Musings on Sports, Politics and Life in general

Media Darling: Marco Rubio


There was another GOP debate last night, as you might have heard. When it all was over, I gave my unvarnished opinion on how the candidate’s fared on Twitter:


When I awoke this morning, I was greeted with articles like this one in the Washington Post and this one in Politico. There are plenty of others out there, but if you’ve got a few minutes (that is, a few minutes you are not spending reading this post), perusing those two will do two things for you. First, you’ll immediately feel a need to purge lunch. Second, you’ll wonder (as I have) if they were watching the same debate as the rest of the country.

It is an important question, since most Americans still get their information from the same type of people who wrote those pieces. Obviously, the MSM was watching an old Dean Martin roast or something. Because otherwise, how could they possibly come to the conclusion that Marco Rubio was winner last night?

Of course, they weren’t watching a Dean Martin roast. And before you chime in, please let me state for the record that the pundits and writers who populate the airwaves and fill the white spaces in the newspapers are, for the most part, really intelligent people. But their problem is, as it has been for this entire cycle to date, that those really intelligent people haven’t been smart enough to leave the Beltway Bubble behind and get out with the people who are actually voting in these primaries. Because of that, we keep getting flawed coverage. They’ve been at a loss as to why Donald Trump polls higher than any candidate. They’ve been at a loss as to why Jeb! (or maybe just Jeb) is sinking more spectacularly than the Titanic. They’re at a loss as to why Ted Cruz is surging.

Everything Rubio did last night was geared towards winning over the Beltway crowd, which shows how bad of a pol he really is. Rubio punched all the buttons that pundits, spinmeisters and consultants love. He was polished. He was confident. He stood tall. He gave lengthy, wonky answers in a relatable way to policy questions. Heck, for once he even managed to leave the water bottle alone (mostly). So I can see how they thought he had a knock-out performance. His “optics” were durn near perfect, as if scripted by Hollywood. Rubio is, now that Jeb! is thoroughly discredited as a viable candidate, the establishment’s best hope. And last night, they projected their hopes on the canvas that is Marco Rubio.

But this year, the people doing the voting are paying attention to what these guys are actually saying. The candidates who are succeeding understand that the electorate is 180 degrees from DC. In fact, the quickest way for politicians to alienate themselves from the voters this year is to even have a whiff of “Eau de Establishment” on them. Optics (so long as nobody spontaneously combusts) are taking a back-burner to positions, and wishy-washiness is the second fastest way to obscurity. The fastest way? Taking positions that are at odds with what the electorate wants. This isn’t a new”phenomenon.” It’s been percolating through the GOP for a few years now. Ask Eric Cantor. Ask John Boehner.

So, when Rubio gave a vigorous defense of unnecessarily toppling foreign governments, you could hear the hiss as the tires on his campaign bus started leaking air. When he attacked Ted Cruz as being soft on defense because Cruz doesn’t think governments spying on their citizens is cool, you could hear the engine start to sputter. And when Rubio came out full-bore for illegal alien amnesty, the bus came to a screeching halt. Really, Rubio’s night was lost the moment Rand Paul hit him in the mouth (figuratively speaking) by labeling him “as the weakest of all on immigration” and Rubio had no retort. None.

Anyway, I feel somewhat vindicated: in post-debate polls on Brietbart and Drudge (which are decidedly unscientific), my three winners match up almost exactly – the difference being that Trump is 1, Cruz 2 and Rand Paul 3. but you know what? The NSRC – a Republican establishment organization – released their post debate poll, which was conducted using scientific methods. Guess what?

Trump: 43%
Cruz    : 27%
Paul     : 13%

But hey, there is some good news for the MSM. In the NSRC poll, Rubio finished with 8% of respondents saying he won, which is better than Drudge (7%) or Breitbart (6%).

3 responses

  1. Neither of the articles you linked to call Rubio the unqualified winner of the debate. WaPo asserted that he won certain interchanges, and Politico did a survey from campaign workers, not the general public. I think this puts a hole in your theory about the MSM:

    “The debate focused a bit too much on his Senate record on immigration for Rubio to be a slam-dunk winner. But he reaffirmed that he is a top-tier candidate — and deserves to be.”
    — from WaPo. To me, that’s a completely reasonable assessment.

    “Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz finally went toe-to-toe Tuesday night in Las Vegas – and Rubio came out on top.
    That’s according to Republicans in the POLITICO Caucus, our panel of the top activists, strategists and operatives in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

    More than 40 percent of Republicans picked Rubio, the first-term Florida senator, as the winner of the debate in a survey taken immediately following Tuesday night’s gathering. He was followed by Chris Christie, who was chosen as the victor by 21 percent in the New Jersey governor’s return to the main stage.

    Some Caucus members – particularly in Iowa, where Cruz is ahead of the pack in most of the public polls – disagreed with the overall assessment, arguing that the Texan protected his lead.”
    — From the Politico article. So, this one is influenced by spin, but it’s by a panel of PR people from the various campaigns, NOT the editors or writers of Politico. They are saying “This is who a focus group of insiders think won.” Which is another reasonable assertion.

    I think Trump won, because no one really laid a glove on him, and he didn’t do himself damage. So he remains in first place nationally, by a wide margin. Cruz wins with Evangelicals, and so could win Iowa. But Evangelicals aren’t a majority in most states or the nation.

    I don’t support Trump. I’m just giving a post-game reaction based on what I saw. Everybody’s truth is mostly personal and subjective, as opposed to matters of fact. We’re all going to look a bit foolish if the convention ends up brokered and they go for Romney again, or combine two of the “establishment” candidates as a ticket.

    December 16, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    • Rubio was, in the end, anything but a “winner.” He shot a giant hole in his campaign and will be lucky to survive past New Hampshire, at this point.

      December 16, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    • BTW, the point is, whatever the “insiders” are saying… You can count on the exact opposite. The primary electorate is driven by two things: anger at the insiders, and distrust of government.

      December 16, 2015 at 7:00 pm

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