It is a provably unfair caricature against Ted Cruz. The media shortcut on him is that he is unlikable and sinister. Never mind that polling has shown Cruz with the highest favorability of any of the Republican candidates. That favorability declined as he and Trump fought and, with that decline, the media revved up the caricature of a sinister, unlikable candidate even more.
Now the media that was in full on orgasm over Marco Rubio’s third place finish in Iowa is turning on Rubio and has its own caricature of him. He is vapid, shallow, and robotic. He is the second coming of George W. Bush who, because he was such a lightweight against Al Gore in 2000, would stick to the same talking points no matter the issue. “Help is on the way,” in 2000 is now Marco dinging Barack Obama in every sentence.
Part of the problem in all the caricatures is that increasingly the political media is infested with kid reporters who actually know nothing about politics, but lean to the left. Rubio’s propensity to stay on message at all times at all costs is being used against him as if he is a lightweight with nothing else to say. But Rubio understands that a public with an increasingly short attention span needs to hear a consistent message from candidates.
Just as anyone who knows Ted Cruz knows he is an entirely likable guy, anyone who knows Marco knows he actually does have a depth of knowledge on the issues, but understands the attention span of the American people requires repetition.
It is going to be for Marco Rubio now to shake up expectations. Cruz has done much to overcome his stereotype with humor on the campaign trail and conveying deep emotion when talking about his sister. Rubio need to pivot now. He needs to shake up his message and show he has depth on other issues.
Rubio has been stung badly by Rick Santorum’s attempted help, which has played into his lack of accomplishments. Cruz had the power to seemingly single handedly shut down Barack Obama’s government. Rubio needs to play up his accomplishments in the Senate. He needs to spend time on other talking points, beyond foreign policy and relate to blue collar workers — a key group who Ted Cruz won in Iowa.
I know it is possible for him. But the burden is on him now. A media that turned his third place win in Iowa into victory is now turning against Rubio because the reality is that the media is not for Rubio so much as the media wants a long, drawn out Republican primary and Rubio has been useful to them in that cause.