The irrelevance of Marco Rubio

Rubio’s world changed after 2016. He became a senator with no further political prospects. There are no presidential elections happening anytime soon that he could run for. The base is completely Trumpified. He remains unforgiven for his attacks on Trump, despite apologizing for them, and is resented by the Never Trumpers for becoming Trumpy. Being characteristically a squish, he can be neither a fierce Trump critic like Justin Amash nor a full-on Trump cheerleader like Lindsey Graham. Rubio follows the base, so of course he opposed calling witnesses for the Trump impeachment trial, but no amount of groveling and ingratiating ever seems to bring him closer to Trump’s orbit—at least not yet.

In the meantime, the right is rethinking old orthodoxies. And so is Rubio.

Until very recently, you wouldn’t expect to hear the term “national industrial policy” in an American context. Maybe coming from the mouth of a Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, or Fidel Castro, but not a Republican senator. But the erstwhile anti-socialist Marco Rubio wants an industrial policy for America. And he has been speaking in favor of “common-good capitalism,” which is another term for “managerial economy”—what the democratic-socialists in Europe support: a collectivist economy with central planning. Remember Hayek’s whole “central planning is bad” shtick? Never mind that.