It hit me last night as I watched Marco Rubio masterfully debate Donald Trump. Where he is shallow (or opposite the base) on the issues, he more than makes up for it with presentation. I mean, come on, how good was this? I then had a lightbulb moment: this is what Vice-Presidents do. They present, they carry the message, they fight for the agenda set by the President.
As I have detailed at length, Marco cannot run on his issues. He just can’t. He can’t run on amnesty. He can’t run on government subsidies. He can’t run on interventionism. And he sure as heck cannot run on Rubio-care (kudos to Michael Cannon for this timely piece at National Review). His entire campaign has been an attempt to carefully script the “next generation of Republican leadership.” That’s all well and good, but on every major fight over the last few years, Marco pulled a disappearing act. The only time he didn’t? The Gang of Eight. That’s not leadership. At this stage in his career, Marco has shown a willingness to be a deal maker in Washington, DC. That’s not what voters in 2016 are looking for. They are looking for actual leadership in dire times. That’s the leadership Ted Cruz provides.
There have been a lot of columns written about this isn’t Rubio’s time. He is too young, he has to mature more and you know what, I think they are right. For months I have said that Rubio’s issues would be a drag on a Cruz/Rubio ticket, but with Ted Cruz setting a strong agenda and Marco serving as his telegenic sidekick, this is the ticket that wins. It is the ticket that derails Donald Trump. For those that worry about the scuffle between the two, trust me-politicians make up faster than lovers.
As I detailed yesterday, Marco faces a Rudy Giuliani-esque path between now and Florida, where he trails by 27 points. He cannot win a state, even his home state. Not in March, not in April, not in May. Donors are waking up to this fact and as much as folks hate the role money plays in politics, the fact of the matter is, cash is to campaigns as fuel is to a jet. You cannot go without the other.
But Marco is a valuable asset who has tremendous skills. We saw them, finally, on display last night.
Also, he has no where else to go. He cannot pivot to run again for Senate in Florida. That shipped has already sailed with Congressman Ron DeSantis having shouldered the mantle of the next, young conservative Senator from Florida. Marco cannot win the nomination, either. If he wants to stay in politics and become a force for good, it’s clear he has one path forward.
Marco Rubio for Vice President.