Monday, February 08, 2016


...about Rubio's poor debate performance and the rightbloggers' rush to defend him. Not every one of the brethren is on board --  immigration hawks like Mark Krikorian, who calls him a "Merkel Republican," will never forgive him for the Gang of Eight thing -- but Rubio's PR crisis stirred a lot of them to embarrassingly transparent damage control.

This mildly surprised me; I had been thinking Cruz was their preference and that what was bad for Rubio, being good for Cruz, would to them be good in all. But then it hit me: when you remove the novelty candidates Fiorina and Carson (and I suspect they'll remove themselves sooner than later), you see the remaining GOP field is mostly not comprised of true believer conservatives, but of what pass for moderates in that party nowadays -- that is, Kasich, Christie, Bush, and Trump, who are all horrible monsters in their own ways, but not movement zombies mesmerized by rightwing paternosters as Cruz is -- and as Rubio is, too, when you look at what he actually believes.

So the hardcore types might be feeling a bit challenged. And, as I say in the column (which you should read!): Cruz may be everything conservatives want, but they know that he's creepy. This doesn't matter to them; it may even be part of what they love about Cruz; that damp, lizard-eyed devotion might say to them, "he will protect me from the gummint revenooers and blue helments when the End Times come, even if it means blowing up the world and sending us all to Jesus." But conservatives also have some dim awareness that not every American shares their particular kinks, and where they see a new Reagan others may see Grandpa Munster. So, they figure, cherubic Rubio might serve to lure the unbelievers unto the cause, like the cute kids in My Little Golden Book of Zogg.

They may not be wrong. After all, the liberal media seem to love Rubio too ("Marco Rubio Comes Back Swinging After Difficult Debate" -- New York Times). He's the people's choice!

Anyway, have a look and see what you think.

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