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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Oncoming Republican Mess in Florida

Posted by on Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 11:46 AM

It's easy to dismiss BuzzFeed as that website that exists solely because most Redditors don't realize they can sue someone for using their photograph without permission. But every once in a while, they knock out one of these long pieces about the tension between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio as both men prepare to run for president, and I'm suddenly filled with gratitude that BuzzFeed exists. Last night, McKay Coppins published a piece about the old-money crowd that runs at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, and the power that manipulates politics behind the scenes:

To the national punditocracy, the question seems almost absurd. Of course Rubio, with his magazine covers, well-delivered hip-hop references, and youthful charisma, will beat out the old, fat, white guy who's been out of office for five years, and shares a last name with one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history.

But the Biltmore crowd isn't so sure. Spend some time chatting with the local politicos here, and you get the sense that Rubio is still viewed as the kid straining to fill out an oversized suit, not quite ready for the grownups table.

Late last December, the Tampa Bay Times polled a bipartisan group of the state's most "plugged-in political players," and, strikingly, most of them believed Bush would run, and Rubio would sit 2016 out. What's more, an overwhelming majority — 82 percent — said Bush would be a stronger candidate.

I know we're preparing for the first State of the Union of President Obama's second term tonight, and 2016 predictions are absolutely inane, but this piece really got my juices flowing. It would be a disaster for Rubio if he didn't run this time. Unless you are something really special—Ronald Reagan, say—you only get one shot at the presidency. The Clinton supporters urging Obama to wait his turn in 2008 knew that. The stars align for a very short time, and then you're all of a sudden an also-ran. I don't think Rubio has it in him to be a repeat candidate. If Bush convinces him to not run in 2016, he'll be stuck in the Senate forever.

If Bush and Rubio both decide to run, we're going to see a mentor attack his star apprentice. It's not going to be pretty. And I'm not sure Rubio can survive the kind of old-school shitstorm that could descend from the mainstream Republican Party. They like their orderly ascensions to power. But if Rubio manages to destroy Bush, he'd be the most formidable Republican presidential candidate since Reagan.


Comments (12) RSS

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Why do so many people assume that the best answer to an open Republican candidacy is to nomninate somebody named Bush?
Posted by Clayton on February 12, 2013 at 11:53 AM · Report this
Original Andrew 2
There's also the small problem that everyone except the media hates Rubio's fucking guts.
Posted by Original Andrew on February 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM · Report this
You say (most) people only get one shot at the Presidency - but in the postwar era people who ran twice (once making a sincere attempt at the nomination and once or more claiming the nomination) include Stevenson, Nixon, Reagan, Dole, Gore, McCain, and Romney. And I may have missed some.
Posted by Warren Terra on February 12, 2013 at 12:19 PM · Report this
With the GOP the rule seems to be the runner up in the last primaries is the guy in the next election.
Posted by Seattle14 on February 12, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
motofly 5
"...shares a last name with one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history". Is patently absurd, misleading and mean spirited. He shares a last name of TWO of the most unpopular presidents in modern history.

Posted by motofly on February 12, 2013 at 12:29 PM · Report this
originalcinner 6
@2 The Hispanic media ain't too fond of Rubio.
Posted by originalcinner on February 12, 2013 at 12:39 PM · Report this
#3: You will notice that only 1/3 of your listed also-rans actually won.
Posted by DrJamesIncandenza on February 12, 2013 at 1:39 PM · Report this
@#7 those aren't terrible odds. At most, 1/2 of major-party nominees are going to win; if you discount people who seek re-election and count them neither as being a new nomination nor as being a new victory, the odds dip down towards 1/3 if you assume re-election (and get better than 1/2 if you assume electoral defeat for the incumbent; it's complicated. But re-election seems to happen more often than not).

Also note: when you say 1/3 that number comes with an asterisk - Gore won the popular vote, and it's pretty clear he would have won the electoral college had all the interpretable attempted votes been counted. Furthermore, if you think you can statistically distinguish 2/6 from 3/6, I'd love to learn your methods.
Posted by Warren Terra on February 12, 2013 at 3:08 PM · Report this
Frank Blethen's vodka distiller 9
Rubio's a male Sarah Palin.
Posted by Frank Blethen's vodka distiller on February 12, 2013 at 4:53 PM · Report this
@4 by your logic, either Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum will be the next nominee.
Posted by Clayton on February 12, 2013 at 7:44 PM · Report this
passionate_jus 11
Um, what are you smoking? Rubio is a horrible candidate. He's also up for re-election in 2016. There's a great chance that he can be defeated for re-election to the Senate. He's not even that well liked in Florida.

He only one the first time because Democrats were divided between Meek and an Independent Charlie Crist.

He's not ready for prime time.

And outside of Florida, who does he excite? Not Latinos in CO, NM, NV or VA, that's for damn sure!
Posted by passionate_jus on February 13, 2013 at 12:19 AM · Report this
sheiler 12
well a slug match might actually be a help to whomever wins .... if it's anything like the primary between Obama and Hillary. But then again it might continue being the circus it was last go around.
Posted by sheiler on February 13, 2013 at 7:05 AM · Report this

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