Rubio’s ‘True Character’

Philip Klein discovers that Rubio is unreliable:

But to actually say that he would be “honored” by the chance to speak on Trump’s behalf at the GOP convention, and to downplay his previously stated problems with Trump as mere “policy differences,” is to prove the Rubio skeptics right.

That is, far from being an inspirational moral leader, Rubio has shown himself to be more of an opportunistic politician with his finger to the wind.

That appears to be true, but it raises the obvious question: what had Rubio done before now to make anyone expect him to do something different?

Goodbye, Bushism

Even more than George W. Bush’s own brother, Rubio tried to make himself an heir to Bushism, and to build a bridge between the last Republican administration and the one that he aspired to lead.

.. In domestic politics, that synthesis had four pillars:

  1. a sincere social conservatism rooted in a personal narrative of faith;
  2. a center-hugging “compassionate conservatism” on issues related to poverty and education;
  3. the pursuit of comprehensive immigration reform as a means to win Latinos for the G.O.P.;
  4. and large across-the-board tax cuts to placate the party’s donors and supply-side wing.

In foreign policy, Bushism began with the promise of restraint but ultimately came to mean hawkishness shot through with Wilsonian idealism, a vision of a crusading America whose interests and values were perfectly aligned.

.. For all his blunders, George W. Bush is still the only Republican candidate for president to win the popular vote in the last 25 years, and the only figure to successfully unite and lead a fractious party.

.. And they did want a kind of hawkishness — but not a Wilsonian hawkishness, in service to an ambitious grand strategy to stabilize or remake the Middle East. No, they wanted a Jacksonian hawkishness, one that promised to rain destruction on our enemies without the mess of nation building.

Trump Clarifies, and It’s Worse

Still, it was interesting to learn that Marco Rubio doesn’t care about climate change, considering he lives in a city that seems to be submerging rather rapidly.

.. But the one thing he didn’t backtrack on was his recent statement to CNN’s Anderson Cooper that “Islam hates us.” There were lots of openings. Trump was practically invited to say he meant only radical Islam. Or even to repeat one of his traditional softeners, like claiming he has Muslim friends. (“They say, ‘Donald, you brought something up to the fore that is so brilliant and so fantastic.’”)

The End of Marco-mentum

After Mitt Romney lost in 2012, the G.O.P. undertook an “autopsy” to determine how it should best adapt to the changing American electorate. If Republicans were intent on appealing to young voters and being more inclusive of minorities, especially Hispanics, Rubio represented a model face of the idealized Republican future — at least as it was imagined by the Republican Party leaders and many conservatives in the news media. To them, immigration reform was a kind of magic bullet that would allow the G.O.P. to expand its base and address the prescriptions of their autopsy while keeping the rest of the platform essentially unchanged.