Conventional conservative wisdom, as expressed by the likes of Charles Krauthammer, is that Mitt Romney, having all but sealed the deal in the race to become the GOP presidential candidate, should turn his attention to the subject of who will be his Vice President. Moreover, this same conventional wisdom says that Romney will need to placate Hispanic voters and that this means that he will simply have to select one Marco Rubio Senator-in-Diapers from Florida.
Here are Five Reasons Why Marco Rubio Would be a Bad Choice For Vice President:
1. Who cares what Charles Krauthammer and the Professional Conservative Commentariat Have to Say?
After all, these are the people who can't seem to make up their minds about anything, including who is or isn't a conservative. These are also sometimes the very people who have played a large part in helping to shape public opinion in favor of a whole slew of un-conservative positions in the name of political expediency (think: Sarbannes-Oxley, Campaign Finance Reform. failure of the GOP Congress to reform Entitlements). Thinking about some of the positions taken in recent years by this class of person would make your head spin:
Ann Coulter and Mark Steyn insist, despite evidence to the contrary, that Mitt Romney is a conservative.
George Will and Francis Fukuyama were the biggest cheerleaders for the War in Iraq, until it appeared that we were losing, and then Iraq became the New Vietnam.
Peggy Noonan swore up and down that Barack Obama wasn't an old style, 1960's-retread-radical douchebag.
Do any of these people actually know what they're talking about? Do they take the time to read and re-read their columns and essays, figure out where they have gone wrong, and then modify their point of view? Or is it simply too easy to continue to spin out the same old stupidity week-after-week and pick up the paycheck? Because that's what most of them seem to do all the time.
Ann Coulter has published a bazillion books on the same subject, and as far as I can tell, has never once said "Oops, I might have been wrong about this or that...". I have great respect for their intellects and talents, but I very often find myself shaking my head at what some of them have to say on a variety of subjects because, for all intents and purposes, I've heard the same arguments for the last 30 years.
There's a reason why it's called "Conventional Wisdom" -- because it's "wisdom" dispensed for the benefit of the lowest-common-denominator. And because you never need to change the five or six templates you use to write your columns.
If you live and die by the words of the people listed above, as talented and intelligent as they may be, then you're a fool. Learn to think for yourself, already. If your politics have to be spoon fed to you by Charles Krauthammer or George Will, then you're a drooling fool.
2. Marco Rubio Arrived in the Senate, Like, Five Minutes Ago:
There is a tendency in Republican political circles to anoint people as the The Next Great Whatever of Conservatism just as soon as they do the following things:
a. Win an election the Professional Commentariat and Political operatives say they shouldn't have.
b. Attain some trifling goal that is often spun into an amazing achievement far out of proportion to it's actual effect or meaning.
c. You manage to get Sean Hannity to call you the Next Reagan.
d. Defeat a long-term democratic incumbent for any office whatsoever.
I'll run the list of folks who have fallen into this category in recent years:
You'll notice they all have three things in common:
a. We're told by the professional punditry that these folks all promise to deliver a "key" demographic group to Republicans in national elections, but in practice hardly ever do.
b. We're told by the professional punditry that these people all represent an upsurge in "Conservatism" in their particular backyard, but in all actuality, really don't. And here I have to especially point out the near-orgiastic euphoria over Scott Brown, who talked like a Regan Conservative -- and who was then made ineffective by Parliamentary maneuver in the Senate over ObamaCare -- who then sided with the democrats over Dodd-Frank and other financial regulatory tyrannies.
c. We're told by the professional punditry class that these folks represent something "new"and "fresh" in Republican political circles, but what they mostly represent is the victory of the ticket-punchers and one-shot-deal populists whose appeal very quickly wears off, or wears thin.
Now, I don't know Marco Rubio from a hole in the ground, mostly because he's a Senator from a State I'd like to see sawed off the continent or given back to the Indians. Whatever Florida might have once been, it is no more; demographics have changed it. It is now one of the home bases of the Professional Beggar class, crowded with Seniors who take far more in Social Security and Medicare than they ever paid in, Haitian "Refugees" who managed the apparently easy task of just floating past the Coast Guard, Third-Generation "Cuban Exiles" still fighting the Cold War, and the vast sea of democratic voters who couldn't manage the intelligence or strength to punch a sharp hunk of metal through a piece of flimsy cardboard in 2000.
For all I know, Marco Rubio just might be the Smartest Person in Human History, but when I take a gander at the population that potentially voted him into office, I shudder with something akin to douchechills.
At this point in his career, Rubio has more-or-less the same experience as Barack Obama did when he ran for the Presidency, which is to say, not much, and most of what he does have was gained in the United States Senate, which is about the most ineffectual and effete club of morons I can ever conjure up in my worst nightmares. One hopes that close contact with the likes of John Kerry, Harry Reid, John McCain and Mitch McConnell doesn't result in a form of political leprosy, but I would posit this bit of my own conventional wisdom:
There is a reason why, historically, Americans are reluctant to elevate Senators to the Presidency. Barack Obama and Joe Biden have been prime examples of why this has been true. Marco Rubio, Junior Senator, would be one heartbeat away from the Presidency, and his experience, should something happen to a notional President Romney, will have been in the most dysfunctional deliberative body on Planet Earth. Senators, as a rule, don't do anything -- except talk in circles and pat each other on the back. Senators, as a rule, make lousy executives because theirs is a job that almost never requires anyone to show a positive result.
Senators make rotten presidents because they lack the clarity of purpose, the drive to achieve, the perspective of the common man. The U.S. Senate is sort of like those old gentleman's clubs one often sees lampooned in movies. Stodgy, full of exalted idiots in high-backed leather chairs, smoking cigars and talking about nothing but their own self-professed sense of exceptionalism.
Rubio was only sworn in in January 2011, for the love of all that's holy, and that would give him even less experience in the Senate than Barack Obama had!
Marco Rubio, whatever his virtues, is vulnerable to all the charges Conservatives made against Candidate/President Barack Obama; inexperienced in general, no executive experience in particular, only served as a Junior Senator for a very short time. Marco Rubio may one day be a shining star in the Conservative Galaxy, but at present he is little more than a flashlight.
3. This Demographic Game Has To Stop:
The biggest argument in favor of Rubio is that he promises to deliver Hispanics into the Republican fold. The Republican party has a skewed view of Hispanics which is indicative of some sort of tunnel vision. It is high time someone told the Powers That Be in the Party Hierarchy to stop this incessant wooing of people who, for the most part, wouldn't vote Republican unless doing so won't upset the status quo.
That Status Quo, for the moment, means uninterrupted illegal immigration. It means bi-lingual education for those illegal immigrant's children. It means anchor babies, food stamps, welfare transfer payments, and above all, that federal law will never, ever be enforced when it comes to an Hispanic.
There is a gross misunderstanding about Hispanics in the Republican camps which is both disturbing and bewildering, and is a solid indication that the party hierarchy hasn't clue-fucking-one that in trying to woo Hispanics the party is simultaneously undermining it's own reasons for existence. The "conventional wisdom: is that Hispanics are, by-and-large, Family-Values types people who agree with the Extreme Right on matters of Abortion and Religion. This is largely true. However, the people who make this case forget the coin has two sides.
The other side is that Hispanics, by-and-large, unless they have actually earned something they'd like to keep, are perfectly happy to live off the welfare state for as long as is humanly possible, or flout the law so long as it carries no penalty. The people who have forgotten the Coin-has-two-sides dialectic have also made the mistake of lumping Hispanics together into one, great, amorphous blob, hardly making an effort to find out what it is that specific sub-groups actually think, nor making an effort to reconcile or modify some of their more stupid policies regarding Hispanics. here's an example:
If you're Cuban, and manage to ride a leaky inner tube the 90 miles from that Island to Key West, and make it ashore without being picked up by the Coast Guard, you are automatically given political asylum, and fast-tracked on your way to American Citizenship, should you want it.
If you're a Mexican or Salvadoran, and you manage to float across the Rio Grande in the dead of night, you can look forward to a new life in your adopted country which consists mostly of having to stay below the radar, in constant fear of deportation.
In either case, there's still a powerful Republican constituency behind all immigration issues, one that favors Cubans as a left-over of the Cold War, and one that favors illegal immigrants being forced to live anonymously and poor because Bob's Pool Cleaning Service, or Chuck's Landscaping doesn't want to pay an American a minimum wage plus benefits.
Hispanics, as rule, unless they have achieved some stature in America or measure of wealth, believe in the very same Social Justice crap that Barack Obama does, differing with him only on matters that touch upon their personal religious faith. otherwise, they are solidly democratic, except for isolated pockets. There is no politician on the Republican Horizon that can deliver a monolithic Hispanic vote that rivals the monolithic African-American vote for Democrats, and any GOP'er who did manage to pull that off would most likely have done so by outright bribery-via-welfare and elevation of a single group over the rest of American society.
In other worlds, that feat could not be achieved by a true Republican/Conservative, but by a tin-pot, South-American-style, Colonel-cum-Dictator-for-Life who puts his Hispanic before his American.
Rubio winning the votes of Cuban-Americans-who-remember-The-Good-Old-Days-Before-Castro in Florida -- that is to say, the Western hemisphere's equivalent of The Palestinians -- is no indication that his appeal extends beyond that limited demographic, or beyond his state.
The GOP had better stop playing this game of divide-and-conquer politics. It'll only lose, in the end, because the party is still dominated by the Religious Idiot and the Trust-Fund-Connecticut-Yankee-with-no-chin, and neither relates to Jose Q. Publica, unless he's carrying a tray of canapes or trimming the hedges. The GOP should be able to stand or fall upon it's core philosophy without having to pander to people based upon race. This is what democrats do, and if the GOP wishes to continue to act in this manner regarding Hispanics, then it has no right to try and distinguish itself from it's counterpart. And if it can't do that, then why even bother voting for anyone with an "R" next to his/her name?
4. There are Better Choices Available;
Specifically, there was a whole slew of GOP governors who were touted as potential presidential timber when this whole thing started a year ago, like Mitch Daniels or Jeb Bush. Governors are actual administrators, which Marco Rubio has never been. There's also some Republican stars out there currently sitting out of politics, like Condoleeza Rice, a former Secretary of State, for Christ's Sake. Rudy Guiliani may rile the hell out of Old Guard Fire-and-Brimstone-Bible-Thumping-"Real"-Conservatives, but he has mass appeal and is ten times more small government conservative and fifty times more Kill-the-Terrorists than Mitt Romney. Heck, even Newt Gingrich might be reconciled, potentially, and serve as an admirable and capable backup to Romney.
I'm just spitballing here, but to make the choice of a Vice President based upon what seems little more than an exercise in demographic pandering and perhaps playing up Rubio's good looks (that draws in the women voters, you know) is a bad idea. The Vice President is simply one heart attack, one bullet, one motorcade or Air Force One accident away from the Presidency; it pays to know the person who's on deck has been there and done that.
That ain't Marco Rubio. Anyone who makes the case that Rubio is qualified for anything beyond his present still-has-that-new-car-smell position is blowing sunshine up your behind. They are attempting to create the illusion of a groundswell of support for something which has none at all, and which serves their interests better than it does the interests of the American Voter.
It's bad enough the democratic (small 'd' intentional) party treats the voters as if they were little more than mindless insects, is it necessary for the GOP establishment to insult our intelligences, too? People are capable of thinking for themselves, and right-thinking people (and by that I mean people who have thought about this logically) will no more vote for Romney because he has a good-looking-Hispanic Vice President on his ticket than they would stick their wet privates into an open electrical outlet. As in most things the public buys, who is the Vice President only matters in the Value-Added category, and only then to those who actually think one step beyond the initial need or impulse to buy something.
5. Do VP Choices Even Deliver Their Own Home States?
Recent history says no. I wouldn't have written about this, but it intrigued me when I heard Liz Trotta bring it up on Lou Dobbs last night. In the last bunch of elections, the VP candidates have been from (in reverse order) Delaware, Alaska, North Carolina, Wyoming, and Tennessee. In only one of those elections (Clinton/Gore versus Bush I/Quayle) has a VP brought with him (barely) his home state, and that was arguably Gore (who promptly lost his home state in the 2000 Presidential election), in a three way race.
Dick Cheney's Wyoming and Sarah Palin's Alaska were always firmly in the GOP camp, and were never in any danger of breaking allegiance. Joe Biden's Delaware had to contend with a dysfunctional state GOP that couldn't get Christine O'Donnell elected Prime Victim at her own Gang Rape. In the last five elections the choice of VP has mattered...maybe...once. If the prospect of Florida going Dem frightens the GOP Powers that Be, it can only be because they haven't made the case that Barack Obama is a flaming dipshit and that just about any alternative is better. Instead, they'd rather play racial pandering games and count noses.
This is NOT the way to win elections.