A source tells Politico that Sen. Marco Rubio won an informal straw poll of donors at a recent Koch Brothers meeting.
We shouldn’t make too much of this. It’s not clear how many of the “megadonors” participated (how large the sample size), or how wide the margin of victory.
But considering Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Scott Walker were also reportedly in attendance, it would also be unwise to simply dismiss this as trivial. Wouldn’t you expect a Koch conclave — where donors presumably lean libertarian — to be the last place Rubio would shine??
This also makes me think about the amazing comeback story Rubio could be in the process of writing. Let’s ponder for a minute how improbable it is that Rubio could realistically be the GOP’s standard-bearer in 2016. He’s the son of immigrants who attended Tarkio College and had the audacity to challenge Charlie Crist, then-the incredibly popular sitting governor of Florida (who had the backing of the entire Republican establishment) — and win.
But that’s old news.
Consider the more recent obstacles Rubio would have to overcome on his way to the nomination. There was the water bottle incident during his State of the Union response. And there was the championing of an immigration bill that turned him into a pariah (remember the “MarcoPhones” and attacks by groups like Heritage Action, etc.?).
The competition is also fierce; the current GOP bench is deep, and the presidential field is large. To retain his seat in the U.S. Senate, Rubio would also have to run for re-election in 2016.
And — more recently — the entry of his mentor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush into the presidential scrum, threatens to dry up his Florida presidential money…
Yet, he’s still a force. And the fact that Rubio’s political future is still so bright is a testament to his vision, talent, and toughness.
No one who is considering a presidential run is more eloquent when it comes to talking about the American Dream. And while many of his competitors have mastered the art of indignation (which resonates when preaching to the choir), Rubio’s strength is in conveying optimism.
He still has a long way to go, but if Rubio somehow pulls this off, it’ll read like the script of an unrealistic underdog movie.