SocraticGadfly: 2016 vs 2008: Two GOPers vs one Dem

February 11, 2016

2016 vs 2008: Two GOPers vs one Dem

As the GOP primaries continue to play out, I can't help but look at Havana Ted Cruz and Marco Polo (Rubio) and compare them to Dear Leader eight years ago.

Surely both, a couple of years ago, looked at Obama's rise to fame, as a Wunderkind, and said, "I can do that."

Of course, they made a couple of incorrect simplifying assumptions, or oversights, or something, that meant they were wrong.

First, neither of them were "anointed" at the 2012 GOP convention, unlike Obama at the 2004 Democratic confab. Obama was deliberately eyeballed by John Kerry for his keynote spot.

Second, whether it matters positively in the GOP primaries, or negatively in the general, if one of them is nominated, while both are technically Hispanic minorities, both are really whiter shades of pale in that regard.

Rubio, at least, like Obama, had pre-Senate elective office experience. Cruz, before his Senate run (and the luck of the delayed 2012 primary) had never before ran for, let alone been elected to, public office. With the luck of a low-turnout primary in a highly red state, he didn't face a real challenge in getting that Senate seat.

Looking ahead, to the rest of this campaign and beyond?

If Rubio can't rebound from his New Hampshire implosion (and per old Florida friends and pundits, his Robot Rubio is a long-standing problem), his larger political career is toast. Bill Nelson is up for re-election for Florida's other Senate seat in 2018, but I don't see Rubio beating him if he tries. Rick Scott is term-limited as governor at the same election, but I can't see Rubio winning that statewide office either, assuming that Robot Rubio picks back up again.

Cruz? If he isn't elected, he can run for the Senate again in 2018. However, if not nominated, or more, nominated but not elected, I expect he'll get a massive amount of Senate shunning in the future, primarily from his own party — even more than now. He could run for governor in 2018, in a steel cage death match against Greg Abbott, but realistically, that's not an option.

Frankly, him pulling a Sarah Palin wouldn't totally surprise me.

That said, it does make one wonder what would have happened to Dear Leader, had he not been elected in 2008. He might have tried running again in 2012, had Clinton lost to McCain. Otherwise, he probably would have left a light, almost invisible, mark in the Senate.

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