Rubio: You’d better believe I support Mitch McConnell’s reelection

posted at 6:41 pm on October 21, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via the Corner, here’s what it means to be an establishment/tea party “hybrid” candidate for 2016. After spending three weeks quietly backing Cruz’s “defund” strategy in order to try to rebuild cred with conservatives, Rubio now has to turn around and endorse the one guy in Congress more than any other whom conservatives see as having sold out the defunders. Makes me wonder if that’s a net gain or a net loss for him with the target audience. Does it matter more to righties that he supported Cruz this month or that he’s supporting McConnell next year? Right now, probably the latter. Two years from now, the former.

My guess is that Rubio will take much more of a beating on the right for his endorsement of McConnell than Rand Paul will take for his, even though Paul’s support is more important to McConnell’s chances of winning. Unlike Rubio, Paul’s backing is more than just rhetorical, too: Remember, Jesse Benton, who managed Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign and will surely play a key part in the Rand 2016 operation, is now managing McConnell’s campaign (albeit while “holding his nose”). That’s a present from Paulworld to a major establishment figure who’s at serious risk of being unseated in a primary in Kentucky otherwise. Rubio’s endorsement might not matter, but if Rand had come out hard for McConnell’s opponent, Matt Bevin — who’s been endorsed by Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund — that could have seriously imperiled McConnell. Instead, Paul’s playing ball — and yet Rubio’s likely to hear more grassroots grumbling over this clip than Paul has so far. Why is that?

The obvious answer is that Rubio took the lead on amnesty and Paul didn’t, but (a) that hasn’t produced any damaging legislation — so far — and (b) Paul isn’t implacably opposed to comprehensive reform himself. Meanwhile, not only has Paul given a major boost to McConnell in Kentucky, he was quick out of the gate to back Sen. Mike Enzi over tea-party favorite Liz Cheney in Wyoming at a moment when she was trying to gain traction among the grassroots. If you’re all about replacing Beltway dinosaurs with younger conservative candidates, Paul’s certainly done more to thwart that effort so far than Rubio has. The real reason he gets more of a pass on this stuff than Rubio, I think, is that his dad’s legacy gives him an opportunity to triangulate that Rubio lacks. When Rubio gets elected in Florida as the conservative choice and then makes nice with Beltway figures, he’s “selling out”; when Paul does the same thing, he’s simply proving to a lot of mainstream righties that he’s not as radical as his old man. That’s the whole point of lending Benton to the McConnell campaign, I think. When establishmentarians look at the 2016 field and wonder if Rand Paul is too fringey to trust with power, he can point to his efforts for Mitch the Knife (and Enzi) as proof that he’s willing to work with the dinosaurs to their mutual benefit. And on the flip side, grassroots righties who’d otherwise be annoyed by Paul working with McConnell can say, “Well, he’s only doing that for political reasons, not because he really supports McConnell.” Perceptions of Ron Paul have created some space for Rand.

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Comment pages: 1 2

McConnell SHOULD be toast, but there are 17 million reasons why he’ll be almost impossible to beat: $17 million in his war chest. That’s an unbelievable amount and can buy a whole lot of advertising in an media market like KY.

SheVee on October 21, 2013 at 11:28 PM

I do not like Rubio and never have. I do not trust Paul, and never have. Rubio is absolutely 100% GOPe. Rand Paul is a cypher that needs to be decoded. I will not support either, although Paul has an opportunity to be more forth coming about his ideology. Rubio has 0 chance of ever gaining my trust.

astonerii on October 21, 2013 at 7:31 PM



Solaratov on October 21, 2013 at 11:31 PM

I’m always amazed! Everything that we knew about Obama, and he was elected president. Then, after four years of Obama destruction, he was reelected. Now, we know some unsavory things about McConnell, and some people want to reelect him. I guess ole Hillary had it right “what difference does it make?”.

mobydutch on October 21, 2013 at 11:36 PM

Mitch McConnell will never be re-elected to the Senate and if he somehow manages to survive his primary, he won’t survive the general.

You can take that to the bank!

TheRightMan on October 21, 2013 at 11:47 PM

Rubio knows and works with McConnell, so maybe–just maybe–he knows/understands him better thana the know-it-all rightwingers at HA.

Or perhaps he now realizes that there really is no winning with the purity brigade, which demands that every box be ticked, 100% conservative perfection. Nevermind that there is no such thing as perfection in human beings–except for camera-hog Ted Cruz, of course.

I’m guessing Rubio sees more good than bad in McConnell, which proves that he has more tolerance, humility, and functioning brain cells than your average TruCon.

Meredith on October 21, 2013 at 11:52 PM

The problem with Rubio isn’t that he’s not a 100% perfect every-box-ticked conservative candidate. The problem is, he’s a lying traitor on a fundamental issue. That applies to him and his whole gang. None of them ran for election saying, “I’m for amnesty, but take me as I am, I’m not pretending to be perfect.” They were all against amnesty when they ran for office, and then for amnesty. They all took the base for suckers.

David Blue on October 22, 2013 at 3:11 AM

Perhaps we should have known that an “up and coming” politician might be clever enough to know how to pander to both sides. He keeps trying to convince the base that he agrees with them and they want to believe him because he’s young, smart and Hispanic.
But he seems at heart to be another faux conservative.

He wants to get elected to higher office more than he wants to advance conservative principles. Sort of disappointing.

katiejane on October 22, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Reminder: Marco Rubio is a liar.

Panther on October 22, 2013 at 8:41 AM


Sherman1864 on October 22, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Meredith on October 21, 2013 at 11:52 PM

To know so much with so little.

Tis amazing.

Sherman1864 on October 22, 2013 at 9:06 AM

I say it costs them nothing to make the endorsement, and they possibly gain favor from the minority leader. And it has little impact on the outcome.

Now, ‘refusing to get involved’ or ‘refusing to endorse’. Now that’s a statement! Ted Cruz stands out as the leader again.

Vanbasten on October 22, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Comment pages: 1 2