Home / General / Let Us Dispel With the Idea that the Rubiobot Knows What He’s Doing. He Has No Idea What He’s Doing.

Let Us Dispel With the Idea that the Rubiobot Knows What He’s Doing. He Has No Idea What He’s Doing.



This article about how Marco Rubio’s floundering Florida campaign is about to GET SERIOUS (actual quote from Rubio backer: “It’s time to open the can of whoop-ass.”) is comedy gold from which you’ll learn something. His lack of a decent ground game remains as evident in his home state as ever. In addition, one problem with waiting until a week before the primary to open the can of unspecified WHOOP-ASS is Florida’s large number of absentee voters. An electorate that apparently favors Trump by 20 points or so has already cast large numbers of votes, which will make it enormously difficult to catch up even if Rubio starts to close the gap. Which brings us to this detail:

Only Conservative Solutions super PAC overtly backs Rubio, and it’s strictly staying on air — not helping with voter turnout on the ground, where Rubio might need more help getting absentee voters to cast their ballots and getting early and election day voters to the polls. By contrast, Ted Cruz’s super PAC, and Bush’s before, helped turn out voters on the ground in some early states.

Rubio’s campaign said it held off on aggressively targeting absentee-ballot voters when Bush was still in the race because the two candidates shared voters with a similar profile. Rubio didn’t want to spend the money accidentally turning out Bush voters. But, as a result, that meant the campaign left the votes up to chance as thousands of absentee ballots poured in.

So, in an absolute must-win state which is also his home state, Rubio did not make a concerted effort to mobilize his likely absentee voters. The reason he didn’t do this is because…he was scared of Jeb! Bush. And apparently he remained scared of him although 1)it’s long been obvious that Jeb! was not getting any traction, and 2)if Jeb! was running even with him Rubio was dead anyway, so what did they have to lose? It’s kind of amazing just how inept Rubio’s campaign is.

This is presumably one of the variables explaining why the Party didn’t Decide in this cycle for the Republicans. One disadvantage that outsider campaigns can expect to have is a lack of a campaign structure. But when the one viable-ish establishment campaign is being run as badly as Rubio’s, it doesn’t matter nearly as much. And Rubio and his people could almost make Mark Penn look competent by comparison.

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  • DocAmazing

    Mr. Rubio was thirsty again. I think he drank that can of whoop-ass by mistake.

    • Norrin Radd

      Little Marco’s hands are too small to hold a can of whoop ass!

      • Mike R

        Even his own can?

        • Bill Murray

          can a small-handed, thirsty Presidential candidate make a can of whoop-ass only he can open

    • N__B

      Everyone knows that tap whoop-ass is better than bottled, and bottled whoop-ass is better than canned.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        Everyone knows that tap whoop-ass is better than bottled

        Hence the popular phrase, “Tap dat whoop-ass!”

        Thank you, thank you! I’ll be here all week.

      • trollhattan

        And Flint tap-whoop ass is the whoopiest whoop-ass of them all.

        • Bill Murray

          i find it somewhat leaden

          • hidflect

            Unlike the jokes around here. Sheesh..

  • Connecticut Yankee

    The Jeb thing makes sense to me. Obvious he was never going to win, sure, but he got 10% in South Carolina well after that became obvious and would probably have gotten more in Florida. I blame the failure of the party to consolidate in large part on Jeb. He just sucked up to too much money and attention without managing to turn any of that in votes. He sucked up all the oxygen behind the scenes while Trump sucked up all the oxygen on the public side. No one else had a chance

    • Troll

      troll comment deleted

      • Gregor Sansa

        Now it’s been deleted, I can respond…..

        • Gregor Sansa

          Crap, I lost battery while editing that. Troll’s point was that Bush lost because he wasn’t awesome and racist enough. I think that may be true.

          • brewmn

            Lemme guess. The term “cuckservative” was used at least once, right?

            • Gregor Sansa

              Well, the terms “cuck” and “servative” both were. I’m not sure if that counts as half a point for you or two points.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Interesting notion, this. Jeb was clearly the preference of a large amount – possibly the majority – of the billionaire class. A lot of us – me included – assumed a year ago that this was going to be another Bush v. Clinton election. Rubio, Kasich, Walker – none of these were really establishment candidates (although each had his own small set of wealthy sponsors) – all of them were essentially an unofficial backup plan should Bush fail. So why bother having a serious campaign infrastructure if you don’t really expect to win this year (either because this was your “practice” run (i.e. Rubio, Walker) or because it was all a grift (i.e. Carson, Huckster)).

      Cruz was different – he always expected to win as the surprise candidate a la Obama – so he did invest in serious infrastructure.

      So the pre-Trump model would have been a lot of flavors-of-the-fortnight in the GOP lead up to the primaries, similar to 2008 and 2012, only to have Jeb emerge as the frontrunner just in time for New Hampshire. But Trump voided that whole model, and Jeb never caught on with the establishment voters, leaving Rubio to be the de facto choice, but without the infrastructure needed to do a serious run at the nomination. Makes sense.

      • Ken

        I wonder if Trump’s “your brother didn’t keep us safe” tirade had an effect. I mean, everyone knew that, but everyone was also letting Jeb – hell, the whole Republican establishment – get away with saying it.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        I’ve suggested elsewhere that Rubio’s original plan was probably actually to lose the primary to Bush in a respectable fashion, get a VP nom, and either ride Bush’s coattails or set himself up for a 2020 run if Bush lost, so a heavy duty campaign infrastructure was unnecessary. The problem was that Bush never took off and Rubio waited too long to adjust his strategy.

        • howard

          interesting theory, and if it’s true, i wonder if rubio hasn’t now blown any future aspirations due to such a pathetic performance in prime time….

        • Just a Rube

          Rubio couldn’t be Bush’s VP; they’re both from Florida.

      • Scott Lemieux

        So why bother having a serious campaign infrastructure if you don’t really expect to win this year (either because this was your “practice” run (i.e. Rubio, Walker)

        I’ve suggested elsewhere that Rubio’s original plan was probably actually to lose the primary

        This is too clever by half and way too kind to Rubio. Rubio wasn’t running a practice campaign and he fully expected to win. What happened is more straightforward: he convinced himself that today with the internets and the kids with their cell phones you didn’t really need a serious campaign organization to win, just a lot of money for ads and a Twitter feed. (Conveniently, this theory means a lot less work for the candidate.) The problem was that he was wrong.

        This is also completely wrong with respect to Walker. He spent tons of money on organization — thinking he was a “practice” candidate wasn’t his problem.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          Organizations like Rubio’s are the reason consultants get out of bed in the morning. He puts the Mark in Marco and the Rube in Rubio.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Good point about Walker. Yeah, on second thought we were probably right with our original narrative from months ago that the problem initially was too many serious establishment candidates – each with their own billionaire backer or 2 (or 3 or 5) and none could gain traction for the subset of the GOP vote that might support an establishment candidate. Bush, Rubio, Walker, Christie, and the other governors.

          I’m not sure what Rubio was thinking. But it’s worth noting that in recent years these kinds of decisions have been made not by the candidates but their top campaign manager. So one of the most important decision the candidate makes at the outset is the choice of manager. Arguably the choice of Mark Penn instead of someone competent is why Clinton is running again in 2016 instead of planning for her post-Presidency. And at this point I am thinking of Atrios’ comment yesterday about how the GOP campaign management industry is comprised mostly of grifters whose continued re-employment has nothing to do with their electoral success. Have to think Rubio does better with competent campaign management.

          • efgoldman

            And Rubio and his people could almost make Mark Penn look competent by comparison.

            Actually, HRC’s 2008 campaign was parsecs more successful that Brave, Brave Sir Wonderboy Marco’s. She actually won important states and significant (but insufficient) numbers of delegates. None of this “Hey! Third place again! I won!!” crap like Wonderboy.

            • CrunchyFrog

              Well, Clinton was the anointed one in 2008, and Rubio wasn’t close. Penn & Co were already counting the money they were going to make during the main campaign and had to be slapped out of it to realize that they were in danger of losing the primaries.

              • Breadbaker

                Hillary was running against Obama and Penn was matched with Axelrod. Who’s up against Rubio and his team again?

    • Gregor Sansa

      I’m a target of that disgusting troll and I think it’s pathetic enough to leave it up. The point about racism being the cognitive defece that killed the party is valid, even though it’s made from the “yay racism” side.

      • Norrin Radd

        The party proved back in 2012 when they preferred Romney’s Obamacare over Perry’s immigration support that racism ‘trumped’ socialism.

    • Dilan Esper

      Matt Yglesias made the point that even in that debate, after Mitt’s #NeverTrump speech, they still weren’t serious about stopping Trump. If you really wanted to stop Trump, all the opponents would gang up and act strategically– everyone vote for Rubio in Florida, Kasich in Ohio, etc. That’s the only way to get to a situation where Trump isn’t even close to the 1200 delegates in July

      The fact that all the opponents are just out for themselves, even if it gets Trump to the finish line, shows they are not serious.

      • EliHawk

        A collective action problem to the last. If this goes how it looks like it’s going to go, it’s going to be an example in Econ 101 for years to come.

      • Norrin Radd

        They’re serious about it just not as serious as they are about their personal ambitions.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Yes, exactly. In addition to the other factors the non-Trump candidates have a collective action problem that hasn’t gone away. (Apparently Cruz is going hard after Rubio in Florida.)

        • I wonder how much next election strategising is going on. The odds are you aren’t going to beat Trump and the general may well be quite tough, but being runner up is a good position to be in for 2020. Bailinot out as third this early gets you nothing.

          Now they probably aren’t quite this rational, but it wouldn’t be a ridiculous personal reason (and why would you care about the party?)

          • Scott Lemieux

            And in Cruz’s case, 1)if he wants to dream of winning a BROKERED CONVENTION he needs to be a clear #2, and 2)his colleagues detest him anyway.

            • CrunchyFrog

              In the brokered convention scenario I’m seeing the most likely sub-scenario is Cruz and Trump making a deal. They’ll probably have the majority of delegates between them and I can’t see the establishment making a deal with either of them.

              Yes, I know right now Cruz is part and party to the establishment’s anti-Trump campaign, but if Trump fell over dead tomorrow they’d quickly shift to an anti-Cruz campaign. Cruz and the establishment are temporary allies, and they both know it.

              • cleter

                I think Trump could buy off Cruz down the road with the promise of giving him Scalia’s seat. I bet senate Republicans would cheerfully vote to get Cruz out of the senate and into the court where they never had to interact with him ever again.

                • ColBatGuano

                  I just threw up in my mouth a little.

                • galanx

                  The only fly in that particular cesspool is I don’t think Cruz’s ego would allow him to be One of Nine. If Chief Justice were up for grabs, a la Lincoln and Salmon Chase, I think he’d go for it.

                  Cut to convention backroom, where Constitutional lawyer Cruz is explaining to Trump he can’t just get rid of Roberts:

                  “But I’ll be the President- I can fire anybody I want to!”

      • sleepyirv

        Rubio’s 3-2-1 plan clearly expected the race to be over by South Carolina, or at least all the non-Trump candidates would be out after South Carolina. There is no Florida infrastructure because Florida wasn’t really part of the plan until Super Tuesday.

        The crazy thing is, for all the mocking it got, it came pretty close to working. If Rubio had an average debate in New Hampshire, he would have gotten great media coverage. Both Christie and Kasich would have dropped out. The establishment getting behind him for South Carolina would have looked less like a desperation move. Rubio would likely still have lost, but it would have been a close second. It might have been enough to push Cruz out too. Anyway, Rubiobot had a meltdown instead. Late deciding voters, which is a group Rubio has otherwise been doing well with, went with Kasich instead. And now we get to look forward to a month of Trump-Cruz-Kasich, the three least likable people on the planet.

        • Gregor Sansa

          Right, but even if the 3-2 had worked beyond any reasonable expectations and pushed Cruz out, I think the 1 would not have followed. Trump beats Rubio in a 2-man race (though it would be a close thing).

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        the fact that Trump’s opponents are just out for themselves is proof that they are all indeed Republicans

        • Rugosa

          Rugged individualists, all. If your social philosophy is dog-eat-dog, it must suck to realize you are the dog being eaten.

      • Phil Perspective

        Rubio also showed how serious he was by stating that #NeverTrump only existed during the primary. Meaning they’re just dandy with Trump as the nominee, for what ever reason.

      • hidflect

        The Right doesn’t do socialism. They worship the individual struggle so they’ll never cooperate with each other.

    • Brian Schmidt

      I agree with CY, and I think Scott has really misinterpreted this. Rubio’s strategy nationwide has been a tactical choice to spend resources on visibility and not on a ground game. Political scientists have noticed it and called it a risky choice, but not necessarily wrong.

      In Florida it might have been an even better choice if as they’re saying (until Jeb withdrew) it would be really hard to distinguish Rubio and Bush voters.

      I think it’s a mistake to assume Republican political tactics are as stupid as their governmental policies. Rubio won several elections as a lesser-known candidate in a state that plays rough, against both Republican and Democratic opponents. I haven’t heard that he’s got some Miami version of Karl Rove controlling him, so I’d assume he’s got some level of political skill.

      • cleter

        Rubio has not “won several elections as a lesser-known candidate in a state that plays rough.” He ran for the state house in a safe Republican seat, and won the GOP primary by less than 100 votes. That was the only time he was the lesser-known candidate. After that, he was unopposed in three of his four state house wins in his safe GOP district. He rode a Tea Party wave to the 2010 senate nomination and lucked out because the moderate governor ran as an independent, splitting the vote. He got under 50% in a GOP wave year, and he might well have lost in a two-man race. He’s not a political genius.

  • Norrin Radd

    It would be funny to see Cruz and Trump both beat Rubio in Florida.

    • Not hard to imagine. Rubio has never been anywhere near as impressive as touted. People forget that in 2010 he didn’t clear 50%. Sure, Crist had recently been a Republican, but still, it was 2010! And he couldn’t get 50%!

      I never thought Rubio was an impressive candidate, but I really knew he was hosed when one of his top consultants told some journalist that with today’s technology you can run a campaign field operation with a handful of staff on laptops sitting in a Starbucks. That made it clear they were blithering idiots. None of the Republicans are running real field operations–only Cruz came lose, and only in Iowa–and none are strong candidates, so it didn’t mean Rubio wouldn’t end up the nominee. But i meant that he wasn’t doing some of the most important things one should do if you’re actually trying to get the nomination, and you actually know wtf you’re doing.

      • Brian Schmidt

        Bill Clinton also didn’t clear 50% in either 92 or 96. That doesn’t tell you much.

        I think the media-focused tactic is okay, but has one downside – it doesn’t build for the next campaign. Says something about Rubio versus Cruz – we’ll be seeing Cruz in much stronger shape with an infrastructure already built for the next presidential campaign.

        • cleter

          Yeah, but here was polling that suggested that Clinton would win a two-person race, while there was polling that suggested the opposite for Rubio in 2010.

          • Breadbaker

            Clinton and his team were very, very good at counting to 270.

  • anapestic

    This sounds like a continuation of “his numbers are going down and ours are going up.” Rubio can lose Florida by twenty points, but if he loses the people who vote on the actual day of the primary by only ten points, then he’s obviously making lots of headway.

    Honestly, once he won Minnesota, it was all over. I can’t believe these other assclowns are even staying in the race. If his improvement continues at the same pace, he should be winning handily by the time we get to the 75th or 80th state to vote. How can he not be the nominee?

    • N__B

      I knew I had heard this logic before, and you’ve nailed it: Rubio is a Cubs fan! “We didn’t lose. The game ended before we won.”

    • Norrin Radd

      At last the Republican establishment is reaping the harvest of the seeds they sowed, Good and hard.

    • Ken

      You know who else won Minnesota?

      • Just_Dropping_By

        I’ve actually been waiting for Trump to make a crack about Minnesota being for losers because of Mondale also winning there.

    • Bill Murray

      Honestly, once he won Minnesota, it was all over.

      as they say, as Minnesota goes, so goes the Republican Party.

  • patrick II

    Jeb must be a very intimidating guy in person. First he scared off Romney, and now Rubio. Too bad for Jeb that Trump’s name didn’t begin with an “R” — maybe that’s the secret.

    • Troll

      Troll comment deleted

    • CrunchyFrog

      Jeb may or may not be, but word is his mother is a the power in that family, with a nastiness that makes Rove quiver. The dynasty ends when she dies.

  • Marc

    Nazi cleanup on aisle 5….

    • Norrin Radd

      What do you have against “faith family and folk”? other than alliteration is the first casualty of war?

      Ironically the pitchfork on the emblazoned sun strikes me as a little too much like a hammer and sickle. They might want to fire their brand consultant.

  • I suspect the belief that he’ll get it because he wants it is a contributing factor.

  • AMK

    Does he drop out after losing Florida though, or does he just stay in the race for the jet travel and campaign credit cards?

    And I think it’s very telling that all the new last-ditch establishment money isn’t going to Rubio; it’s going into unaffiliated anti-Trump super-PACs. They might be wasting money anyway, but they’re not gonna waste it on him.

    • Cheerful

      If Rubio loses Florida and Kasich wins Ohio all the desperate last ditch stand enthusiasm will go to K. With even less of a likely result. But I doubt R will just bow out at that point. He’s not that bright.

    • pseudonymous in nc

      does he just stay in the race for the jet travel and campaign credit cards?

      Anything to avoid going back to the Senate and doing his job.

      • efgoldman

        Anything to avoid going back to the Senate and doing his job.

        Didn’t he already resign? No, I guess not, or Voldemort would have called a special election or appointed himself, or something.

    • Apollo13

      At this point, there is probably no gain in him dropping out is there?

      He still maintains he won’t run for the Senate again should he drop out. Even if he did, there is a serious chance he would be dumped in the primary.

      After this campaign, poor old Marco is going to be just another conservative schlum making a living with the odd Fox news vox pop and being just another lobbbyist- and his terminal incompetence in this campaign makes ever getting any serious political position again a seriously tough ask.

      Washed up and out of the game at barely 45- that’s his future and he knows it. Might as well carry on riding the money train for a few months.

      • Yeah, I don’t see him dropping out. He’s clearly running out of money, but he’ll probably still continue to get enough to travel around and do some earned media and show up at debates. The rest is waiting for he convention and hoping something happens for him there.

      • Scott P.

        Even if he just coasts the rest of the way, he’s likely to end up with, say 400-600 delegates. That’s enough to be a kingmaker in the convention, or so he’ll think.

        • Pat

          I doubt that highly. Too many winner-take-all contests towards the end.

      • efgoldman

        Washed up and out of the game at barely 45

        Yup. And I’m not sure he understands that; I’d bet none of his close advisors has told hum. If he gets swamped in his home state – finishes third, or loses by ~20 points or more – his political career is over, O-V-A.
        I read somewhere that he thinks he can run for governor down the road. Um, no. Wonderboy. The loserstink doesn’t go away in the 21st century.

        • cleter

          I don’t think he’ll run for governor. He’ll start hanging out in Iowa the day after Hillary is sworn in.

  • iliketurtles

    My supporters are urging me to take it all the way to the finish and I will not let them down. I am willing to lose as many of these contests as it takes to win.

  • Captain Oblivious

    Let us note that Rubio has never had to fight a tough campaign, with the possible exception of his very first run for office. Through his entire state house career, he coasted through re-election, often unopposed. In the Senatorial race, he faced a split ticket and won with only 49% of the vote, an outcome that was predicted by everyone long ahead of the election once it became clear that neither Crist nor Kendricks was going to withdraw.

    • cleter

      Yeah, his only tough race was the first state house GOP primary he ran in.

  • Funkhauser

    It’s unnerving how many of these squeak-by victories for progressives are the product of right’s donors inadvertently funneling money to less-than-competent grifters and scammers (dba campaign consultants).

    If conservatives actually looked for an optimal ROI on campaigning and donations, half of CPAC would be out of business, but they might win a few more victories.

    • The other side is that most Dem mega-donors only want to fund things that “drive narrative” or are “innovative” or “don’t waste money on TV.” Yet the New Organizing Institute went kaput, we have a tiny fraction of the SuperPAC money that Republicans have, and where they find jobs for thoousands of operatives between elections, our people are dropping out of the field all the time because progressives don’t properly value election campaigns and the people who staff and run them.

      • Phil Perspective

        Yet the New Organizing Institute went kaput, we have a tiny fraction of the SuperPAC money that Republicans have, and where they find jobs for thousands of operatives between elections, our people are dropping out of the field all the time because progressives don’t properly value election campaigns and the people who staff and run them.

        What progressives are those? Bill Gates and George Soros? Rich people, as a group, are backwards, reactionary assholes. Relying on them to fund a progressive movement is like peeing into the wind.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    What does this remind me of? …Oh, that’s it! “I am zee Rubot!…”


    (Even the hair)

  • Regulust

    I think Atrios knows what’s up.

    So long as the GOP loses elections there won’t be an incumbent to secure the next cycle, making it much easier to find marks to jump in the clown car. Win or lose the Grift Express steams along.

    • efgoldman

      Win or lose the Grift Express steams along.

      Same with Fox and the talk show tyrants. The way things are now, they can boost ratings by keeping the rubes riled up, as long as that Islamocommie Fascist Atheist ni[clang] Obama and his fellow travelers block the RWNJ TeaHadi’s priorities (regardless of whether it’s true). If they win it all, then they (the Foxbots, not the rubes) have no-one to blame but heir own side.

  • cleter

    I think the fact that Rubio has zero ground game in Florida makes it clear that he never, ever intended to run for the senate again. He never made any kind of effort for the kind of tough run he would have in a presidential election year, which was dumb, because that kind of planning would also have helped him in a GOP presidential primary. I don’t think he expected to have to struggle for Florida in the presidential primary.

  • Marc

    It looks as if Little Marco may be on track to get fourth place in two of the caucuses. It does look like he’s securely third in kansas. What’s below bronze?

    • redrob

      When I was a wee lad in grade school, I believe that 4th place earned you a white ribbon, so we could dig a couple of those up for him.

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