Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fearing Marco Rubio

“A Hillary Clinton match-up with Marco Rubio is a scary thought for Democrats,”

--New York Times, May 22, 2015

We just speculated that progressives may want an alternative to Hillary in next year’s battle for the White House. Hillary’s big problem, noted earlier here, is people don’t trust her.

The Quinnipiac Poll is a blog favorite, because it rightly considers Pennsylvania, along with Florida and Ohio, one of three swing states that could well decide the 2016 election. And Quinnipiac yesterday reported that in these three swing states, those polled found Clinton not honest and trustworthy.   Florida voters say no by 51–43%, Ohio voters by 53–40% and Pennsylvania voters by 54–40%.

If Clinton, as the New York Times suggested, is particularly concerned about facing Rubio in 2016, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll Peter Brown brought additional bad news to Clinton’s doorstep. Brown noted,
It’s a long way until Election Day, but in the critical swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has a tiny edge over the GOP field.
According to Quinnipiac, Rubio trails Clinton by only 47-44% in Florida and 45-42% in Ohio, and beats Clinton in Pennsylvania 44-43%.

As Brown indicated, Republican rivals along with Clinton worry about Rubio. Conservative John Podhoretz, in the New York Post, writes:
Ever get the feeling the candidate who is making other candidates worry the most is Marco Rubio? Your feeling is on the money. As the debates get closer, you can be sure that if Rubio remains at or near the top of the leader board, [GOP] rivals will target him before anyone else — with particular emphasis on his immigration-liberalization flip-flop.
What makes Rubio so frightening to others is, simply, that he is a freakishly gifted politician — and a daring one. He chose to challenge the sitting governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, for the Republican nomination for Senate in 2009 when Crist was at 60% in the polls and he was at 3% — and not only knocked Crist out of the GOP race but then beat him by 20 points when Crist ran as an independent in the general election. It was an unprecedented triumph, like a rookie pitcher winning 25 games, and only another politician knows just how seriously he must take a rival like that.
Jeb Bush, I believe, is “another politician” who takes Rubio seriously; so seriously, in fact, that Bush launched his presidential campaign way last December, hoping to head Rubio off while Marco was still weighing whether in 2016 to go for the presidency or run for senatorial re-election.

Podhoretz ends by suggesting Rubio’s political skills truly set him apart:
here’s the real thing about Rubio. I’ve listened to him and watched him talk, both in private sessions and on the Senate floor in speeches you can see on YouTube. He is, without question, the most naturally gifted off-the-cuff political speaker I have ever seen.
Returning to Democrat worries, liberal concern about the Hispanic Florida senator recently drew the attention of conservative Jack Kelly. In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Kelly discusses the New York Times’ recent, strained effort to tear down Rubio, an effort likely motivated by fear:
Marco Rubio has gotten four traffic tickets since 1997, the NY Times reported June 5. One every four to five years may be below average for Florida. So [the NY Times] beefed up their story by adding in the 13 tickets his wife got[!]
Rubio’s “luxury speedboat”
Rubio paid off his student loans and mortgages with proceeds from a book advance. But he also, frowned the NY Times, “splurged on an extravagant purchase: $80,000 for a luxury speedboat" [see picture].
Kelly doesn’t think the NY Times' deep interest in Rubio’s driving and finances has hurt Marco at all:
The smears boosted [Rubio’s] fundraising, created sympathy for him among Republicans, making it more likely they’ll nominate the person Democrats fear most. The fail has been so epic that MSNBC talk show host Chris Hayes suspects the stories were planted by Rubio’s staff. Other GOP contenders are green with envy. What can they do, they wonder, to get the NY Times. . . to smear them? 

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