It looks as if, at least for the time being, Marco Rubio is the face of the mainstream Republican Party. I’m not concerned with this at all. In fact, on the whole, I kinda like Rubio. At least enough to want to hear more. He seems like a pretty straightforward guy, as politicians go, and I think he approaches his views genuinely. Make it past those wickets and you’ve gotten my attention. To be honest I haven’t yet read the Time article, nor do I think I know enough about him at this point to offer either my support, or my opposition. I do, however, look forward to learning more.
Unfortunately, though, our political discussions are rarely based on facts, or even common sense for that matter. Instead they are grounded in hyperbole, situational ethics, and one of my personal favorites; cognitive dissonance. Assuming the Rubio trend continues towards 2016 (admittedly far from a sure thing), it will be interesting to see how both parties react to the shoe being on the other foot. That shoe being a youthful one term Senator, energizing a minority demographic, with terrific speaking skills and gift for connecting with a plethora of other voting blocks.
The GOP already has a history of cognitive dissonance on things Obama has done, highlighted with a bit by Jon Stewart here. It’s funny, and insightful. I have also written in the past about the selective memory and hollow arguments on talk radio.
But I also have full faith in the Democratic party’s ability to make fools of themselves, as well. I wonder, will the same people who wrote articles defending Obama’s thin resume by saying things like, “there are two problems with the attack on Obama’s inexperience: it isn’t true, and it doesn’t matter.“ be able to resist the temptation to question Rubio’s youth? In 2008 some pundits were doubling down by quoting Obama, as he referenced Bill Clinton. Candidate Obama said, ““I remember what was said years ago by a candidate running for president, ‘The same old experience is not relevant. You can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience.’ Well that candidate was Bill Clinton. And I think he was absolutely right.“, Will those in the media jettison that line of thinking because the subject is a Republican vice a Democrat? I doubt it. I bet the hypocrisy happens. I see it coming a mile away.
What to do? Well, here’s three things I’d like to see:
1- Rubio needs to lead without campaigning. He doesn’t need to be on the cover of Time, or take any trips to Iowa or New Hampshire. If you want some gravitas, do it by leading the way on issues. Jump in on the sequester and immigration. In so doing, Senator, please take a stand you can still conceivably defend three years from now. Don’t pander to the base now and try to run to the center later. Principles matter.
2- Democrats, please, please, please avoid going after Rubio on the inexperience thing. That ship sailed in 2008. And when it did, you were at the helm. What was good for the goose is good for the gander. You will look like fools if you do this.
3- If the Dems do play the “inexperienced” card, they way for the GOP to answer it would be with positive facts about Rubio, not in pointing out the hypocrisy of the left. Otherwise we will just have more people shouting at each other about how bad/evil/mean/incompetent their opponents are, and not about any actual thoughts/ideas/plans for making a positive change in Washington.
I don’t know if this will happen. It’s obviously a long way to 2016. I just hope those that will be involved think about this stuff now. Maybe if they do we can avoid some of the “silly season” that rolls around every 4 years.