Monday, December 28, 2015

Marco Rubio Out In The Semifinals?

by JASmius

Read it and weep, rightwing Dezi fans:

A six point drop against Trump and a ten-point near-collapse against Senator Cruz.  What could possibly have happened between early and late December to bring about such a precipitous sag for Florida's retiring junior senator?

Allahpundit refreshes our memories:

[T]his is the most interesting before-and-after comparison I’ve seen regarding the big immigration brawl between Rubio and Cruz. That began, you may remember, with the spat between them onstage at the debate on December 15th and continued all the way through Christmas, with Cruz being grilled repeatedly by the media about his views on legalizing illegals in 2013. Didn’t he introduce an amendment to Rubio’s Gang of Eight bill that would have expanded work permits for illegals? (Yes.) Doesn’t that mean he supports amnesty too? (It’s complicated.) If so, doesn’t that mean that Rubio’s big liability on immigration isn’t as big as everyone thinks? If Rubio can convince voters that he and Cruz are basically the same on amnesty, even though Rubio co-wrote a terrible immigration bill and Cruz voted against it, then Cruz’s big advantage over him is lost.

Here’s evidence that Rubio’s not convincing anyone, despite the media focus on Cruz.

When a candidate has a big weakness, like Rubio does on illegal immigration, and s/he insists on running for president anyway, the best thing s/he can do is avoid talking about it to the greatest degree possible and admit your mistake and repent of it when you must.  Don't try to pretend that it isn't a weakness and convince, in this case, Republican voters that you've seen the light.  Which is what Rubes had been doing for the past couple of years  A near impossible sell, but it's the best he can do with such a bad, self-inflicted situation.

That isn't what Rubio did.  He talked about it more than the unavoidable minimum.  He talked about it a lot.  He even brought it up himself.  He tried to use that gaping disadvantage to jiu-jitsu Ted Cruz into the same tiger trap in which he has languished for two and a half years.  But since Cruz has a reputation for being a Tea Party warrior and Rubio has a reputation for being a Democrat patsy, all trying to muddy the immigration policy waters with Cruz (on which Rubio does have a point) accomplished was to remind voters who didn't need much reminding of the Gang of Eight fiasco all over again.  How an argument that amounted to, "Hey, look, everybody, Ted Cruz is as big an immigration sellout as I am!" was going to not only get Rubio over but neutralize his biggest weakness - particularly since Trump is the only one who could possibly have benefited from it - is, as it turns out, more than a little baffling.  It's even bled over onto other issues, with GOP voters rating Cruz higher on honesty, readiness to be commander-in-chief (despite Rubio's demonstrated superior knowledge of and on foreign policy), and fighting the Global Jihad.  And, note again, it's Cruz that appears to have the only legitimate chance of preventing Trumpageddon.

There's no other way to describe this than as a rookie mistake on Rubio's part.  Too clever by half, as the Brits refer to it.  Whereas - and I can't quite believe I'm saying this - Cruz has strategized effectively and brilliantly in keeping....well, he doesn't have any Republican friends, but he has kept the enemy (Trump) close anyway, using the Walker strategy of not engaging with the billionaire slumlord and giving him the attention-grabbing slap fights the latter wants and needs almost addictively, and above all else, staying on message.  And that is the key to winning elections.

I'm not nor have I ever been a Ted Cruz fan, but it's looking like I'm going to be for the next, hopefully, ten months and change.  A sentiment the GOP "establishment"/donor class had better damned well share if they want to thwart the Democrats' hostile takeover of the Republican Party.

UPDATE (12/29): Please, Marco, stop it.  Cut it out.  Quit while you're behind:

“For thirty years, this country’s been debating immigration and nothing is done on it. And so I figured, let’s try to get something going in the Senate, the best possible, given the fact that Harry Reid controls the Senate.

Your first mistake, since Harry (G)Reid wouldn't allow anything but what Barack Obama eventually decreed a year and a half later.  Your second mistake was putting your name on it.

We’ll then send it to the House, run by conservatives, and they’re going to make it a good bill,” Rubio said. “And then we’ll present it to the president and say, if you want to act on immigration, here’s the Republican offer. Take it or leave it.”

What made you think that House Republicans would pass a version appreciably more conservative than the Senate version?  Or that, even if they did, it wouldn't have been DOA back in the Senate?  Given what did happen - your bill being DOA in the House, John Boehner having the sense God gave a doorknob not to combust the GOP's control of the House by playing ball, as it were, and O imposing it by illegal executive edict - that outcome wasn't all that different from your conjured scenario, aside from your name being on that damned Senate bill.

Just when did you decide you wanted to run for president anyway?  And you thought that being the Latino face of amnesty was going to help you in a country whose general electorate opposes it by 2-1 and whose Republican electorate is against it by a 4-1 margin?

Conway then asked Rubio if he felt like he was “conned,” to which Rubio replied, “No, look, at the end of the day, I knew that what was being produced in the Senate was not what ultimately needed to become law.

Then why did you sign onto it?  McCain and Graham couldn't have found another sucker?

It most certainly was the best we could do under the circumstances we faced at the time because Harry Reid was the majority leader. And the hope was we could make it as strong as possible and then get the House to do something better.”

Either Marco Rubio is a bad liar or he is a far worse strategist than anybody ever imagined.  Neither perception is any more helpful to his White House ambitions than the Gang of Eight fiasco itself.

For the love of kimchee, Senator, do yourself a favor and stop talking about this before your campaign disintegrates before your very eyes.

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