Quotes of the day

Ted Cruz’s case against the fast-rising Marco Rubio is that he is “the chosen one,” anointed by the media as the GOP’s establishment candidate

“I understand that in the media newsrooms and in the Washington establishment circles, Marco is the chosen one,” Mr. Cruz said outside a sports bar here. He went on to dismiss Mr. Rubio’s third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, which Mr. Cruz won. “In the media’s telling, bronze is the new gold.”…

“The media adores him,” Mr. Cruz said. “These are the same people who told us Bob Dole was the electable one, that told us John McCain was the electable one, that told us Mitt Romney was the electable one. You’re always the electable one until you win the nomination, and then you cannot possibly win the election.”…

“He’s the one who has agreed with the Democrats the most,” he said of Mr. Rubio. “That was their reasoning with Bob Dole and John McCain and Mitt Romney.”


Rubio waded into the crowd at the center of the room with a microphone and prefaced his stump speech with a two-minute story about ordering pizza to his hotel room for his kids the night before and people don’t just laugh—you can always count on political audiences for polite laughter—but the story was legitimately funny. Rubio then stood in the middle of the room with a microphone and delivered his stump speech like a freight train…

During the Q&A, he’s asked by a doctor about the future of medicine. Rubio starts by talking about the decline in physician legacies—how the children of doctors no longer become doctors—then moves to talk about the decline of specialists; then moves to explain how the dwindling number of specialists create access problems; and then concludes by explaining his reform plan. During the course of the morning he talks like this—fluidly and lucidly—about GMO foods, farming, mandatory-minimum sentences, criminal forfeiture, and vaccinations…

Some people believe that the candidates themselves matter; that apart from the dialectics of history or the economy or their voting records, that a bad candidate can be repellent and a great candidate can create a bond with voters that transcends pretty much everything else.

If you subscribe to this theory then in 2020, after Marco Rubio has won his second term by a landslide, you’ll laugh at how anyone ever thought Donald Trump might have won the Republican nomination.


On today’s program of Breitbart News Daily, Donald Trump’s Senior Policy Advisor, Stephen Miller, blasted donor-class favorite Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)79%
as the “front man for the open borders syndicate.”

Miller, former communications director for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and the Senate Budget Committee now serving as Trump’s Senior Policy Adviser, appeared on today’s program to provide policy analysis on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the immigration issue ahead of Saturday night’s debate.

“Marco Rubio is the front man for the open borders syndicate,” Miller declared.

“Understand this,” Miller told listeners, “Marco Rubio is determined to finish what he started with the Gang of Eight bill and to be President Obama’s third term on immigration.”


Think about it this way: What sorts of problems would a modern, forward-thinking Republican identify as America’s big 21st century challenges? And what solutions would they propose? Such a person might see an economy where technology and globalization generate both opportunity and anxiety for the middle- and working-class. A slow rising tide doesn’t seem to be lifting boats these days. While faster economic growth is necessary, it’s not sufficient right now to provide broadly shared prosperity and security.

That would be a reasonable diagnosis, one more sophisticated than merely blaming “Obamanomics” for more than a decade of subpar income growth and continued high inequality. And that’s pretty much what Rubio has been saying. And when it comes to solutions, a center-right policymaker accepting the above thesis might propose: 1. major tax relief for low-income Americans; 2. health care reform that covers more Americans with private insurance but at less cost than ObamaCare; 3. making higher-ed more affordable while providing more value; 4. updating Social Security to eliminate old-age poverty. and 5. supply-side tax and regulatory reform to promote innovation and economic dynamism. All of which Rubio is proposing.

But not all of Rubio’s rivals are dealing as realistically with America’s economic challenges, particularly those who would supposedly disrupt the GOP. Trump sells a moldy and fact-free economic nostalgia where tariffs will bring back jobs from Asia and mass deportations will lead to faster rising incomes. But at least there he’s offering some sort of plan, as opposed to health care and education. Zip on those fronts.


“Is Marco Rubio a genuine conservative?” Kuhner asked after listing Rubio’s support for “open borders,” “NSA spying,” and the Obama administration’s Trans Pacific Partnership during an onstage interview.

“On each of the issues you just listed, Marco’s views are virtually indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton,” Cruz replied. “Let me say this — if we nominate a candidate who’s pro-amnesty, we’ll lose. It’s not complicated. It’s real simple.”


The role played by Rubio as the rightward-most member of the Gang of Eight should actually allay some conservative concerns. Rubio pushed for an enforcement-first approach and a move away from chain migration. His main Democratic partner, Chuck Schumer, was stingy with concessions that might have provided more political cover. Rubio was the last of the hated eight to sign on but decided, in the end, that the bill was an improvement.

Then came the deluge: the Central American unaccompanied minor crisis, a conservative talk-radio rebellion and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss to a tea party unknown. Rubio was savaged as an example to the others.

But in his ill-fated immigration reform effort, Rubio demonstrated his approach to building influence: master the policy details, work hard, push in a conservative direction, attempt to persuade even bitter critics and accept incremental progress.


When it comes to substance, Rubio draws on an inventory of well-prepared rhetorical modules, with just enough policy to sound sophisticated, that can be inserted where necessary to handle, say, the how-would-you-handle-ISIS question (Sunni ground army!) or disability benefits (get rid of phony claims!). There’s not much sacrifice involved in any of Rubio’s proposals — even avoiding budget apocalypse, which he claims to be very concerned about, is just a matter of raising the retirement age and slowing benefit hikes for the well-off. Nothing that hasn’t been floating around Washington for years. There’s a heavy emphasis on electability. Big, difficult questions (like robots taking everyone’s jobs) are ignored. Tellingly, however, Rubio has added a Trump Module, where he alludes to anger at stagnant wages…

All of this is mildly terrifying. If Rubio’s a “robot,” as many have charged, he’s a sophisticated new model robot with simulated humanistic elements and a charm algorithm. And if he still seems insubstantial–which he does–it’s a higher level of insubstantial than you expect: You don’t get the impression he’s actually thought through these problems, but he knows his modules. He’s the ideal choice for Student Body President of America, the best band at Band Camp. And–as those who remember Gary Hart’s 1984 post-Iowa surge know–that may be good enough for Rubio to do very, very, well in New Hampshire, unless someone rudely interrupts him.

Why isn’t that someone Trump? Trump’s been attacking Ted Cruz lately, and leaving Rubio alone. Why? Cruz isn’t going to win New Hampshire. Rubio has a chance–certainly a chance to come so close he’s proclaimed the winner by the press. And Cruz isn’t going to destroy the nascent, effective populist insurgency that anti-amnesty activists and trade skeptics, led by Sen. Jeff Sessions, have built over the past three year–and that Trump is demonstrating has substantial, intense support among voters of both parties. Rubio will. Electing Rubio, after killing the Gang of 8 bill, is like marching against the Vietnam War in the 60s and winding up with Richard Nixon running things…

In short, for the Sessions movment–and a particular vision of America, in which even unskilled, non-bright citizens can work a full day and earn a respectable living–Marco Rubio is a state-of-the art K-Street kill shot, a sudden existential threat. We may have only a few days to recognize this.


Are Rubio’s critics right? Is he a chameleon, someone who will abandon his convictions in pursuit of his political ambitions? That’s a bit harsh, but there’s some truth to the notion that Rubio has a knack for being all things to all people. It’s Rubio’s chameleonlike nature that makes him the Republican candidate who’s best positioned to win a general election and to meaningfully advance conservative objectives once in office. The irony is that it’s also what makes Rubio so vulnerable in the Republican primaries

A number of observers, including Daily Beast columnist Eleanor Clift, have compared him to Bill Clinton, a politician singularly gifted at changing his positions to fit new political moods and moments. Over the course of his presidency, Clinton whipsawed from praising Germany’s social market economy to seriously contemplating Social Security privatization. He embraced calls for reducing legal immigration, and he later took Republicans to task for doing the same. Clinton famously raised taxes on the wage income of the richest Americans before less-famously signing off on deep cuts to their taxes on capital gains. And though there have always been ideological liberals who detested Clinton’s perpetually shifting principles, including many of the activists who fueled the candidacies of Howard Dean, Barack Obama, and now Bernie Sanders, Clinton has nevertheless long commanded the allegiance of rank-and-file Democrats.

The Clinton-Rubio comparison doesn’t quite work, both for reasons of scope and the resulting political outcome. The Florida senator, unlike our 42nd president, has flip-flopped on just one big issue: immigration reform. At this point, it’s possible that this single flip-flop could doom his candidacy.

How could Clinton get away with changing his views constantly while Rubio has been punished far more severely for much smaller-scale maneuvering? It’s more than just a difference in political talent or experience, though both factors may well play a role. While being Clinton-like is a great way to win over Democrats, it’s an entirely different story for Republicans. As political scientists Matt Grossmann and David A. Hopkins have found, Democrats are best understood as a coalition of interest groups that seek government action on their behalf. For Democrats, half a loaf is always better than none, and so the fact that Clinton moved the ball forward on core party priorities meant that Democrats were willing to forgive his occasional ideological deviations. In contrast, the GOP is more like the vehicle for an ideological movement, and its adherents are far more likely to take an all-or-nothing view. That’s an awkward fit for a politician like Marco Rubio.


You’d have to think now that Rubio, having been close to Jeb in recent years, intuited that his old patron would end up being a man out of time. Rubio, remember, ran as both a party leader (he was Florida’s House speaker) and a tea party idol during his improbable Senate campaign in 2010.

He learned then, better than his mentor, how to precariously balance the dueling impulses in the party — how to edify the rising anti-governing faction with seething rhetoric, while at the same time soothing the broader electorate with inspiring, aspirational themes…

And as a younger, nonwhite politician who watched Obama closely, Rubio understood, as completely as Bush did not, that résumé mattered for little in the post-boomer, entertainment-obsessed political age. What resonated more was a powerful story about how you got here or where you would take the country — something that reaffirmed, either through the power of identity or imagery or both, the things we wanted to believe about ourselves…

The last [Bush] heir will see himself pushed aside, eclipsed by the acolyte who refused to yield.