Rubio, Not Cruz, Is Killing Obamacare

The single most depressing thing about our politics to me is not its harshness or divisiveness, but how  appearances and showmanship Trump accomplishments every time. I've ranted previously about the calumniation of Pius XII and Lincoln in this regard. In their time, everyone knew their nobility and was grateful for what they'd done. Today we look in our history books for pictures of the pope at the big anti-Hitler sit-in or look for Lincoln's Black Lives Matter t-shirt. Finding no such pictures or apparel, we denounce them. Because what is saving 860,000 actual Jews or actual emancipation in comparison with carrying the right protest sign?

I always prove wrong in these matters, but it feels to me as if momentum in the GOP race has swung to Cruz. I don't hate that idea as much as I did a year ago (thank you, Donald Trump, for making me realize I could swallow a Cruz presidency), but I nonetheless do hate it, because Cruz strikes me as just as much a demagogue as Trump, albeit one with an actual commitment to conservatism (and less dangerous because he's less likable).

The person who makes my little heart beat faster when she speaks is Fiorina, because she talks about restoring the American character and understands that corruption and crony capitalism are what's killing us.  She speaks credibly to normal, hard-working people about their difficulties instead of pitching everything to businessmen. I love the fact that she doesn't play games with dumb questions like what woman should we put on our money.  I've heard her a couple of nights on Hugh Hewitt recently, and she's impressive on what to do about terrorism, too. (Her take: it's not the policy, it's the technology, stupid. Govt. is four generations, she estimates, behind the times in how you track people). However, I don't see her going anywhere, and I think she may have contributed what she can in that all the candidates now use her language to talk about crony capitalism, climate change, and de-funding Planned Parenthood. 

I want to think that Marco Rubio is too young and "establishment," except that every time I hear him in an interview he says pretty close to what I think, and he is impressive on foreign policy questions -- and it's suddenly a foreign policy election. Moreover, unlike the bombastic Cruz who is campaigning on being the only person to stand up to Obamacare and not sell out, Rubio is the one who has actually almost killed Obamacare

while the shutdown may have helped boost Cruz into the top tier of Republican presidential contenders, it had zero impact on undermining Obamacare.
Rubio, by contrast, didn’t read Dr. Seuss on the Senate floor, but he has quietly pushed Obamacare into what may prove to be a death spiral.

Seriously. Read that linked piece and remind yourself of two things: 

1) Hardly anything in politics ever happens directly. If you want to sink a law when your opposition is in power, you have to kill it with a poison pill as Rubio has done to Obamacare -- and that takes being shrewd and attentive to opportunities and knowing when to be quiet. There is a time for bluster and filibustering, but if those are the only arrows in your quiver, you are not going to get much done. Every time in the debates I hear Cruz talk about being the only person to stand up for "x," he is describing battles he lost. Talk to me when you stood alone and something changed because of it.

2) In politics, you have to be able to make friends, not just enemies. Here's a piece from Mark Steyn that makes this point in a back-handed way. He praises Cruz for being the sole Republican to stand up against climate change bullies. But what I ask myself is what Cruz must be like that on an important matter he couldn't get a one of his colleagues to join him for a crucial hearing? How did he allow the hearings to go forward under those conditions, but that he's convinced he can handle things all by his lonesome? And then, to hear Steyn tell it, he let his guests get eaten alive. Cruz is supposed to be a genius, but that wasn't smart. 

[Begin disappointed rant] In general I'm not impressed with the Tea Party/Freedom Caucus politicians. I share their policy goals on the whole, but it doesn't seem to me they do their homework. Benghazi hearings? Planned Parenthood hearings? Embarrassing. Hearings are about fact-finding, not making speeches. Our guys didn't appear so much as to have consulted each other on who would take which line of questioning or what their goals were. Because, hey, we're not the "Establishment," so we've got nothing to learn from anyone. You want to do nothing but grandstand? Get a radio show. You were elected to govern. [End disappointed rant]

How is the guy who can't get a Senate colleague to back him up in a sub-committee going to get any judges or nominees through the Senate -- where the cameras are rolling and a million interest groups are pressuring people to vote their way? 

Plus, I've never really forgiven Cruz for his behavior at the In Defense of Christians conference, where he threw persecuted peoples to the wolves for political purposes -- and 30 seconds after this embarrassing performance, he was raising money on it, once again playing the Sole Noble Soul (TM) in our corrupt Republic. Blecch. 

All of which is to say, going into tomorrow night's GOP debate: it feels like Cruz, but I hope it's Rubio.

UpdateAs for Trump...

Updater:  If you aren't following Hugh Hewitt's weekly interviews w/ every candidate, you are missing something. Trump is more likable in Hewitt's hands; a good interviewer can draw people out. You can find them all (I think it's, like, 90 interviews) in his archives.

3rd update: Thanks to several folks who shared this on Facebook, and welcome to their readers! Now that the debate is over, I stand by what's written here and add that while the debate was serious and substantive in a certain respect, I did not like the overall tone of fear-mongering coming to a degree from everyone except Fiorina & Rubio, but especially from Christie & Cruz. And I didn't like their war-mongering one bit, either. I understand Christie calculates his one remaining shot at this is becoming the security candidate -- but threatening to shoot down Russian planes? Really? And interrupting substantive debate to say the bottom line is Americans are terrified? No we're not -- and to the degree we are, a statesman should be urging calm and showing the way forward, not encouraging the panic as a means of gaining ascendancy.  Cruz smiled w/ self-satisfaction when his own comment about carpet-bombing was read back to him -- just delighted with himself! That was weird. You know it was a weird debate when I agree with Rand Paul's critique of Christie that we need a steady hand on the helm, not a guy armed for [Russian] bear.  

Which is to conclude: all of the above, plus: Rubio's the only happy warrior, and the American people don't go for mean and scary. I don't see any of the other guys, whatever their merits (which are considerable -- they'd be an excellent cabinet) beating Hillary.