My first reaction to Senator Marco Rubio’s introduction of Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention in Tampa was a yawn. The content of the speech was predictable and uninspired, and I was a little surprised at the amount of time Rubio spent talking about himself. The delivery was unremarkable. Indeed, what passed for the “passion” that was displayed seemed strained.
Could it be that Rubio was less than enthusiastic with Romney than what he let on? By all accounts, Rubio was a contender for the VP position on the ticket. It is possible that his seeming lack of enthusiasm was due to his not being asked? Although it’s a toss up whether he’d have accepted, there is some satisfaction in being able to reject the offer.
In addition, how could Rubio not be a little miffed when his selection for the “honor” of introducing the candidate was probably based more on the need to garner support among Latino voters than the senator’s fetching smile and cutting wit and intellect? I also sense that Rubio may have been castigating himself, probably mildly, for having sold himself for a half hour of national airtime. I mean we all know what someone who sells his or herself really is.
In any event, the fact that Republicans are so unpopular amongst Latinos probably drove the decision to invite Rubio to make Romney’s introduction. If it did, I’d suggest that a Republican of Mexican decent would have served them better that Rubio (who is of Cuban decent) since it isn’t true that if you’ve seen one Latino you’ve seen them all. White Republicans apparently have trouble seeing the difference.
On the other hand, Rubio wins the beauty contest hands down and he really does have a fetching smile and cutting wit and intellect. Thus, what he doesn’t achieve with respect to garnering Latino vote may be retrieved to some extent by generation of a large “arousal” factor. After all, Republicans are also in trouble with women voters.
So, what happens now? While we may see Rubio pop up from time-to-time between now and the election, he will, for the most part, just get back to doing what he was elected to do. And, that’s the way it will remain between now and 2016 or so when we start gearing up for the next presidential campaign.
There’s nothing to suggest that Rubio will seek that office in 2016. At the same time, we can only wonder at what part, if any, Rubio will play then. There is no doubt that a vast number of politically active citizens, estimated to be as high as 30%, are fed up with the current paradigm.
Right now, the “movement” such as it is in desperate need of leadership. And while that leadership might materialize from outside the current paradigm at any time, it might be possible for a sharp young politico, like Rubio, to slip into the leadership position. He’d have to do some serious back peddling with respect to some of his less thoughtful political tenets, but hey, that’s what politicos do. Meanwhile, all we can do is wait and entertain ourselves speculating about Rubio’s future.