Rubio A Moderate? Only To Sad Establishment Hacks Like Chris Matthews
Another establishment politician, whose opinion not a single voter anywhere cares about, Tim Pawlenty, endorsed Rubio Monday. (Watch a little kabuki theater on CNN at the link.) Americans who live outside of Minnesota, where he served as an accidental governor, remember Pawlenty best as a pundit-created presidential candidate in 2012 who announced on YouTube in late May and withdrew less than 3 months later after coming in behind Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul in the Ames Straw Poll, not in a caucus or a primary, in a straw poll based primarily on how many weird food items you eat at a fair. Pawlenty is currently a DC lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, a pro-WallStreet bankster front group. A slew of meaningless establishment politicians have been jumping in for Rubio-- or against Trumpf/Cruz-- all Monday. Little-known and influence-free Nevada backbenchers Cresent Hardy and Mark Amodei joined Senator Dean Heller in announcing their love for Rubio in time for today's GOP caucus. And the highly unpopular (job approval 24%) Thom Tillis, a nothing freshman senator from North Carolina jumped in too. And so did Republican sleep-walker Dan Coats of Indiana, who checked out long ago. Weeeeeeeee....
Rubio will lose big again in his second home today but all will turn around for the Establishment candidate March first, right? It looks like Rubio is aiming to cement the public impression of him as a loser to Trumpf in every kind of state. In Massachusetts, which one operative told me would be "a lock" for Rubio, Herr Trumpf is already leading him 50-16%. Why don't real voters see Marco the way pundits-from-the-way-distant-past, like MSNBC's irrelevant Chris Matthews, do? Over the weekend, a pundit with a lot more savvy than the always superficial Matthews, Jonathan Cohn, laughed aloud at the establishment line-- now a drum beat-- that somehow Rubio is the "moderate" Republican. "You’re going to hear a lot," he giggled, "about Rubio consolidating support among moderate Republicans. In a three-way race against Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and real estate mogul Donald Trump, Rubio might be the most attractive alternative to the voters who were supporting Bush-- and who can’t abide Cruz’s stridency or Trump’s explosiveness. But don’t for a second believe that Rubio is a moderate. In fact, the real takeaway from South Carolina is that, with Bush exiting the race and Ohio Gov. John Kasich likely to follow sometime in the not-distant future, what was left of the GOP’s moderate wing is officially dead." Prediction: Chris Matthews will call Marco a "moderate" every day until he officially suspends his campaign-- and for the anguished weeks of chicken bone examining that follow.
Consider something that happened late last week, although it got relatively little attention amid all the other campaign news. In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Rubio confirmed that, if elected, he would rescind President Barack Obama’s executive action protecting so-called Dreamers from deportation-- and that he would do so on his first day in office.Is no one allowed to mention Paul Ryan until he is crowned the "compromise candidate" by the Establishment at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland in July?
Whatever Rubio’s reversal says about his consistency, or lack thereof, it speaks volumes about the ideological direction of the Republican Party now that South Carolina has apparently winnowed the presidential field. Cruz, Rubio, Trump-- all three want insanely large tax cuts for the rich, all three want to take health insurance away from millions, all three oppose same-sex marriage and now all three have taken up extremely conservative positions on immigration.
The candidates still have their differences, of course. One (Cruz) is a true-believing conservative, one (Rubio) is an ideological shape-shifter, and one (Trump) is a nativist bomb-thrower. But they’re all embracing policies at the far right end of the American political spectrum, leaving the middle without a champion among the leaders in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.