So comes word that Marco Rubio, the senator from the key swing state of Florida, is close to a decision on whether to run for president.
Marco Rubio isn’t quite ready to say he’s running for president, yet admits it sure does look like he will seek the White House in 2016. “I think that’s reflected in both our travel and some of the staffing decisions that we’ve made,” the Florida senator told The Associated Press. “We — if in fact I make that final decision on a run — want those elements to be in place.”
The message that his decision is still pending is one Rubio delivered again this past week on stage, both at the Conservative Public Action Conference outside Washington and at the conservative Club For Growth in Palm Beach. But allies of the first-term senator and former speaker of the Florida House who have spoken with him about his plans fully expect that he will run for president, rather than a second Senate term.
In other words, all signs are pointing to a run — but here’s why he shouldn’t:
- He’s a first-term senator. So was Obama. Look how well that worked out. Young senators with zero managerial or decision-making experience (for which there are political consequences) make a very bad bet in the Oval Office.
- It’s an ego trip. Unless I’m missing something, there’s no great clamor for Rubio for president. Unlike the last two election cycles, there are plenty of viable candidates on the Republican side (and very few on the Democrat).
- He’s already blotted his copybook. Rubio’s opportunistic jump onto the Gang of Eight immigration bandwagon — his first major act as a senator — signaled that he’s a “Hispanic” candidate first and an American candidate second. Look how well that worked out.
- He’s got some issues. If you think “birtherism” will peter out with Obama, think again. The Democrats can’t wait to go after Rubio on his personal biography, his finances and anything else they can throw at him.
- Just because he’s Cuban doesn’t mean he’ll win the Latino vote. It’s an Anglo fallacy that all Latins vote alike; in fact, GOP-leaning Cubans are an outlier in the Hispanic-American community, often viewed as elitists and snobs.
- The GOP needs that Senate seat. Under Florida law, Rubio can’t run both for president and the U.S. Senate. With the Republicans facing a tough 2016 Senatorial cycle, they’re going to need every seat they can hang on to. Rubio’s vanity project doesn’t serve the cause.
- He’s not terribly impressive in person. Maybe it’s just me, but the one time I heard him speak to a small group I came away underwhelmed. He seemed like a guy running for president of his college fraternity, not a serious politician.
In sum, far better Rubio should stay in the senate, leave the field and the fund-raising to non-Establishment types (Walker, Cruz) who have far less baggage, and far more to offer. Which means, of course, he probably won’t.