ARE NIKKI HALEY’S NATIONAL ASPIRATIONS ALSO DONE?
These days they call it “suspending the campaign,” but the presidential aspirations of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida are officially done … making him the latest and greatest of the establishment “Republican” flameouts this election cycle.
What destroyed him? (Well … aside from the populist uprising fueling the front-running candidacy of Donald Trump).
It could have been any number of things …
And while he showed flashes of brilliance during the various “Republican” debates, Rubio’s eloquence ultimately became his undoing when it was revealed the extent to which his talking points were pre-programmed.
“Let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Rubio said during a debate in New Hampshire. “He knows EXACTLY what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.”
Rubio was right … and the line was brilliant.
But then he had a synaptic misfire … some sort of “Milli Vanilli” moment in which the tape in his head started to skip. As a result he repeated the line – twice. That’s when New Jersey governor Chris Christie pounced – delivering a devastating critique of the Rubio campaign (one from which the candidate never really recovered).
“You see everybody,” Christie said. “I want the people at home to see this. That is what Washington D.C. does. The memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn’t solve one problem for one person.”
Exactly … and let’s not kid ourselves. There are problems in need of being solved. ASAP.
Rubio tried to package himself as something new, something different, something diverse … and something electable. But at the end of the day there was no “there” there. GOP voters saw through it – and saw through the party’s feeble attempt to turn the 2016 campaign into a Benetton commercial.
Which leads us to S.C. governor Nikki Haley … whose endorsement of Rubio in early-voting South Carolina was supposed to be the establishment firewall against Trump. Haley didn’t just lend her support to Rubio, she poured a steady stream of venom on Trump – part of her ongoing collaboration with the national “Republicans” (and perhaps others) to sink his candidacy.
Not only that, she appears to have deliberately misled one-time GOP frontrunner Jeb Bush (here) and evangelical favorite Ted Cruz (here) about her intentions with Rubio – creating major rifts within the establishment wing of the party.
Where does that leave Haley on the national stage?
Nowhere, that’s where.
When Rubio bugged out of the race, Haley’s national aspirations evaporated … which may explain her recent frustration levels in returning to the unmitigated disaster that is her home state of South Carolina.
Rubio and Haley were billed on the national stage as the salvation of the “Republican” establishment – attractive minorities pre-programmed with focus group-tested talking points intended to take down “The Donald” and reclaim the mantle of “conservatism” for the They had the GOP donors and the media in their pockets, too.
They couldn’t lose … but they did.
With Haley leading the way, Rubio stormed into Super Tuesday on March 1 with designs on solidifying his status as the GOP’s “anti-Trump.” Two weeks later, though, he’s out of the race – humbled and humiliated following a drubbing in his home state of Florida.
Let Rubio’s collapse be a lesson: Substance matters. Policy matters. Positions matter. What doesn’t matter? Lofty rhetoric, good looks … and diversity for diversity’s sake.