I am getting sick of hearing Republicans moaning about how their party has grown out of touch and irrelevant, how President Obama’s narrow victory in the 2012 election demonstrates that the world has passed the GOP by, how the chances of a GOP victory in 2016 and even beyond are approximately zilch.
It’s to be expected that the Democrats and their media buddies will talk that way, to boost their spirits and try to undermine the will of the opposition. But it is inexcusable for the leaders of the Republican party to accept this guff, to run around tearing their hair and crying and generally behaving like girly-men, to propose changes in their party’s core ideas and traditions that would turn the GOP into Democrats-light.
You can’t win, guys, if you insist on obliterating the important ways that you differ. That is the way to become irrelevant for sure.
I see a simple solution for the party’s supposed woes: Convene the next Republican National Convention in the coming year, instead of waiting until 2016. Do away with the GOP primaries and bring everybody together to nominate Marco Rubio by acclamation as the party’s next presidential candidate.
The Florida senator is a one-man demographic marvel. He is young, he is Hispanic, he believes in the core, conservative Republican values, he is spot on about fiscal responsibility, yet he also has expressed openness toward fresh ideas that could be added to the traditional GOP mix, including, not surprisingly, immigration reform.
He also is a man of considerable charisma, certainly more so than Mitt Romney. And he is a phenomenally articulate, powerful speaker.
Hispanic voters, of which there are 12 million or so, went 70 percent for Obama this year, which is about in line with their usual support for Democratic candidates in national elections.
I am not going to suggest that Rubio can pull 100 percent of the Hispanic vote. But suppose he boosts the GOP share to 50 percent from 30 percent. You can’t overestimate the powerful emotional effect of a candidate who campaigns in certain neighborhoods and speaks to his listeners in their first language. If he gets 50 percent of the Hispanic votes, that alone could give him a majority of the popular vote, all other votes remaining unchanged.
But would they remain unchanged, or essentially so? Not likely. In 2012 the Democrats ran a candidate of undeniable charisma – at least in certain circles – but whom are they likely to run next time?
Hillary Clinton? Have you seen her lately? She couldn’t win the nomination in 2008 against a first-term, black senator at a time when she still had her figure and paid attention to her grooming. Is she likely to win in 2016 looking like a sixty-nine-year-old beached whale with seaweed hair?
I don’t want to sound superficial about what makes a candidate desirable, but in this country looks certainly help, or hurt. You might say that Hillary is a stronger candidate now because she served as secretary of state. But she is the secretary of state who let Benghazi-gate happen. And even if you ignore Benghazi-gate, can you say that we live in a better, safer world thanks to her stewardship?
If you cut away all the chaff, Hillary’s defining traits are dullness, triteness and a foul temper.
Hillary can count on good support from the distaff side, of course, although perhaps not as much as she thinks. Along with Rubio’s other fine qualities, he is kind of cute.
Another candidate from the 2008 primaries who might make a run this time is our endearing vice president, Joe Biden. He has held public office forever, and he does have the advantage of looking and behaving more like the Democratic party’s mascot then any rival.
I don’t have to remind you what a disgusting loony he is, but I will remind you that by November 2016 he will be just shy of his 74th birthday. Nobody that old, not even Ronald Reagan and John McCain, has ever headed a major-party presidential ticket. He already is just about non compos, and imagine what he will be like in his eighties.
Let’s see, who else was contesting the Democratic primaries in 2008? Oh, yes, John Edwards. And let’s not overlook Al Sharpton.
If we have learned anything in the past several elections, it is that a presidential candidate must stand a good chance of winning Florida’s electoral votes if he wants to be competitive. Rubio is very popular in his home state, which went for Obama by only about 70,000-odd votes. Of all the states that chose Obama, Florida did so by the smallest percentage.
If Rubio can hold onto the states that Romney won, and add, say, Florida, Ohio, which gave Obama only 51 percent of its popular vote, and one or perhaps two among Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire – none of which gave Obama as much as 53 percent of their votes — then that’s the old ballgame.
Why am I suggesting that the GOP nominate Rubio right away, rather than letting him work his way through the primaries, where he might very well win anyway?
Simply this: Although well-known, Rubio probably does not yet have the kind of name recognition a candidate needs to win the presidency. If he begins campaigning nearly four years before the election, his name will be on everyone’s lips.
Furthermore, an extra-early nomination would help counter the customary dirty, Democratic, slash-and-burn campaign. Romney didn’t have quite enough time to fully redeem his image after the Democrats set out to destroy him with their vile ads, but Rubio would have plenty of time to demonstrate conclusively that he is not a felon, a murderer, a tax cheat, an animal-abuser, a job exporter, or whatever else the Democrats pull out of their sick but fertile minds.