Marco Rubio has never worked far from politics. Rubio despite his young age has long been a figure that has been earmarked for “great” things by the GOP hierarchy. In a party where waiting ones turn has been a general rule since the Eisenhower days, Rubio had been fast-tracked by many to buck this trend and become the new face of the party both in Florida and nationally.
It took mere minutes after Rubio arrived in Tallahassee a legislator elected in an early 2000 Special Election for him to become a sensation. With his boyish looks and mastery of the Ronald Reagan-induced GOP Supply Side talking points, he was fast tracked to become a star. Rubio became a leading spokesperson for the right in his first full session in 2001 attacking any idea of tax reform while embracing the for-profit school industry both in primary and secondary education. This is especially ironic considering his attacks on Trump University in recent days.
Rubio’s quick emergence as a GOP stalking horse led to the inevitable appearance that he was being passed along quickly for various reasons related to his age and ethnicity. Whether or not this is true, it no doubt created a sense of entitlement in the man which now is coming out into the open. How dare a political neophyte or perhaps even a charlatan like Donald Trump take away from Rubio what is rightly his! Rubio’s destiny was to be President, and he is willing to say or do anything including cost his party the November election in 2016 to accomplish this.
Coming from the world of Miami politics and the Florida Legislature where the great battles are fought not with Democrats but within the GOP, Rubio is uniquely positioned to understand the Trump threat to the faction of the GOP, hailed as “mainstream” by much of the media (but in fact much more conservative than Trump’s developing faction on economics and more hawkish on foreign affairs) and has as part of his petulance taken on the leadership of this group.
Many Republicans like to think Rubio could have been the GOP’s Barack Obama. But Rubio’s desperation to get elected and play internal partisan games in this campaign very much might damage him for the future. The new shape of the GOP post-2016 is unclear, but given Trump’s popularity, even if he fades, one has to believe the party might have to take on more populist tones to be successful. The base of the GOP has clearly shifted away from the type of economic rhetoric of Reagan and the foreign policy of Dick Cheney. Marco Rubio might have been the perfect stalking horse for the GOP of 1980 to 2006, but in the post Iraq War and Supply Side era, he’s dated – even if his fresh face and boyish looks would indicate otherwise.