Arizona hasn’t even finished counting votes from this year’s election, but that’s not stopping Marco Rubio. He’s off and running – for 2016!
Naturally, he says he’s not. Of course not. Why would anybody think that? Why, it’s perfectly normal for a Latino senator from Florida to go bouncing around Iowa talking to voters about national politics.
Of course it is … not!
The occasion was innocent enough (Not!). He was the featured guest at Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s 66th birthday party and fundraiser Saturday night.
Some 700 Republican voters and donors together in a single room, in the state that holds the first primary election in the nation – Gee, who could think he’s testing the waters?
In fact, Rubio made it a point to dismiss the possibility, with a joke.
“Look, let’s just address right up front the elephant in the room,” Rubio said, “because anytime someone makes a trip to Iowa, people start speculating about what you’re going to do in the future and all of that.
“I am not now, nor will I ever be,” he said, “a candidate for offensive coordinator of Iowa.”
You can almost hear the knee-slapping all the way back to his home in South Florida.
Another clue: Rubio nearly did a full split trying to straddle the gap between creationists and evolutionists.
His claims that he’s not making a run for Barack Obama’s seat in the White House would have been a lot more credible if he had come down flatly on either side of the debate. He didn’t. He did a tap dance that would have won on “Dancing with the Stars.” He should keep his career options open. He could be a shoe-in (no pun intended) for the part of Billy Flynn in the musical “Chicago” – “Give ‘em the old razzle-dazzle. Razzle-dazzle ‘em!”
“I’m not a scientist, man,” Rubio said in a just released interview in GQ magazine. “… Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”
The whole answer is even better. He not only did the Artful Dodger routine between the Bible and fifth-grade science, he slipped in a “politician’s pivot.” That’s the political equivalent of a basketball player’s crossover. You fake in one direction, and when your opponent moves that way, you reverse the ball back between your legs and cut in the other direction. Done right, they’ll never know what hit them.
Rubio’s move wasn’t as good as Amare Stoudemier’s (let’s face it, Amare actually blew past Michael Jordan with that move), but that’s OK, this was just a pre-season game.
Here’s his full answer:
“I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”
Did you catch it? Head fake – “I’m not a scientist,” then toe the line between the two positions. Then – Wham! – cut back to the economy (It’s the economy stupid!). Then drive for the goal.
Whether he admits it or not, Rubio is a likely contender. Latino. A Tea Party fave, who was so loved by the far right he forced Florida Gov. Charlie Crist right out of the GOP for not being conservative enough.
Mitt Romney reportedly vetted Rubio as a potential running mate. Marco made 60 appearances singing the praises of Romney and so many interviews his staff lost count. He was the one who stepped up with the smackdown that pretty much ended the bitter, shrill and massively offensive immigration rhetoric the Republican candidates were flinging around.
Rubio won’t say he’s running. And he won’t say he’s not, either. (Refer to his “offensive coordinator” quip, above.)
But here’s the deal: Rubio is certainly familiar with the saying, “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”
The same is true in politics.
“If you act like a presidential candidate, talk like a presidential candidate and follow the well-worn path of past presidential candidates, then you’re a presidential candidate.”
So Rubio should stop ducking around.
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