Don't look now, but in the wake of the Orlando massacre, opportunist and failed GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio might very well flip flop again and run to keep his Senate seat after all. WaPo's James Hohmann takes him to task:
Marco Rubio said yesterday that he is rethinking his decision not to seek another term in the Senate and that he may jump into the race before next Friday’s filing deadline in Florida.
“I enjoy my service here a lot,” the senator earnestly told reporters at the Capitol.
For anyone who has watched Rubio over the past five-and-a-half years, that statement – and the straight face with which he said it – is farcical.
The 45-year-old has heretofore made no secret of his distaste for the world’s greatest deliberative body. His friends have said he “hates” the job. Rubio himself was unapologetic about missing more votes than any other senator during his failed presidential campaign, often complaining about how “frustrating” it is to serve as a member of Congress.
Rubio is congenitally impatient, an unhelpful personality trait in a chamber that was designed to move slowly. James Madison’s idea when he drafted the Constitution was that the Senate would “cool” House legislation, just as a saucer cools hot tea.
Indeed, the GOP is watching control of the Senate implode in real time. GOP senators like Mark Kirk, Kelly Ayotte, Rob Portman and Ron Johnson are losing in rough races, and losing all of those plus Rubio's seat would mean the Dems would take back the Senate. It's bad enough for the GOP right now that second-tier races are up for grabs and senators like Richard Burr, Pat Toomey, and even Roy Blunt are in trouble.
So yes, the obvious gamble of pushing Rubio to run is something the GOP is now willing to try, but his biggest problem is the anvil around his neck that's at the top of the 2016 GOP ticket: Trump.
Rubio called his party’s presumptive nominee a con artist and said he shouldn’t be able to have the nuclear launch codes. He also might have said something about the size of his hands.
More recently, he’s said he’ll vote for Trump because he’s not as bad as Hillary Clinton.
Trump will spend lots of time in the perennial battleground this fall. He may even wind up picking Florida Gov. Rick Scott as his running mate. It will be awkward for Rubio to avoid all of his big rallies, and with less and less split-ticket voting, their fortunes may be inextricably tied.
Though there is not a sizable Mexican population in Florida, Trump will probably still galvanize record Latino turnout across the board. And Rubio’s Cuban heritage does not mean he can count on others in the Hispanic diaspora, such as the huge Puerto Rican population around Orlando, to vote for him.
Remember too that Trump whipped Rubio in the Florida GOP primary. The senator risks alienating The Donald’s many supporters every time he speaks out against the nominee’s divisive rhetoric.
Rubio can't run away from Trump and win in a battleground state like Florida, and yet he can't win by running with The Donald either. And a November loss now would almost certainly end his national ambitions for good. Republicans don't like losers, folks.
We'll see if Marco runs. Frankly, I hope he does and that Democrat Patrick Murphy stomps him flat.