Iconoclast liberal and Ann Coulter-buddy Mickey Kaus goes to watch Marco Rubio in action firsthand and presents a long-form case why his nomination would deal a coup de grace to the nascent populist-nationalist Reaction and traditional America (at least as long as we’re still constrained to resist by means of the “ballot”):
Marco and the K St. Restoration: I went to see Marco Rubio’s town hall this afternoon in Salem, New Hampshire. It was only a few miles from my hotel–I really had no excuse. I wanted to find out: Was Rubio really as slick and insubstantial in this setting as John Edwards? Answer: No. He’s slicker. He’s slicker, in part, because he at least seems a bit spontaneous,** with a slightly goofy, human quality. I admit this is hard to judge seeing him once — maybe he always lets his 8-year-old son sit on his stool during his stump speech. But it’s hard to deny the appeal.
When it comes to substance, Rubio draws on an inventory of well-prepared rhetorical modules, with just enough policy to sound sophisticated, that can be inserted where necessary to handle, say, the how-would-you-handle-ISIS question (Sunni ground army!) or disability benefits (get rid of phony claims!). There’s not much sacrifice involved in any of Rubio’s proposals — even avoiding budget apocalypse, which he claims to be very concerned about, is just a matter of raising the retirement age and slowing benefit hikes for the well-off. Nothing that hasn’t been floating around Washington for years. There’s a heavy emphasis on electability. Big, difficult questions (like robots taking everyone’s jobs) are ignored. Tellingly, however, Rubio has added a Trump Module, where he alludes to anger at stagnant wages. [. . . ]
“Read the whole thing there.” Bonus kausism from tonight’s GOP debate in New Hampshire:
Half this debate seems to be Martha Raddatz asking “Would you bomb this? … How about that? … Don’t you want to bomb at least *that*?