Does Marco Rubio Know What He’s Doing?

 

Maybe saying Marco Rubio is clueless is a little harsh, but the most recent did debate did confirm a lot of my fears about him, even if his chief critic was blatantly hypocritical.

The issue of readiness to be the president came up, leading to an exchange between Marco Rubio and Chris Christie in which Christie intimated that Rubio is just a Republican version of Obama. But what really sunk Rubio was his endless repetition of the same talking point. He even responded to Christie pointing that out by repeating the same canned lines again. I imagine it must have been very painful to strong Rubio fans. But pretending it doesn’t bring a serious flaw to light won’t make that flaw vanish.

The problem with Rubio is that he’s a good public speaker, but that doesn’t automatically translate to presidential ability. It’s been clear from watching his past performances that he cuts and pastes parts of his stump speech into debates. The question that mattered was whether he was able to do that so eloquently because he knew what he was talking about or because he was well-trained. Last night was significant evidence for the latter.

It was especially devastating for Rubio because it spoils his greatest comparative advantage. It wasn’t just a “Maybe Marco doesn’t get monetary policy as much as he’d like us to think?” moment, it was a moment many people will remember when they’re next tempted to nod their heads in agreement with him as he waxes eloquent.

He was like the kid at the Science Fair who delivers a great presentation for a great project, but gets so flustered when the judges ask questions that it soon becomes obvious the parents did the project for him. It is far more discrediting than just forgetting what your fifth step was.

That said, all of them have the same problem with canned sound bites over real knowledge. In fact, the great irony was that Christie was bashing Rubio’s repetitiveness while looking into the camera and telling people that governors are way cooler than senators — the skit he does every single time he has the chance.

If we want to fix politics, we have to look beyond the appearance of skill to discover if the skill is actually there. In the end, procedural democracy can’t function in a world of 140 characters. When candidates are bashing talking points as a talking point, we need to spot that, too.

 

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  1. fldore Member
    fldore
    @fldore

    The anti-Marco crowd is clinging to this for all it’s worth.  The problem is they all repeat the same thing over and over again.  I have to admit I watched maybe 2 minutes last night because I’ve heard everything they were going to say 100 times.  Do I need to listen to Jeb talk about how immigration is an act of love?  Do I need to hear Christie talk about how governors actual manage things while Senators dont?  Do I need to hear Trump talking about building a wall and making America great again?  Do I need to hear Marco talk about his bartender father?

    What exactly did Marco say or not say that was so bad?  Or are all the anti-Marco people just taking glee in the fact that Christie made fun of his overly repeated talking points and hoping to God this is enough to get their preferred candidate more votes?

    • #1
  2. Stoicous Inactive
    Stoicous
    @Stoicous

    fldore:The anti-Marco crowd is clinging to this for all it’s worth. The problem is they all repeat the same thing over and over again. I have to admit I watched maybe 2 minutes last night because I’ve heard everything they were going to say 100 times. Do I need to listen to Jeb talk about how immigration is an act of love? Do I need to hear Christie talk about how governors actual manage things while Senators dont? Do I need to hear Trump talking about building a wall and making America great again? Do I need to hear Marco talk about his bartender father?

    What exactly did Marco say or not say that was so bad? Or are all the anti-Marco people just taking glee in the fact that Christie made fun of his overly repeated talking points and hoping to God this is enough to get their preferred candidate more votes?

    I can honestly say I am not in the Anti-Rubio crowd, excepting to the degree that I am in the Anti-All-of-Them Crowd. Indeed, Chris Christie is the candidate I hate hate the most in the GOP Primary.

    All the candidates in all the races have this problem. Marco Rubio just happened to get called out on it hard.

    • #2
  3. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Waiting for Tuesday to see if the OPs thesis is shared. I don’t buy into this notion that Rubio is some cardboard cutout with an embedded speaker looping a script. I see him as disciplined and on message trying to minimize the harm and maximize the good for the General Election campaign. For those of us following the 24/7 news cycle this gets awfully repetitive. I get it. But it is a reality of the current media world in which we live that disciplined repetition trumps gaffe-a-magic entertainment. Or, at least it used to.

    President Rubio will not be a perfect president. President Cruz will not be a perfect president. And, gawdalmighty, President Trump will be a rocket ship to who knows where?

    • #3
  4. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    fldore: The anti-Marco crowd is clinging to this for all it’s worth. The problem is they all repeat the same thing over and over again.

    Is the irony here too obvious to point out?

    Shorter Chris Christie: Marco repeats talking points too much. And I will continue to repeat that talking point until I’m blue in the face.

    Oh, yeah. And the Senator from Florida has never had to remove snow.

    Clean

    • #4
  5. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Stoicous:The ultimate problem with Marco Rubio is that he is an incredibly good public speaker, but that doesn’t automatically translate to Presidential ability.

    Which can also be equally held against Ted Cruz.

    Indeed, if we’re talking about “fixing politics”, perhaps we should start by acknowledging the fact that we, the voters, value public speaking over resume when selecting a president.

    In the private sector, job experience always trumps interview performance. Imagine someone getting hired at Delta to pilot a 747 because they had a stellar interview even though they had never piloted anything bigger than a Cessna 172. Yet that is precisely the approach that we, the electorate, are taking toward the presidential election: we value superficial talking over resume.

    While it’s true that no experience can fully prepare an individual for the job of president, some jobs (governorships) are clearly more applicable than others (first term senators). But even Republican primary voters obviously don’t value actual experience.

    Thus, we are getting the candidates we deserve.

    • #5
  6. John Caldwell Inactive
    John Caldwell
    @JohnCaldwell

    You’re a brave man Stoicous to be posting anything critical of Senator Amnesty on this site.  You obviously didn’t see the live chat during last nights debate.

    • #6
  7. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    It’s no secret that I’m a Cruz supporter so I am relishing this a bit – nice to get a break from some of the over-the-top Rubio cheerleading around here (funny, didn’t see a “Who won the debate?” poll today?).

    Now that everyone has been bought back down to earth, Rubio is an attractive candidate. If nominated, I’ll vote for him though I’m certain he’ll shank us immigration as soon as he gets the chance and don’t expect much of any kind of DC shake-up. I’m confident he’ll recover his stride. Some humble pie can be a good thing.

    All our candidates have flaws. A little humility and a little less certainty around here would be most welcome. Gloating time is over.

    • #7
  8. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Mendel: Thus, we are getting the candidates we deserve.

    Well, maybe you, but *I* certainly don’t deserve these candidates.

    • #8
  9. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    John Caldwell:You’re a brave man Stoicous to be posting anything critical of Senator Amnesty on this site. You obviously didn’t see the live chat during last nights debate.

    WI Con:nice to get a break from some of the over-the-top Rubio cheerleading around here (funny, didn’t see a “Who won the debate?” poll today?).

    Can we please dispense with this “Ricochet is in the tank for the other guy” phony victimhood?
    Rubio and Cruz are statistically tied in the Ricochet polls, and the number of posts, comments, and loudmouth supporters of each is roughly equal on the Member Feed. By any meaningful measure, the membership here is equally split between Rubio and Cruz. Anyone claiming that the supporters of one or the other are dominating Ricochet is revealing more about their own thin skin than any actual imbalance here.

    And for the record, I hate both Rubio and Cruz, although I will hold my nose and vote for either without hesitation in the general election.

    • #9
  10. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    WI Con: Now that everyone has been bought back down to earth, Rubio is an attractive candidate. If nominated, I’ll vote for him though I’m certain he’ll shank us immigration as soon as he gets the chance and don’t expect much of any kind of DC shake-up. I’m confident he’ll recover his stride. Some humble pie can be a good thing.

    My feelings exactly.

    At least Rubios rhetoric on immigration is better than Kasich, Bush, or Christie who were all on FNS this morning. Kasich wants to pass amnesty in his first 100 days!

    I am a Ted Cruz supporter. If Cruz drops out and the choice is between Trump and Rubio I will be on the fence.

    • #10
  11. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Mendel,

    Of who is left, who do you prefer?

    • #11
  12. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    This is a good post. If I said I did not have my doubts, I would be lying. But Rubio’s flub was in the transitions. His intent was to say, “Chris, you keep saying the President does not know what he is doing. Well you are wrong. ……” He was trying to re-direct the one note Christie and just flubbed it.

    This was not a definitive moment – all apologies to Brit Hume.

    Most of us watch the news and read a fair amount. We are a little too deep in the weeds. The average voter saw Rubio plugging away at Obama and Christie playing a bully for doing so. The WSJ did an article on Cruz and explained how his stops are almost word for word replays. This is what you do when you run. THEY ALL DO IT. You have 60 seconds to speak. Get it done. Stay on message. Be consistent. Toss out 1 or 2 zingers. Grab the abortion, ISIS, drug overdose, whatever question and wind up.

    You know what the average voter is doing today. Getting some onion dip and IPA to drink this afternoon before the Super Bowl. The only ads they will see will have Clydesdales in them. Then, on Wednesday they will learn Chris Christie has withdrawn.

    These debates are formulaic. They are over. Nothing is being learned at this point. Nothing.

    • #12
  13. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    To all,

    Let’s sum up the magical litmus tests that Republican candidates must pass.

    1. They must be absolutely perfect on immigration. Of course, both Trump and Cruz have changed position and Jeb, Kasich, & Christy are running on compromise with the dems as a pillar of their philosophy.
    2. You must be a governor. Suddenly, only governors can be president. The other side is running a failed Senator/Secretary of State who is obviously a multiple felon and they are running a socialist crackpot Senator. I’m so sure the ABC prostitute moderators would be asking them the same question. NOT!

    Just another day in the neighborhood.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
  14. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Z in MT:Mendel,

    Of who is left, who do you prefer?

    I’m honestly so equally disappointed in all of the candidates that, were I still to live in NH, I would put the names Rubio, Cruz, Christie, and Kasich in a hat and pull one out in the voting booth on Tuesday.

    Per my first comment above, proven experience at moving legislation (which actually gets passed) to the right is at least as important to me as nominal policies, speechmaking, or electability. But the governors still in the race are so bad at the latter three categories that I can’t say I actually prefer any of them.

    • #14
  15. raycon and lindacon Inactive
    raycon and lindacon
    @rayconandlindacon

    Trump is the disrupter who can blow a 4 year hole in the status quo.

    Rubio is the best friend of the status quo.

    Cruz is the thorn in the flesh of the staatus quo.

    The question is;  Who can replace the status quo with consistency that we can count on.

    • #15
  16. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Mendel:

    Stoicous:The ultimate problem with Marco Rubio is that he is an incredibly good public speaker, but that doesn’t automatically translate to Presidential ability.

    Which can also be equally held against Ted Cruz.

    Very true.

    Stoicous: It is like the kid in the Science Fair who delivers a great presentation for a great project, but gets flustered when the judges ask questions, and it soon becomes obvious the parents did the project for him.

    OK, I’ll cop to being the kid with the great science projects, who got no help from my parents, but who also got flustered during question time. Stage-fright is real, and sometimes even happens to those who really know what they’re doing. That said, stage-fright would obviously be a terrible problem for any politician to have, as audiences cannot be prevented from drawing the “obvious” conclusion that you don’t know what you’re talking about, even when that obvious conclusion is false.

    If musical virtuosi can struggle with stage-fright (and they can), it wouldn’t surprise me if political virtuosi also sometimes struggle with awkward personality quirks. A lot of people believe Cruz does. So might Rubio. Smart-but-incredibly-weird-and-awkward guys don’t offend me, though I’m less-than-optimistic about them not offending other voters.

    • #16
  17. Ion Inactive
    Ion
    @Ion

    Marco’s error is overblown. I suspect that the grind of campaigning led him to a tendency to stay on message when confronted with antagonizing criticism. So, he overdid it and he’ll never forget that night and learn to handle such attacks in a better way. Probably a good thing in the long run. The great news is that Marco recovered and didn’t let that attack kill his confidence.

    • #17
  18. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    James Gawron:Let’s sum up the magical litmus tests that Republican candidates must pass.

    1. You must be a governor. Suddenly, only governors can be president.!

    Being a governor should not be a “must”.

    But an actual track record of helping move implemented policy to the right should count for more than the ability to deliver a good speech – and governors typically have much more of the former on their record than first-term senators do.

    However, being an executive also means occasionally making ugly compromises and missteps. Yet in the current environment, the Republican primary electorate punishes any transgressions much more than it values positive accomplishments. That is a big problem no matter whether a candidate is a former governor, senator, or businessman.

    • #18
  19. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Nutshell

    • #19
  20. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Governors of large, complex states are fine. But Bush has not governed for 14 years. Christie’s portrayal of things is a drive by shooting. And Kasich is frankly physically weird.

    Remember, one of these guys has to get elected. One had a bad night for 20 minutes and then knocked the ball out of the park on ISIS (3 questions by Radditz) and abortion. We have had about 7-8 debates. Hard to say Rubio dies for 20 minutes or a sort of flub. He just swung and missed – but he did land some shots on Christie – which Rubio realized was like punching a cripple as he then tried to go large and flopped.

    So what.

    This is not the field of dreams we thought. But Cruz is a caracature of a southern Bible thump’n zealot with two years of national experience and a list of enemies in the GOP that is mile wide, Trump is a selfish business man with almost no GOP friends, and then you have Rubio or the seven dwarfs. Bush is eponymously challenged, Kasich spastic, Carson already checked out, and …… Some field.

    Gilmore comported himself well. But he always does.

    Figure that one out. Hint, it ain’t that easy. We know which guy has a shot – it’s a long shot, but only one can beat Hillary or Joe the Savior.

    Gotta stop this self canabalism. And need to get the hell away from ABC. That was a dog’s breakfast with Stepanopoulis providing intermission judgments of the fight. Vomit looks better.

    • #20
  21. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    James Madison: Gotta stop this self canabalism. And need to get the hell away from ABC. That was a dog’s breakfast with Stepanopoulis providing intermission judgments of the fight. Vomit looks better.

    Stephanopoulos & Bubba

    BDB,

    What was it that looked better than vomit?

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #21
  22. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    WI Con: If nominated, I’ll vote for him though I’m certain he’ll shank us immigration as soon as he gets the chance and don’t expect much of any kind of DC shake-up.

    And that’s why I won’t vote if he gets the nomination. He’s an amnestymongering little crapweasel, and I will not support him by thought, word, or deed.

    If the Republican party wants to win, it needs to become something more than a vehicle for tax cuts for the rich and cheap immigrant labor. It’s not that I have anything against tax cuts for anyone, but we’ve lowered tax rates to the point of diminishing returns.

    A focus on reducing market barriers to entry by slashing government regulations would be more productive in terms of economic growth. More economic growth increases the tax base and reduces the load on entitlement programs. The donors won’t like it, (they like they way regulations reduce competition) but doing things the donors’ way hasn’t worked very well the last few cycles.

    And don’t worry about the crony capitalist donors. They’ll always donate. Their political agenda is so odious that nobody would listen to them if they weren’t shelling out big bucks. They’re like the kid who was so ugly they had to hang a pork chop around his neck to get the dog to play with him.

    • #22
  23. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    James Madison:  And Kasich is frankly physically weird.

    But, but… his father was a postal worker. Doesn’t that qualify him to be President? Because if it doesn’t, I don’t know what else he’s got.

    • #23
  24. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    Carey J.:

    And that’s why I won’t vote if he gets the nomination. He’s an amnestymongering little crapweasel, and I will not support him by thought, word, or deed.

    If the Republican party wants to win, it needs to become something more than a vehicle for tax cuts for the rich and cheap immigrant labor. It’s not that I have anything against tax cuts for anyone, but we’ve lowered tax rates to the point of diminishing returns.

    A focus on reducing market barriers to entry by slashing government regulations would be more productive in terms of economic growth. More economic growth increases the tax base and reduces the load on entitlement programs. The donors won’t like it, (they like they way regulations reduce competition) but doing things the donors’ way hasn’t worked very well the last few cycles.

    And don’t worry about the crony capitalist donors. They’ll always donate. Their political agenda is so odious that nobody would listen to them if they weren’t shelling out big bucks. They’re like the kid who was so ugly they had to hang a pork chop around his neck to get the dog to play with him.

    I was trying to be magnanimous. I do go back and forth. There’s a couple threads on this now and the Rubots get pretty annoying-I could see rethinking that.

    • #24
  25. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    EJHill:

    fldore: The anti-Marco crowd is clinging to this for all it’s worth. The problem is they all repeat the same thing over and over again.

    Is the irony here too obvious to point out?

    Shorter Chris Christie: Marco repeats talking points too much. And I will continue to repeat that talking point until I’m blue in the face.

    Oh, yeah. And the Senator from Florida has never had to remove snow.

    Clean

    The governor seems to have lost some weight. Using the warp tool in Photoshop can help with that. ;-)

    • #25
  26. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    James Madison: …And Kasich is frankly physically weird.

    great-blue-heron3

    • #26
  27. Could Be Anyone Member
    Could Be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    How does this narrative even fit the facts of what happened at the debate?

    Rubio gave a succinct and rather good explanation of conservatism

    He gave a passionate and right answer on abortion

    http://www.ijreview.com/2016/02/531731-marco-rubio-says-the-issue-hed-rather-lose-the-election-on/

    He also explained foreign policy well in relation to ISIS.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/republican-candidates-isis-abc-news-debate-36764003 (at 3 minutes)

    He also had a good closing statement.  Rubio might have flubbed a bit with Christie while making a valid point but that doesn’t equal a defeat.

    This line of argument means that since we lost Kasserine Pass to Nazi Germany that we could not win against them in WWII. This fight is far from over and Rubio has been doing rather well.

    • #27
  28. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Hold it a second here, Marco is absolutely correct. Obama knows damned well what he is doing. He is fundamentally changing the United States into a Western style Social Democracy. If he’s the only one saying it in a debate, then that tells me more about the rest of the crowd.

    • #28
  29. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Robert McReynolds:Hold it a second here, Marco is absolutely correct. Obama knows damned well what he is doing. He is fundamentally changing the United States into a Western style Social Democracy. If he’s the only one saying it in a debate, then that tells me more about the rest of the crowd.

    RMc,

    Exactly.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #29
  30. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    John Caldwell:You’re a brave man Stoicous to be posting anything critical of Senator Amnesty on this site. You obviously didn’t see the live chat during last nights debate.

    Between that and the loving encomiums to Pussy Riot, it hasn’t been the best 24 hours for Ricochet.

    • #30
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