Slightly Better Than Herpes….

Today is the New Hampshire primary. Before Marco Rubio’s robotic debate performance, he was expected to do well in New Hampshire, thanks to the perception that he is one of the more “moderate” candidates.

As John Favreau points out in some interesting observations about Rubio in the Daily Beast, that perception is erroneous.

It’s silly to pretend otherwise: As a Democrat, I’d rather run against Ted Cruz than Marco Rubio.

But that’s like saying I’d rather run against herpes than Marco Rubio. Of course I would. I don’t care that Ted Cruz may be smart and strategic. He’s also creepy and cruel, according to just about everyone who’s ever had the misfortune of knowing him for longer than 10 minutes.

Favreau notes the reasons that most Americans–at least, those who haven’t paid close attention to the train wreck which has been the Republican Presidential primary season–consider Rubio the candidate who could give Hillary (or Bernie) a genuine run for the office. He lists Rubio’s “positives,” including his youth, an appealing personal story and, given his background, a possible/theoretical  appeal to Latino voters.

Mostly, however, pundits attribute Rubio’s greater “electability” to a widespread perception that he falls into the “moderate” category. But as Favreau points out, that’s sort of like saying that next to Hitler, Mussolini was a moderate.

Because Trump and Cruz have moved the goalposts on what it means to be bat-shit crazy in a primary, the press will confuse Rubio’s moderate temperament with moderate policies, of which he has none. Rubio was once described as the “crown prince” of the Tea Party. He has a 100 percent rating from the NRA. He’ll appoint justices who will overturn the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision. He opposes abortion with no exception for rape or incest. He opposes stem cell research and doesn’t believe in climate change. He’d send ground troops to Syria and trillions in tax cuts to the rich.

It is extremely unlikely that anyone championing those policies can be elected President. Voter ID laws and SuperPacs can only do so much. Gerrymandering can insure control of the House of Representatives, but not the Presidency.

How has the party of Eisenhower, Nixon (who despite his flaws understood governance and foreign policy) and even Reagan (who would be far too liberal for the current party base) come to this? And what will the outcome be?

The real problem for all of us— Democrats, Independents and those rational Republicans who haven’t yet thrown in the towel— is that the implosion of a once-responsible, genuinely conservative political party is a body blow to effective government. This country desperately needs adult conversations, thoughtful consideration of different policy approaches to the actual, real-world problems we face and a nuanced understanding of the systems within which those problems must be addressed.

These people want to be important. They want to rule; they don’t want to govern.


  1. “Because Trump and Cruz have moved the goalposts on what it means to be bat-shit crazy in a primary” this line made me LOL. So very true.

    If anybody wants to know the difference between Dems and the GOP, all they have to do is watch one debate of each. The nuts on the R side are slinging poo at each other and the Dems are actually having a debate about what’s important to the citizens of this country who have seen their income go down, their liabilities go up and their health care costs skyrocket.

  2. If I could have only one wish granted; it would be that this election, with all of the idiocy and scare tactics would be behind us and we could either move forward or begin digging foxholes, join the NRA and arm ourselves for self- protection. We will either be doomed or blessed with the outcome of this presidential election; much like the conditions needed to save the union when Abraham Lincoln was elected. Pray God; it doesn’t take another “boots on the ground” – again our home ground – to end the current Cold Civil War based on states rights and religion and steeped in racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism and little comprehension of the Constitution and Amendments.

    There is no cure for Herpes; but it can be controlled with awareness of the infection, medication applied diligently and self-control regarding actions but still no cure in sight. The current Republican “clown car” idiocy is frightening and embarrasses us who are aware that it IS idiocy and in the eyes of the world at large. They seek a monarchy and have already bought and paid for voters through gerrymandering and our current Congress; the White House is now on the auction block.

  3. But Andy, the party left her. I believe she is from good stock and they are crazy on the other side. The whole world sees that.

  4. Rubio is a Kardashian, all style and no content. Unfortunately style can be sold to those unable to distinguish form from function.

    If we still had an informed electorate the eventual candidates would be Bernie vs Kasich and Bernie would win to maintain and extend America’s recovery from Cheney and return to we the people.

    But the Ministry of Truth loudspeakers still blare from every street corner and we still are significantly a nation of sheep who worship fashion over everything substantive and will choose fear and loathing because it requires no thinking.

    But once the party slaves have pulled their levers a small group who know government and business and religion will come in and make the decision for the rest and because population is still what counts they’ll save us once more from the rubes.

    I choose to have faith in democracy – to invest in a future for all Americans.

  5. YAY for Pete (again).
    My opinion: Only a truly crushing defeat will reform the party of crazy
    Up and down the ticket
    Until then, we are stuck with the nut jobs

  6. To you all,

    “Slightly better than herpes….”

    It’s a little early to say that the Republican candidates are “slightly better than herpes.” Just one person’s view: They might be worse. And if one is elected, which is VERY POSSIBLE, he or she can be, potentially, more toxic than herpes.

    Good question: Was Adolph Hitler more toxic than herpes?

    Anticipatory defense: I’m not calling the Republican candidates crypto-Nazis, not yet at least.

  7. Marv, one difference. Hitler wanted power for himself and his people. Republicans want power for those who own them, the oligarchs.

  8. Pete,

    “Republicans want power for those who own them, the oligarchs”

    One thing you can say is that Hitler had a lot more “guts” than this Republican presidential lineup. Hitler was a decorated soldier. He was for real. He was no “joke.”

    That’s not the case for Trump, Cruz, or Rubio: “a trio of political fools,” who if ever elected will lead this “country of the blind” or “country of sheep” or both to our eventual slaughter.

  9. Rubio’s performances raise the question: How are any of the Republican candidates going to actually function as president if they are forced to abandon their talking points and make a stand-alone influential statement about foreign policy or a domestic issue?

  10. daleb, if you watch VERY carefully, you’ll be able to see the puppet masters pulling their strings.

  11. I can’t believe this campaign. I am a moderate Republican. The GOP left me bleeding by the side of the road. No way can I vote for Trump, Cruz or Rubio. No! Although I know the words to O, Canada, I cannot leave the country my family has served since our War of Independance. There are more of me waiting for someone sensible and willing to work with those on both sides of the aisle.

  12. On the positive side the democrats are running two separate philosophies in their primary either of whom are electible. Hilary is espousing what were traditionally conservative principles Bernie is progressive

  13. Both parties for the most part adhere to the Fascist -Corporatism-Crony-Capitalism. I think of it in terms of the Mafia. The Five New York Mafia Families agreed on a cease fire, in exchange for established territorial control. I can not think of last time or anytime the Democrats here in Indiana brought up Gerrymandering let alone were loud about it. Mr Moustache , our Democrat Candidate for Governor, commonly known as John Gregg has the following on his web site – “As this campaign continues, check back here for John’s detailed economic plan which will be unveiled soon.” Truly, inspiring – right. Gregg has had four years since the last election to put a plan together.

    The Republicons have been very clever in hiding the 1% Agenda behind Social Issues and a war on government in general. I could not watch all of the Republicon Debate. It was like sitting in a port a potty on a hot summer day, the stench was over whelming.

    It is time the Democrats stopped hiding like frightened rabbits, and cautiously vocalizing establishment positions. We need a Progressive Agenda Feel the Bern.

  14. Ginny, I think that’s what I have been seeing. Repubs staying on message, even when it has no relevance to the issues that really matter to most people. It has to be difficult to appear completely relaxed, when that script is playing over and over in your head. If I understand Rubio’s campaign, he doesn’t like Obama and he wants to do other things – I think that’s about it.

  15. It never occurred to me to consider Cruz less dangerous than Rubio because he is less likable in person. I am not sure that is enough to discourage voters who have not met him. I too love the “bat-shit crazy” moniker but that characteristic doesn’t seem to discourage voters either. This is the first time in my 60 some years that I have paid attention to these early caucuses; perhaps it is my fear that we could actually end up with a president who is either a loose cannon or a pawn of the wealthy who want to eliminate any social welfare programs.

  16. When Marco Rubio was out on the stump running for his Florida Senate seat in 2010 he had a penchant for telling his listeners that his family had fled from their native Cuba to escape Castro’s oppressive government in 1959. Unfortunately for Mr. Rubio, Florida and national newspapers reported that his family had actually immigrated to this country in 1956, BEFORE Castro came to power, before the Cuban revolution that overthrew the Batista regime had actually occurred. They went on to report that his mother, not a naturalized U.S. citizen at the time, had made trips to and from Cuba after Castro’s government had come to power.

    Rubio had clearly embellished his family’s history so that his candidacy would appeal to voters that would be more impressed by the son of political refugees from Cuba than one from a family that had left “that imprisoned island” for purely personal economic reasons before it was imprisoned by someone other than Batista.

    Eventually Senator Rubio had to “fess up” to his embellishment of his family’s history and in a speech made the following statement:

    “The real essence of my family’s story is not about the date my parents first entered the United States. Or whether they traveled back and forth between the two nations. Or even the date they left Fidel Castro’s Cuba forever and permanently settled here. The essence of my family story is why they came to America in the first place, and why they had to stay.”

    Perhaps he had retold and retold his fraudulent story of his family in “Robo-Rubio” fashion to the point where someone was so annoyed by continuously hearing it that they actually checked into it and found that it was a lie. I must admit that I’ve been wondering when this story is going to come up once again and get traction given that he’s running for President. Perhaps as he continues to wiggle, flip-flop, and dodge his way up the primary ladder while continuing to score clear-cut election victories by coming in third as he did in Iowa.

    He can’t tell the truth very well nor can he count very well either. Just what we all need as President of the United States.

  17. It sounds like Michael Bloomberg is planning to run for president. He is a former Dem, switched to Independent and is currently a Rep (or Rep and then Independent?). He is more sane than any of the Rep candidates running so far. I wonder if he has a chance of winning a primary.

  18. Seems that we’re now wasting time and words beating a dead horse, the sundry Republican candidates. Discussion re: Sanders and Clinton might be a better use of time and energy.

  19. Indeed – “These people want to be important. They want to rule; they don’t want to govern.”

    This has been a recurring theme over the last 5-10 years and probably has to do with the self-referentiality of (forgive me everyone, I’m going to say it again) the media. I tutor college students in math & science, and you’d be amazed how many intelligent, whip-smart 20-year-olds want to be doctors, but really aren’t that interested in treating patients. My brother’s in advertising and says that graduates of his alma mater, RISD, want to be artists but really aren’t interested in making art, i.e. they like going to hip parties & smoking clove cigarettes but the last time they smelled paint was three months ago.

    Faux artists aren’t harmful, in fact that’s been going on for centuries; but faux doctors and faux politicians make bad, thoughtless decisions that affect many people. Wouldn’t it be great if we could sue a politician for malpractice?

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