Rubio, Rubio, wherefore art thou, Rubio?


The tale of Marco Rubio is in some ways a sad but familiar one of a man whose vaulting ambition leads him to try and grab the crown before it is his time and fails. We have the spectacle of a young man, gifted with good looks, fluency of speech, and the ability to win elections at the state and local level, who then decides that he could become president even before he has built up a record of concrete achievements. In order to do that he takes careful stock of whose support he needs and carefully cultivates everyone who can help him on his way, such as the party establishment and big money backers.

And for a while that strategy of being all things to all people in the Republican world seemed to be working. He seemed to well liked and becomes many people’s second choice, the person who would inherit the nomination when the others fell. The party establishment seemed to like him, as did some of the big money backers. But then came that disastrous robotic debate performance and his poor performance on Super Tuesday and after that his decision to get down and dirty with Donald Trump.

This report describes his downward slide.

Rubio’s pivot to Trump was by all accounts deliberate and carefully planned. With the exception of his debate meltdown in New Hampshire — when he was mocked for robotically repeating talking points — Rubio had a strong early February, slowly gaining momentum, money and high-wattage endorsements. Once Trump beat him and Cruz in South Carolina and Nevada, however, Rubio’s supporters agitated for him to take a more aggressive stance or risk letting Trump run away with the nomination.

Not 12 hours later, Rubio’s stump speech had changed — dramatically. At a rally in downtown Dallas, Rubio spent close to eight minutes taking potshots at Trump, even as his audience’s titters turned to nervous unease.

The speech was carried live on cable news. Donors swamped Rubio and his advisers with messages urging him to abandon the insult-fest. Eventually, after he lost 10 of 11 states on Super Tuesday, Rubio dropped the line of attack.

The results were not pretty. Rubio lost 18 of the next 20 contests, with his only wins in Minnesota’s caucuses and Puerto Rico’s primary. The ultimate humiliation came on Tuesday, when Rubio performed so poorly in four states — he got just 5 percent in Mississippi — that he was shut out from gaining any delegates.

Realizing that he had disappointed many of his backers, Rubio then apologized for sinking into the gutter and promised to not do it again. The last debate saw the earlier Rubio re-emerge and was quite civil and he even said he would support the eventual nominee, even if it were Trump. But then a few days ago, he seemed to have turned against Trump again, just before today’s primaries.

The other problem for him has been his relationship with casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Adelson has been dangling his promises of support in order to get Republican candidates to increase their already fervent support of the one issue he cares about, and that is Israel. While Rubio had been successful in getting the support of other big money supporters whose main interest was Israel, Adelson was the big prize. Adelson had promised that he would heavily back one of the Republican candidates the way he did Newt Gingrich in 2012 and they all dutifully lined up to kiss his ring and attend his several ‘auditions’. If there has been any candidate who has ardently courted Adelson’s money it has been Rubio.

In the last debate Rubio even referred to the Occupied Territories as ‘Judea and Samaria’. Many people may have missed it but that is the name that Israeli expansionists use to refer to support their claim that those territories are biblically theirs. For such people, there is no Occupied Territory, just parts of Israel that is rightfully theirs and that they have simply reclaimed. Rubio was issuing a dog whistle that he was one of them, though that may be superfluous since he was already speaking of Palestinians is the harshest of terms.

Rubio even made a Hail Mary move late in the day in order to get the backing of Adelson. Philip Weiss writes that Rubio created what he calls a ‘national security advisory council’ consisting of a large number of neoconservative war hawks and other members of the Israel lobby. But even this increased groveling did not finally tip Adelson into his camp and release money to revive his moribund campaign.

It looks like Adelson has played them all for suckers. After getting them all except Trump to adopt heavily pro-Israel stances, he has not opened his wallet to any of them.

Despite the record sums being spent, big names are surprisingly absent from the donor rolls. Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson — who spent at least $98 million on the 2012 presidential race — has not donated to a Super PAC in 2016. Cash from the Koch brothers is also MIA this primary season. And representatives of both Adelson and the Kochs tell Rolling Stone they are not behind a top “dark-money” group spending millions to elect Rubio.

So today will see if Rubio’s gamble for running for the presidency this year pays off, though the prospects are not promising. If he loses, he may wonder if should have tried converting to Judaism. After all, adopting new religions seems to come easy to him. He already has been a Catholic, a Mormon, and an evangelical Christian and currently seems to have some kind of allegiance to all three. Adding on yet another religion should not be that hard for him. By becoming a Jew, he would also have a grand slam of religion that maybe could appeal to pretty much everyone.

Rubio’s effort to be all things to all people has resulted in him lurching from one strategy to another, adopting one persona after another, until it is not clear who he is. Maybe he can reinvent himself once again and try once more.

Comments

  1. tecolata says

    Remember – wherefore means “why”, not “where”.

    OK, my mother was an English teacher, but you are asking “why are you Rubio?”
    How about “wherefore art thou such an a-hole, Rubio?” I think that will satisfy all of us.

  2. Mano Singham says

    tecolata,

    Yes I was aware of that distinction but the post header was too good to pass up!

  3. StevoR says

    In the last debate Rubio even referred to the Occupied Territories as ‘Judea and Samaria’. Many people may have missed it but that is the name that Israeli expansionists use to refer to support their claim that those territories are biblically theirs. For such people, there is no Occupied Territory, just parts of Israel that is rightfully theirs and that they have simply reclaimed.

    Well, actually, there’s a lot more to it than that – starting with the facts that :

    1) These territories are technically and legally disputed rather than occupied

    2) Judea and Samaria are the official Israeli names for those areas :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judea_and_Samaria_Area

    3) Based on the long historical and demographic reality that these areas were Jewish (and Samaritan) over millennia with continuing Jewish presence and cultural significance and rights to those lands. The term “West Bank” OTOH historically and de facto implies that these areas are part of Jordan – the main country consisting of two-thirds of the former British Mandate (which was previously captured from the Turkish Ottoman Empire in WWI when the Turks chose the Axis side of the fight) and otherwise known as the “East Bank.”Jordan renounced its claims to Judea and Samaria in 1988.

    @ 1. Tabby Lavalamp : Odd, I could’ve sworn I’ve mentioned these objective, (if not sufficiently well known) historical facts more than once here. Guess you just haven’t been paying attention?

  4. StevoR says

    As for Rubio he is now officially out. I guess that sad robot just suffered too much earlier water damage to quite work right ..

  5. Holms says

    #4
    1) And the dispute is that they are legally/illegally occupied. Occupation IS the dispute.

    2) And the rest of the world calls that area the West Bank. The second line of your source contains “It is officially regarded by Israeli authorities as one of its administrative regions, though not recognized as such internationally.” Naturally, you stopped paying attention literally halfway through that sentence, because only the first half was useful to your blatant bias.

    3) You know who else had a ‘historical and de facto claim to the West Bank? Jordan. Oops no, Jordan had historical, de facto, and de jure claim; a distinct difference.

  6. Vincent says

    I once labeled “Judea and Samaria” on a map quiz as part of learning middle east geography in biblical times back in Catholic school. Seems relevant to the present day. (/sarcasm)

  7. StevoR says

    @#6.

    1) And the dispute is that they are legally/illegally occupied. Occupation IS the dispute.

    Well, actually, no. it isn’t. The dispute is over whether Israel and its eight million Jewish people facing the threat of genocide from Islamist extremists get to survive or whether the Arab side “wins” and gets its wish to exterminate the Jewish state and replace it with an Islamist Kaliphate. The Arabs have used (& still use) military force, economic boycotts and blockades, diplomatic strategems including media propaganda campaigns aimed at delegitimising Israel’s existence and right to defend itself more all with this goal ultimately in mind.

    Note that the Arab side in the Arab-Israeli conflict could have created yet another state of their own in Judea and Samaria many times had they agreed to live alongside Israel in peace which was what was hoped would result from the 1990’s Oslo accords (The famed Rabin-Arafat agreement) which the Arab side ultimately rejected and caused to fail.

    Note too the many reasons listed here :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2hZ6SlSqq0

    “Outstanding Explanation: Why Israel can’t withdraw to its pre ’67 borders line “ on youtube. BTW. If you think this clip is wrong, then you’ll need to explain and show why with supporting evidence and citations required.

    2) And the rest of the world calls that area the West Bank. The second line of your source contains “It is officially regarded by Israeli authorities as one of its administrative regions, though not recognized as such internationally.” Naturally, you stopped paying attention literally halfway through that sentence, because only the first half was useful to your blatant bias.

    Guess you didn’t pay attention to the facts listed in my point 3 in comment #5. The West Bank refers to Jordan and Jordan has given up its claim to Judea and Samaria hence the term is no longer relevant or factual. Nor does it change the fact that the official correct name for Samaria and Judea is,well, Judea and Samaria.

    3) You know who else had a ‘historical and de facto claim to the West Bank? Jordan. Oops no, Jordan had historical, de facto, and de jure claim; a distinct difference.

    Fixed the mistaken emphasis bold error for you there. As mentioned earlier, Jordan renounced its claim to Judea and Samaria in 1988. This btw also negates previous UN resolutions about returning some territories (NB which were deliberately not specified in the resolutions) to the defeated Arab aggressors in the 1948 and 1967 wars. Jordan has said it doesn’t want “the West Bank”anymore and Egypt which could have reclaimed the Gaza Strip when Israel voluntarily withdrew from it back in 2005 has failed to do so. (Rather a pity really, Egypt certainly can’t have done a worse job than Hamas has done! Arguably had Egypt’s resumed its control over the Gaza Strip instead of allowing Hamas to occupy and control that land, several later wars launched by Hamas against Israel would have been avoided saving tens of thousands of lives.)

    @7. Vincent : Sarcasm aside that is actually relevant because history including ancient history as well as modern has certainly created and shaped the modern social, cultural and political realities of the region.

    @8. John Morales :Nice song but that very brief , potted history of sorts leaves out an awful lot making it rather misleading. I really hope the ending of that clip does NOT eventuate and getting the sides to end the hatred and sit down peacefully – i.e. actually talking peace not terrorism and endless war has to be a far better alternative.

    Alternatively for far more detailed and factually accurate sources, I’d like to refer you to this youtube clip :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FebTbi9_3b0

    5 Palestinian Lies – please note #6 especially the section at the 23 minute mark regarding item (1) here. Also the debunking of the “Apartheid” libel sometimes offensively fired against Israel here by some misinformed Israel-bashing commenters.

    Plus this :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdtGOY8T5XE

    Excellent and informative clip “Calev Myers on The Israeli Palestinian Conflict: 10 Myths Preventing Peace” – again, if some here think this clip is wrong, then they will need to explain and show why with supporting evidence and citations required.

  8. John Morales says

    StevoR:

    I really hope the ending of that clip does NOT eventuate and getting the sides to end the hatred and sit down peacefully – i.e. actually talking peace not terrorism and endless war has to be a far better alternative.

    Perhaps that’s your belief, but your alief is quite different, and Manichaean:

    The dispute is over whether Israel and its eight million Jewish people facing the threat of genocide from Islamist extremists get to survive or whether the Arab side “wins” and gets its wish to exterminate the Jewish state and replace it with an Islamist Kaliphate.

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