Today, Ben Smith spent some time contemplating Marco Rubio’s bright sheen. “He’s already hearing every day (and brushing it off) that he should run for president in 2012,” Smith writes. “[A]t the inevitable moment in the cycle (as in every party, every cycle) when Republicans panic about their field of nominees, he’s likely to be uniquely attractive: young, conservative, Hispanic, and from a swing state besides.”
Smith goes on to say that, “The echoes of Obama are unmistakable, and the context of Obama both removes Rubio’s youth and inexperience as issues and intensifies the Republican need for a new face.”
Sure, there’s the youth. And then there are the four reasons why Republicans really like Rubio.
1.) He’s not embroiled in the wrong kind of scandal: Nobody has a clean nose in Florida; if their snouts aren’t covered in sugar, they’re dripping with less savory substances. In keeping with the state’s policy of at least one scandal per famous person, Rubio caught hell for most of March over his use of a GOP credit card and his professional associations with more blatant thieves. According to credit card receipts released to the St. Pete Times and the Miami Herald, Rubio spent money on musical instruments and nice dinners and possibly a fancy haircut and/or back massage. Because he did not spend the money at a club where women with exposed breasts feign sex with one another, his lack of spend-thriftyness can be explained away as “How politics work.” In short, he’s not perfect, but he’s perfectly imperfect.
2.) He’s not white: According to the Census, “Castro-hating Cuban” is not an actual ethnicity, but it might as well be, for it is the Holy Grail–the Golden Snitch, if you will–of identity politics. Due to Rubio’s staunch anti-communism, he’s palatable to Cold Warriors who distrust, say, Mari Aponte. Thanks to his lack of an accent, he’s palatable to people who hate people with accents. And thanks to the fact that he’s not white, he’s both comparable to Obama and liberals can’t complain that the Senate lacks color if he gets elected.
3.) He’s not real: Have you been to Marco Rubio’s campaign site? He holds no controversial positions and is liked by everyone. He is a strict constructionist, a gun lover, an opponent of illegal immigration, an anti-taxer, a pro-environment pro-drilling pro-nuclear anti-environmentalist, a pro-lifer, an anti-unionist, and a budget balancer. Dick Armey, Jeb Bush, George Will, Laura Ingraham, David A. Keene, Mike Huckabee, and the Family Research Council all like him and THEY DON’T EVEN LIKE ONE ANOTHER.
4.) He can’t lose: No Republican anywhere has Rubio’s momentum. Charlie Crist is dead in the water and Kendrick Meek has the last name “Meek.”