With his strong showing in Monday’s Iowa GOP Caucus, Marco Rubio is seen as having momentum in the 2016 GOP presidential race. Rubio has also been aided by recent endorsements from his former opponent Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott. When a presidential candidate is seen as having momentum and positive energy, he or she becomes the target of attack from his opponents. This has happened with Rubio.
A big example of this has been the multiple millions of dollars expended by Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise Political Action Committee attacking Rubio. This effort is an absolute waste of money which will rival John Connelly’s failed 1980 presidential campaign. It is sad that Bush, who is a talented and accomplished individual in many ways, should have to stoop so low. Part of the problem is that Bush’s PAC should have spent its money targeting Donald Trump, but Bush has proven incapable of dealing with Trump and has let the casino magnate get inside his head. Even a recent television ad by his presidential brother and ongoing New Hampshire campaign appearances by his mother Barbara will not be enough to make his campaign rise. I think jealousy or Rubio’s energy and success is a key component behind Bush’s flailing.
Donald Trump currently leads the New Hampshire polls, but Trump’s perpetually ongoing petulance, demonstrated by his sudden desire for an Iowa recount after a relatively gracious concession speech Monday night, reflect an individual who doesn’t have the intellectual beef and moral fiber to withstand the scrutiny of a presidential campaign.
Then there’s Chris Christie who has suddenly decided that Rubio is a bubble boy who won’t get into the arena and face the slings and arrows other candidates have been. Christie seems to forget that Rubio has been an active participant and victor in every GOP debate, has engaged in numerous town halls, appears regularly in television interviews, and has willingly slugged it out with all of his critics while retaining his dignity and recognizing that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are the enemies. Christie also engages in infantile bashing of legislators, when he needs to realize that legislators write and enact the laws governments carry out, fund government programs, debate and oversee the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of these programs, and periodically take tough votes about controversial public policies. Christie needs to understand that he actually must work constructively with Congress if he hopes to see his policies enacted instead of engaging in juvenile denigration of the legislative branch. Does Christie think he’ll engage in the illicit executive actions Obama has engaged in.
Ted Cruz deserved his victory in Iowa, but can’t escape the fact that his sometimes over the top rhetoric and infantile “Washington cartel” rhetoric have earned him enemies in his own party and make it unlikely that he’ll be able to enact legislation if he becomes President. While I admire Cruz’s intellectual acumen, I don’t see him as having the personal ability to appeal the electorate beyond the conservative heartland who could be receptive to the conservative message of traditional moral values, a strong national defense, and a government that does not seek to regulate every area of economic activity.
John Kasich is a man with a strong intellect and public service record. Yet he harps to much about his past accomplishments in Congress and as Ohio’s Governor without demonstrating significant ability to attract conservatives nationally. He has not made the case that he can defeat Hillary Clinton on his own accord, although Ohio’s electoral vote importance could end up seeing him become the Vice-Presidential candidate.
While there’s still no guarantee that Marco Rubio will be the GOP presidential candidate, his positive message of aspirational conservatism is gaining ground and repeated public opinion polls have shown him best able to match up with and defeat Hillary Clinton. Even many Democratic strategists fear Rubio the most as this YouTube ad demonstrates. Electability and the ability to broaden the GOP base need to be the deciding factor in the GOP presidential primaries. Despite the laudable accomplishments and attributes of many GOP candidates, their recent petulant attacks on Rubio show that they are coming to the realization that the GOP electorate wants someone who can win and offer a positive vision for America.