The most common formulation for political failure in a presidential campaign is this: it was too little, too late. But, in the case of Marco Rubio, it was too little, too soon.
Marco Rubio withdrew from the presidential race tonight, another patch of bloodstained pavement on Trump Boulevard. Our self-described favorite son managed to lose 66 of the 67 counties in Florida to a bloated orange buffoon with genetically engineered hair. How did Marco achieve this grand face-plant on his home turf? In the end, Marco was the first Millennial presidential candidate, and he embodied the narcissistic worst of the selfie generation. He didn’t accomplish anything, rarely showed up for work, and was convinced he deserved a promotion.
It was Marco who launched his campaign with these unintentionally prophetic words in the summer of 2015:
I have heard some suggest that I should step aside and wait my turn. But I cannot. Because I believe our very identity as an exceptional nation is at stake, and I can make a difference as President.
It was a classically self-absorbed Rubio take: Only he was capable of leading America in these uniquely turbulent times. I remember being floored when I heard these words, because I had witnessed firsthand Marco’s reign as Speaker of the Florida House, and I knew he talked a good game but never delivered.
The sad reality was that Marco spent a great deal of time hanging out with the Miami-Dade delegation at the back of the chamber while he delegated the gavel to someone else. Despite the flashy promise of his Hundred Ideas book, very few of his ideas ever made the leap into reality. It’s this same lack of commitment to the tedious work of true public service that left Rick Santorum struggling to name a single accomplishment Marco had achieved.
During the campaign, pundits will say that it was when Marco started making penis jokes on the trail he revealed his shallowness. They’re wrong. His much greater shallowness was revealed when, for more than six months, he stood absolutely silent while Donald Trump berated Americans because of their gender, ethnicity or religion. When it was time to stand up for average Americans, Marco Rubio made the crass political calculation that he risked losing the opportunity to steal Trump voters if he disparaged Trump.
All that was necessary for Trump to triumph was for good men to say nothing, and Marco chose that coward’s course.
Marco, Floridians resoundingly answered the question you implicitly raised in your announcement speech: You should have waited your turn. And, if there’s any karmic justice in the political process, you won’t be given another.