Marco Rubio, The Other GOP Establishment Candidate?

I was expecting a howler of idiocy from the NY Times’ Nate Cohen after the beginning

Marco Rubio, who announced his bid for the presidency on Monday in a call to donors, has been called the “best communicator” in the Republican Party. Over and over and over again.

But he has little to show for it.

Of course, Obama had nothing to show for his time in office, both at the federal and state levels. But, that’s not where Cohen is going

He enters the fray with surprisingly low support. Despite four years of national prominence, he has averaged 6 percent of the vote in primary polls over the last few months. That’s the same or worse than five candidates who are thought to have a much smaller chance of winning the nomination: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie. Mr. Rubio is acceptable to many but, so far, the first choice of few.

Obama was at the bottom early on, as well. People have forgotten that Hillary was the choice of the media and Establishment Dems. John Edwards was the choice of the Netroots and young Dems. It was only when Edwards flamed out that Obama really rose in the polling and started competing with Hillary. One has to wonder how much Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” affected the Dem primary, keeping it going, allowing Obama to take it home.

Here’s what really caught my interest

His central problem is that Jeb Bush has found considerable support from the party’s mainstream conservative and moderate donors in the so-called invisible primary — the behind-the-scenes competition for elite support that often decides the nomination.

Mr. Rubio is competing for many of the same donors and operatives as Mr. Bush. Both not only come from the same state but also from similar ideological wings of the party. Despite the initial insurgent bid against Charlie Crist that made him a Tea Party hero, Mr. Rubio has always been an establishment-oriented candidate. The reporting about Mr. Rubio’s time in Washington suggests that he has followed an elite-driven path, following all the rules, seeking the guidance of the conservative intelligentsia, and trying to lead the party toward a compromise on immigration reform — the preferred means of the establishment-business wing of the party to expand the party’s general election appeal.

Other than Rubio’s foray into “amnesty-lite” the other year, Rubio would certainly be more viable and acceptable as an Establishment guy than Jeb Bush. He certainly carries much less baggage than Bush, and many of his ideas are more acceptable. If, though, you still think Rubio isn’t Establishment, let’s hear from mostly squishy Jennifer Rubin

So, too, with the GOP, which needs a makeover, not only generationally but also in tone, in focus and in the charisma category. Even the young men (e.g. Sen. Ted Cruz) seem older than they are and certainly embody the angry, harsh attitude for which Republicans have been pilloried. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (who could well be on a ticket with Rubio, in either the top or supporting role) is the “everyday” American Hillary Clinton can only describe abstractly. Walker is tenacious and pugnacious, qualities Rubio has not shown. Rubio, however, has plenty going his way. He has not been on the national stage forever, has a gee-whiz enthusiasm about him and is skilled to a degree we have not seen since Bill Clinton was in his prime. His passion is genuine, especially when it comes to fighting tyranny and pushing for the accessibility of the American dream. A son of immigrants who fled repression can express a keen awareness of the nature of repressive regimes and a hagiographic view of the United States. (At the Conservative Political Action Conference, Rubio declared, “See, America doesn’t owe me anything. I have a debt to America that I will never be able to repay. . . . For me America isn’t just a country, it’s the place that literally changed the history of my family, it’s a nation of equal opportunity, it’s the most powerful force for good the world has ever known.”)

Establishment attitude encapsulated. Ted Cruz as “angry and harsh”. Walker and Rubio as super awesome.

Either way, the debates should be interesting and spirited, something that may not happen on the Democrat side.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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