Leon Wolf warns Rubio fans that
stories are leaking right and left that his major donors are jumping ship.
The reason for this is simple – the mood of the GOP primary electorate has shifted and Rubio has been too slow to adapt. Rubio’s appeal has always been as the guy with the easiest access to soaring rhetoric and the best ability to generate optimism and hope. A couple of months ago, this looked like a relatively plausible path to the nomination, especially in the heady days of the new Congress.
However, after several months of Obama successfully trolling the GOP led Congress, combined with the faithlessness of leadership in both chambers, have left a simmering and resolute anger where a sense of hope used to be. And frankly, they’re tired of people not even acknowledging the ways in which Obama, the GOP Congress, and the Supreme Court have dashed so many of their hopes in such a short time. When people are mad, they don’t want to hear about how great everything is.
Rubio is Reaganesque in his sunny optimism, but he seems to have forgotten — or never learned? — that Reagan was merciless on the stump towards Democrats and the Carter economy. Reagan also rarely minced words with the Establishment GOP he sought to pull rightwards. Then there was his ability to change gears as needed; Reagan’s ’84 reelection campaign, based on robust growth and firmness towards the Soviets, was nothing like his ’80 race against Carter’s weakness at home and abroad.
Sunny optimism for the future and ruthless criticism of the status quo are two sides of the same coin. The GOP electorate is calling tails, but Rubio keeps flipping heads.
That’s not how to win this game.
As bright and formidable as Rubio can be in other ways, it would be a shame if he forever remains the GOP’s Next Big Thing.