Thursday, February 11, 2016

Presidential Primaries: Who's In, Who's Out, and Who Should Be Out

Breaking yesterday: Fiorina and Christie drop out of Presidential race.

Carson and Bush are still in despite poor showing in NH primary.

So is Marco the RuBioBot but he should not be. It sure looks like he's thrashing about like a drowning man. Now he's accusing Obama of treason. Treason? WTF? Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlog) has this story.

... Rubio’s comeback plan involves telling voters that President Obama is somehow guilty of treason.

Indeed, consider this exchange yesterday between Alex Conant, Rubio’s communications director, and CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

CUOMO: So [Marco Rubio] really believes that President Obama is intentionally trying to destroy the country?

CONANT: Absolutely. And I - and I - all - all evidence points - all evidence confirms that. He -

CUOMO: That he’s intentionally trying to destroy the country?

CONANT: Absolutely.

National Journal’s Ron Brownstein added that the Rubio campaign issued a press release soon after arguing, “We are the only campaign who is exposing President Obama for his deliberate actions to destroy our country.”

This isn’t a joke. None of this is satire. I’m not being hyperbolic in the hopes of making Rubio and his team appear insane – these are all actual quotes. The scripted phrase that the senator kept mindlessly repeating on Saturday night hinted in this direction, but Team Rubio is now abandoning subtlety.

To be sure, there are strange, assorted voices – Glenn Beck, Dinesh D’Souza, various right-wing bloggers – who make the case that that the president is trying to destroy America, on purpose, through some secret sabotage campaign that only unhinged conservatives can see. It’s a crackpot idea, espoused by discredited loons.

And yet, Marco Rubio, the darling of the Republican establishment and much of the Beltway punditocracy, is actually embracing this garbage as a way of rescuing his campaign.

Who knows, maybe it’ll work. Maybe this is just the thing to make a flailing, panicky candidate get back on track. But at least for now, it seems like just another cringe-worthy moment for a senator who has no idea what he’s doing.

What about the rest, those that are still in?

Quote of the day: "a five-way race that will be nasty, brutish and long."

The Quote is from John Nichols at The Nation writing about the Republican elites not getting a clear alternative to Trump and Cruz.

... [The remaining GOP candidates are] part of a five-way race that will be nasty, brutish and long.

This is a nightmare scenario for the elites. After Bush stumbled in debate after debate after debate, many major donors and party strategists began to look longingly at Rubio. Yes, Rubio was young and perhaps a bit ill-prepared, the argument went, but he was on message and often quite articulate. Then, under pressure from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the last debate before the New Hampshire primary, Rubio was exposed as a vapid careerist stuck on repeat. That did not get Christie a good enough finish to maintain a credible candidacy; he was talking on Tuesday night about returning to New Jersey to “take a deep breath” and reassess his 2016 run.

Christie will not be the only Republican who is taking deep breaths and reassessing the 2016 race after all the New Hampshire ballots are counted. The governor has a way out. He can quit. [He apparently did.]The Republican elites have no way out. They are going to be stuck in this dark night of the soul for a good deal longer.

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