“Spectacular” Rubio Heads Towards Failsafe Point

Because the 2016 GOP presidential nominating contest doesn’t have enough contestants, one a lot of people had been writing off is sending out all sorts of signals that he may still be in. In a very deliberately misunderstandable phrase, Rubio’s instructed his minions to “proceed as if he’s running for president.”

As his own contribution to the buzz, Rubio appeared at one of those Christian Science Monitor breakfasts that used to be such a major deal in the Beltway when they were known as “the Sperling Breakfasts,” in honor of longtime Monitor Washington Correspondent Godfrey Sperling, who hosted the informal get-togethers between pols and bigfoot journalists. And at least one attendee, MSM grandee Eleanor Clift, came away swooning, as reflected in her subsequent Daily Beast column with the highly objective headline: “Rubio 2016 is Real, and It’s Spectacular.”

Clift seems to be fascinated by Rubio’s modest suggestion that he’s sort of the Republican John F. Kennedy. No, seriously:

He goes on to say he had recently visited the Kennedy Library, and was captivated by how President Kennedy had been able to grow and evolve between the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile crisis. JFK was a freshman senator when he ran for president in 1960. It’s easy to imagine Rubio gaining inspiration from the life and legend of JFK, wanting to see how far his ambition, his agile mind and his easy conversational style can take him in the biggest leagues of politics.

Gee, I don’t know if it’s too good an idea to suggest that two international crises that could have blown up the world are good models for the growing experience you’d ask the American people to accept as part of the bargain of vaulting a freshman senator to the White House. And it’s not the best sign of Rubio’s preparation that he thinks JFK was a freshman in 1960; he was actually a couple of years into his second term. But whatever. He’s sure charmed Clift, who apparently didn’t even bother to ask about Rubio’s little problem with the Republican “base” over immigration policy (though she did ask, reflecting Establishment concerns, whether Jeb Bush’s presence in the field would keep him out, and seems to accept his bland assertion that it’s irrelevant, which of course it is not).

In any event, while whoever is responsible for Rubio’s backgrounder on JFK is going to spend some time in detention, his press team will get a gold star for Clift’s column.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.