Marco Rubio may very well be the emptiest suit to have campaigned for national office in my lifetime. He makes Paul Ryan look like Benjamin Disraeli.
His last line of bullshit was Florida. Okay, so maybe he wasn’t the politically invincible movement juggernaut his Tea Party-backed 2010 Senate election made him seem; okay, so maybe he also wasn’t the inevitable, establishment-backed mainstream unicorn who’d sweep away all the pre-Iowa crazies once the actual voting began; and, okay, maybe he also also wasn’t the safe firewall choice who could “eventually consolidate the moderate-conservative vote” once grown-up non-nihilist Republicans got sufficiently freaked out by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. He still had Florida! Even if he lost every important nominating contest prior to yesterday, he could still win Florida—big, diverse, high-profile, electorally crucial Florida and its 99 winner-take-all delegates—and put a tremor into the Trump Tower, and get some momentum, and become those things!
This was always the Rubio sales pitch: that he was either about something or was in the process of becoming/had the potential to become something, and thus had natural political buoyancy; that even when he lost battles, as long as the right people continued to Trust The Process he would win the war; that he had strengths (powerful backers, or mainstream appeal, or youthfulness, or a nice electable head of hair, or a big important state up his sleeve). The pitch was that he was playing a long game that would end with his portrait on the wall of the Oval Office.
But actually: no. From top to bottom, front to back, on every count: no.
Marco Rubio won his Senate seat not because he electrified the Tea Party’s constituency of nihilists and sociopaths, but because those people hated Charlie Crist so much they chased him out of the party altogether. They would have voted, eagerly, for a Ziploc bag full of pubic-hair clippings if somebody wrote “CHARLIE CRIST SUCKS” on it in magic marker. In this campaign, Rubio shamelessly sucked up to powerful right-wingers like Sheldon Adelson; who knows whether he won their donations, but sure as hell never won their public support, and it may not have mattered anyway. As for mainstream appeal, neither the up-by-the-bootstraps personal narrative nor his cornball I believe in you ... and me! platitudes sufficed to launder policy positions not meaningfully less savage and reckless than Cruz’s for non-Tea Party voters, and his cynical mid-campaign dissembling about those positions didn’t fool anybody, either. He’s not even all that youthful—just six months younger than Cruz. And his hair is a goddamn lie.
Yesterday, he lost Florida, by nearly 20 percentage points to Trump. He performed worse in his home state than in Minnesota, for chrissakes. Maybe Floridians didn’t feel like rewarding a guy who couldn’t be bothered to do his fucking job the last time they voted for him? In any case, his campaign is over now. For his efforts he will be awarded a sickeningly lucrative career as a blank-eyed spokesmodel in the conservative professional class; it’s a pretty nice consolation prize, especially for a guy who evidently hates working.
“It is not God’s plan that I be president in 2016, or maybe ever,” he said. I mean, okay, fine, but it was Marco Rubio’s plan, and in its execution he got outwitted and outmaneuvered at every turn by the same blundering apricot shit-for-brains who thought opening a namesake mortgage firm in 2006 was a smart idea. Why the hell would anyone want to vote for Marco Rubio? He is bad at every part of the job of being a politician.
But hey! you are screeching, gnawing the corner of your keyboard—he went from Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives to being talked up as a credible presidential candidate in a decade! Clearly he is good at the personal sales pitch part of being a politician! Clearly that is self-evidently true!
Who exactly gets the credit for that, though? Rubio has flubbed—embarrassingly—damn every opportunity he’s had to pitch himself as a credible national political figure, from the cushy post-presidential address he interrupted for the most awkward water-break in history, through the primetime national-TV debate he botched when his voice-activated talking-point delivery algorithm suffered a fatal looping error, to finally, terminally, yesterday’s utter failure in the one nominating contest to which he’d staked his entire career. Marco Rubio even sucks at selling Marco Rubio. Luckily for him, he had lots of help.
No longer. Fuck off, Marco Rubio. Believe in America all you want; it does not reciprocate.