The Corner

Politics & Policy

Rubio and the Elites

There’s no front-runner in the Republican primary, but Marco Rubio is winning the hearts of a lot of Republican elites. He certainly has their attention — David Brooks’s New York Times column today is headlined “The Talented Mr. Rubio.”

Brooks says “there is beginning to be a certain charisma” to Rubio’s campaign that’s “not necessarily showing up in outright support.” That is, important people — people like David Brooks — are paying attention to Rubio and starting to think he could be their guy. 

Brooks captures the thinking: 

Rubio, 43, doesn’t just speak in the ardent patriotic tones common to the children of immigrants like himself. His very life is the embodiment of the American dream: parents who tended bar and worked at Kmart with a son who rose to become a United States senator. His heritage demonstrates that the American dream is open to all who come here legally and work hard. He is what many Republicans want their country to be. . . .

He is, for starters, the most talented politician in the race. Set aside who has the most money and who has the best infrastructure. (Overrated assets at this stage in the race.) Set aside the ideological buckets we pundits like to divide the candidates into. (Voters are not that attuned to factional distinctions.) In most primary battles, the crown goes to the most talented plausible candidate.

I wrote about this phenomenon last month, noting that the “insider buzz” within the GOP was all about Rubio. Reporters, for whatever it’s worth, like him too. 

The question now is whether Rubio can catch fire outside of elite circles and elevate himself beyond the 8 to 11 percent of support he’s getting. 

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