I would also add, the antidote.
Why not Rubio, you ask? Let me break that down a little.
To win an election, you have to have a committed, deep base of voters. You need folks who will charge up a hill for you. Donald Trump has that. His base wants to see the world burn (as long as it doesn’t touch their self-interests). Ted Cruz’s base wants to renew the promise of America. He is running on principle and not backing down. Even his enemies acknowledge that.
Marco Rubio is running on. . . .his looks? His ability to perform well on stage? What is he running on? Because, guess what, he’s not running on amnesty. He’s not running on sugar subsidies as critical for national security. His team (and friends in the media) are running around tacitly acknowledging that. It sounds like this, “While it is true that Marco doesn’t have a deep base, but rather support from various coalitions, his growth potential is unbelievable.”
Where, I ask? Among the grassroots conservatives who are big believers in George W. Bush’s unilateral interventionism? No. Not there. They are with Trump and Cruz: we aren’t going to negotiate or try and “rebuild” Muslim cultures. We’re going to bomb radical Islam and ISIS back into last century. Common sense conservatives are nodding and saying, “Heck yeah-I am with one of those guys!”
Immigration? The “I was just kidding” line used liberally (pun intended) in South Carolina isn’t going to hold up for much longer. Marco Rubio was the prime driver of the Gang of 8 bill. Was it a principled move by Marco to take charge of that process? I would argue that it was because that is where he is on the issue itself. Was it, in his mind, a chance to stamp himself as a serious politician, eager to create massive bi-partisan legislation? Absolutely. However, he refuses to own it. His excuse now is, “Oh, yeah, I was totally intending for it to get to conference and make it better there.” For all of you outside the Beltway who have never seen the conference process up close, let me make one thing clear: the current leadership of both parties does not put Members on conference committees to make legislation more conservative. So if that was Marco’s aim and he truly believed it, the Pollyanishness of that statement begs the question: how serious minded is he?
Now, let’s get down to another issue where Rubio has trouble. Government subsides. The man literally has never met a subsidy he doesn’t like. As Ted Cruz drew a line in the sand on ethanol in Iowa, Rubio waffled. Owned by the sugar industry, Rubio defends sugar subsidies as critical to national security.
A quick show of hands: which limited government conservative that you know is in your ear telling you right now, “He’s totally right. He’s totally right, sugar here in America needs $1.9 BILLION of taxpayer dollars each and every year or we are screwed.”
Said no limited government conservative ever.
As you run through the checklist of where Marco Rubio is on the issues for this campaign cycle, what are you left with? He’s very solid on the life issue. And? What does that leave you with?
A guy who helped author and try to ram through the Gang of 8 bill, who loves government subsides, who thinks we should be into nation building and you come up with a pro-life statist.
Which brings me back to Ted Cruz. You want principle, he has it. You want limited government, he’s your man. You want good judges, buy Ted Cruz all day long with confidence.
Polls show he beats Trump badly head to head and can win the general election. He stands on principle and his own merits.
Rubio does not because he cannot.
Full disclosure, I am not objective. I help direct the Cruz super PAC, Keep the Promise.