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“Rubio Suddenly Notices Trump”: The Fervor Of Someone Who Has Undergone A Deathbed Conversion

What a difference a sense of urgency makes.

Having finally stood up to the bully Donald Trump in Thursday night’s debate, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio continued his assault on the GOP front-runner on NBC’s “Today” show.

But the most remarkable part of Rubio 2.0 is the hypocrisy and shamelessness of that same urgency.

“We’re on the verge of having someone take over the conservative movement and the Republican Party who’s a con artist,” Rubio said. “His target audience is working Americans who are really struggling over the last few years in this economy but he has spent a career sticking it to working Americans.” Remember the phrases “con artist” and “sticking it to working Americans” – you’re going to hear that a lot from Rubio, who famously excels at hitting his talking points. In the “Today” interview, for example, he used the former expression four times and the latter three in a four-and-a-half minute interview. (The line of attack is actually quite strong, not least because it has the virtue of being correct – this morning’s clips will make good fodder for Hillary Clinton’s admen in the fall.)

And how did we get to be “on the verge of” of a Trump victory? Rubio’s answer, of course, is the media: He, Rubio, has had articles written about his driving record, he complained, while the tyrant of Trump Tower is “always making things up and no one holds him accountable for it. … He’s being treated with kid gloves by many in the media in the hopes that he’s the nominee. Some of them are biased – they’d love to see a liberal like Donald Trump take over the Republican Party. And others know he’s easy to beat once he gets there.”

It’s as if Rubio just wandered into the race and realized that the party of Saint Ronald of Reagan is on the verge of being taken over by Trump. How could such a thing happen?

Don’t blame Marco! It’s not like he’s been sitting meekly for months watching up close as Trump runs roughshod over the party, right? Marco Rubio hasn’t been on the debate stage and the hustings, treating Trump with “kid gloves,” failing to hold him accountable for his nonsensical ravings and – lest we forget – abetting his neofascist Muslim bashing, right? It was literally two days ago on the very same TV show that Rubio dismissed the idea that he had to attack Trump as “a media narrative,” piously saying he “didn’t run for office to tear up other Republicans.” (Except for Ted Cruz, whom he was busy ripping apart.)

I get that Rubio’s campaign learned the lesson of Jeb Bush and was smart enough to deliberately not telegraph the volley of punches they planned for Trump. And Rubio doesn’t bear all the blame alone – fellow survivor Ted Cruz, for example, made a conscious strategy of bear-hugging Trump for much of the last several months. But Rubio’s shock – shock! – that Trump has been allowed to get this far is rather rich.

Rubio suddenly has the fervor of someone who has undergone a deathbed conversion, which is pretty much what he has. As I wrote yesterday, the extent to which Trump is in the catbird seat is reflected by the fact that the Florida primary – where the former reality TV star is doubling Rubio in the polls – is an existential test for the freshman senator but not Trump. A loss there kills Rubio, while vanquishing Trump would merely mean holding serve at home.

So we’ll see if Rubio’s mad stop-Trump scramble pays off. If it doesn’t and he wants to blame someone for losing his beloved conservative movement to a con artist, he can start by looking in the mirror.

 

By: Robert Schlesinger, Managing Editor for Opinion, U.S. News & World Report, February 26, 2016

February 29, 2016 - Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Marco Rubio | , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. In addition to waiting too long to be critical of Trump, more than a few of Trump’s untruthful remarks have not been questioned as they are an extreme (or in some cases, a mainstream GOP) view of untruths the party wants promulgated. Example – “global warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese to steal our jobs” is a ludicrous statement, but in the ballpark of what most GOP candidates are saying. Another example – “America is the most taxed country in the world,” is not even close to being accurate, yet when said at a debate, not one GOP candidate dared question it, as that is what they want the American public to believe.

    Like

    Comment by Keith | February 29, 2016 | Reply

    • Nor did the moderators press the issue.

      Like

      Comment by raemd95 | March 1, 2016 | Reply


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