Surprise? There are no surprises in presidential politics.
Tonight, Marco Rubio will stand before a Miami crowd and announce his run for the White House. The cat flew out of the bag this morning during a conference call, when the Florida senator told a group of donors that he’s “in” for 2016.
Yesterday, Rubio released a short cell phone video message via his Facebook page, encouraging everyone to tune in for tonight’s announcement:
It’s rough, and simple, yet still not something you do if you’re preparing to tell a room full of donors that you’re making another run for Congress.
Rubio’s team is doing a good job with the optics on this one. They’ve been teasing the event on social media, offering $3.05 tickets to the event (Miami’s area code) and promising crucial updates in exchange for important voter data points like e-mail addresses and phone numbers. More than three times the number of guests Rubio’s chosen venue can accommodate have requested tickets to the event, but don’t worry—overflow space is plentiful outside the building, where TV screens and campaign swag will be readily available.
You’d think they’d been preparing for this moment for a while, right?
They have; well, at least Rubio has. We’ve written a lot about how Rubio has done a good job distinguishing himself both in terms of media and optics, and in terms of the murky areas of foreign policy, which I think could define the 2016 cycle.
More from the AP:
Starting right after the 2014 elections that tipped the Senate into Republican hands, Rubio has been methodically moving toward a presidential announcement. His top political adviser and likely campaign manager, Terry Sullivan, has been building his team, tapping Jim Merrill, who ran Mitt Romney’s New Hampshire campaigns, veteran spokesman Alex Conant, advertising chief Todd Harris and former Romney political director Rich Beeson.
His political advisers have told party leaders that they should start recruiting a candidate to run for his Senate seat.
Not even two weeks after the 2012 presidential election, Rubio visited Iowa to headline a birthday event for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a kingmaker in Iowa presidential politics.
He’s been making inroads with activists after turns at the anti-tax Club for Growth confab and the grassroots Conservative Political Action Conference. And in his day job in the Senate, Rubio has been a leading voice against President Barack Obama’s engagement with Cuba and Iran.
On Friday, Rubio’s team released a 5-minute “announcement preview” featuring some of his best onstage moments. The theme? The American dream. The tone? Serious.
I like him. I’m not endorsing him, but I like Marco Rubio for bigger and better things. However, last week Professor Jacobson asked an important question that everyone on the right—from “establishment” to Tea Party—needs to ask themselves right this second: can conservatives fall in love with Marco Rubio again?
We remember Marco. The insurgent Tea Party candidate who defeated Charlie what’s his name, the National Republican Senatorial Committee anointed candidate. Those were heady days, all the way back in 2010, as we recalled in Give Some Credit To “Not One Red Cent”…
Since those days, the liberal media, Democratic politicians and the Republican establishment sought to crush the Tea Party, with mixed results. The Tea Party changed the dialogue, the national focus, and both houses of Congress.
But some of those early Tea Party candidates changed too, and Rubio is remembered with some disappointment by his earliest backers, the bloggers who believed when no one else did.
But has he changed so much that he’s no longer a viable conservative candidate?
Personally, I never fell out of love with Marco Rubio. I’m too pragmatic to break up with politicians the moment they disappoint me; to expect perfection is to set yourself and everyone else up for failure. That being said, I think his particular push for immigration reform was a huge mistake, and that he desperately needed the time he took out of the spotlight to recover from it.
Was it enough to disqualify him from ever being president? I think the answer to that question is no.
Anyone who has spent any time at all with Marco Rubio knows that he oozes the qualities of an approachable and extremely likable candidate. He’s attractive. He’s friendly. He comes across as a real person and not a polished puppet. That on top of his confidence both on the floor of the Senate and in front of the camera makes him a legitimate contender in this thing.
Is he too young? Too inexperienced? Maybe. The “junior senator” thing is a problem, but looking down the road, I think it would be a major mistake for conservatives to not give Marco Rubio the benefit of a serious look, if nothing else.
We’ll be covering the announcement tonight, right here at LI.DONATE
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