridian has to go through Gentle Ben to reach him.
Allahpundit, as is his want, posed an "A Christmas Carol"-esque alternate-history scenario of what might have been if Rubio had allowed Jeb to have his "turn":
There are too many strong candidates in [New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie’s lane to think he’s got a shot to win in New Hampshire, but it’s real easy to see how he might sail past Jeb. And for all the ink spilled lately on what a blow Rubio’s decision to run this year was to Bush, you’re seeing here for the first time how much of a blow it might have been to Christie too. Without Rubio in the race, Bush donors who are jittery about Trump would be looking hard at Christie as a centrist alternative to Trump who plays well with the donor class and performs well on the stump. Rubio might be as much of a Christie-killer as he is a Bush-killer.
Is it better for the "anti-Trump" to be a tempermental clone of him, able to match him verbal nad shot for verbal nad shot, with political and executive experience to boot, or a stark and serious stylistic and substantive contrast without the bombast, with superior charisma, and the helpful addition of sounding like he actually knows what the hell he's talking about?
All I can say is that that portion of the GOP electorate not under the Trump spell had better make up its collective mind on a single challenger and soon, because the sands in the ol' hour glass are beginning to run distractingly short.
UPDATE: Looks like Marco still has some work to do nationally.