Marco Rubio’s Hamlet routine is over and he’s decided to run for reelection to the Senate. Of course, the primary thing we’ve learned about Marco Rubio since he became a U.S. Senator nearly six years ago is that he hates the job and he hates the Senate. He could not have been more clear about this, and he’s had plenty of friends and associates confirm it for us.
Simon Maloy had a good observation on this back in October:
To be clear, hatred of the Senate is no vice. Being a senator is awful, especially right now when a large chunk of Rubio’s party won’t let anything of substance happen because they promised their constituents to not let Barack Obama do president things anymore. Being a freshman senator is really awful – you have zero clout and have to suck up to institutional barnacles like Jeff Sessions and Lindsey Graham to get anything done. The Senate is a terrible place filled with some of the worst people in America. Clearly it’s not the proper environment for someone like Rubio, who is highly ambitious and has little patience for the bureaucratic inertia of government, which kind of makes you wonder why he even wants to be in government at all.
Apparently, he does want to be in government after all, and maybe being a sophomore senator will be modestly less soul-crushing than being a freshman one.
He has to actually get reelected first, though, and those quotes about despising his job are floating out there like giant matzoh balls. It’s not the best way to apply for a contract extension, let’s just say that.
And then there are those missed votes and missed committee hearings. You know, Rubio basically quit doing his work as a senator a little past halfway through his term.
So, he’s got some pretty spectacular name recognition, but he’s nowhere near as formidable as a candidate as he would have been if he hadn’t trash-talked the position he seeks and run for the presidency. In fact, the Democrats are fired up and ready to go, having assembled a nice encyclopedia’s worth of opposition research. The DSCC just released an online ad with some of their greatest hits:
…[N]ational Republicans — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — are convinced that Rubio is the only candidate who can keep the seat in GOP hands. Those operatives may look at the Democrats’ ad as proof positive they are scared of Rubio’s unmatched name recognition and proven fundraising ability.
Democrats insist that is not the case. “Marco Rubio has spent his term in the Senate not showing up for work, complaining about his job and when he did show up, taking dangerous votes like the one he cast to keep open the terrorist gun loophole,” said Lauren Passalacqua, the DSCC’s national press secretary.
“After a bruising 20 point loss to Donald Trump in the Florida presidential primary, recent polls have shown again that Floridians just don’t like Marco Rubio, and this video makes it clear why,” she added. “If Rubio decides to run for re-election, his long record of failing Florida voters will be impossible to defend.”
And let’s not forget Rubio’s epic meltdown in the New Hampshire debate when challenged by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:
Finally, just being in the spotlight as a presidential contender brought a lot of things to light about Rubio’s record. Last New Year’s Eve I wrote about Rubio’s Miami Vice Problem. That kind of information isn’t going to do him any favors this time around.
The Florida Senate race has been lightly polled, but it looks like on the Democratic side that Rep. Patrick Murphy has a persistent lead over the ethically compromised Alan Grayson. Murphy was also leading Republican Rep. David Jolly, who has announced that he will drop out to make way for Rubio.
The other consideration is how the Senate race will be impacted by the top of the ticket. Right now, the polls show a close race there.
Rubio will need it to stay that way.