Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Marco Rubio is as likely a GOP presidential nominee as any

By Richard K. Barry

The Week ran a short piece yesterday listing three reasons they believe Marco Rubio isn't going to be the GOP nominee in 2016.
1. Republicans almost always pick the next guy in line.

Ever since the untested Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) lost in a historic landslide in 1964, the Republican Party has nearly always picked a nominee who has previously run for national office. The one exception is George W. Bush — and he was the son of a former president.

2. Rubio would face a very tough field.

The 2012 Republican primaries included many candidates who had no shot at ever winning the nomination. The 2016 field is likely to be packed with plausible candidates. Seasoned politicians like Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and Paul Ryan are already lined up and mulling possible bids.

3. Rubio is still largely unknown.

 The national spotlight usually uncovers something unflattering in a first-time presidential candidate's past. In last year's GOP primary race, we quickly found out that Newt Gingrich had been a lobbyist for Fannie Mae, Rick Perry couldn't debate, and Herman Cain had issues with women who were not his wife.

They throw in a couple of bonus reasons as suggested by Harry Enten at The Guardian who adds that  Rubio is not liked by the GOP establishment and that he's too conservative. Enten concludes by writing that, "Given the hurdles a Rubio candidacy would face, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he never runs at all.”

Okay, let's take them one at a time:

1. Republicans may historically have picked the next person in line, but  can anyone tell me who that might be next time: Santorum, Bachmann, Gingrich, Perry, Cain? Come on. There is no next in line.

2. Rubio might face a tough field, but that field has its own problems. Christie isn't very popular with Republicans, from what I can tell. Jindal is dull as dirt. Perry is an idiot and we've got the film to prove it. And Ryan may be the one who is just too conservative. And forgive me for saying the obvious, but he didn't exactly shine brightly when it counted most. 

3. As for Rubio's lack of profile, that's what campaigns are for. And as for the idea that a campaign might uncover some unsavoury bits about a candidate new to the national stage, we'll just have to wait and see. 

On the bonus issues: The GOP establishment will get behind the candidate who can prove he or she can win - they always do. On the point that Rubio is too conservative, it's all in the packaging. The past is the past and voters are easily manipulated. Eric Fehrnstrom's Etch-A-Sketch comments were bad politics, but good strategy.

Look, I'm not a Republican, but none of the reasons given mean anything. Rubio has as good a shot at the nomination as any of them, better than most. 

It's fine to chatter away at this early stage, but let's agree to make some sense. 


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