I had thought the low point for Marco Rubio was his terrible judgment last week choosing to go down in the muck and trading schoolboy insults with Donald Trump. It was bad judgment, both moral and political.
Rubio forgot one of the most important lessons your mama teaches: Never mud wrestle with a pig; you both get dirty, but the pig likes it!
Politically, Rubio forgot that voters who don’t mind that kind of childish insult hurling vulgarity are already in Trump’s camp, and nobody is better at it than Donald Trump. The only thing worse than exchanging personal hygiene insults is losing the exchange.
But the absolutely most pathetic moment yet for the Rubio campaign came when he decided to go on Fox News as results came in and boast about his second place in Virginia and how well it bodes for his electoral future.
Honestly, I did feel sorry for him; he looked like he was exhausted, that he was lying, and that he knew it:
Here in Rubioland, a fabulous place where dreams come true, when asked about your bad night at the polls the first step is to launch into Washington jargon sprinkling the faery dust that helps the sophisticated analyst to understand tonight was really a kind of hopeful sign for the future.
“The analysis has to be recalibrated here. First of all this is the proportional stage of the campaign.”
Oh? Like it’s really going to be easier for Rubio to surge when we get to the winner-take-all stage with all the states he wins?
Step two in the Rubio dance — do a jig over the body of Ted Cruz. My bad night? What about that guy’s even worse night?
“This was supposed to be the night Cruz won 5 or 6 states . . . on the other hand you look at Virginia . . . we basically fought Donald Trump to a draw. . . .”
Ho-hum, here in Rubioland, a third place finish in Iowa is a win. A second place in Virginia a month later is a draw. I get it.
Next whirl into your patented — dare I say robotic? — optimism song and dance:
“And now the map starts to get really much better for us, and we never said Super Tuesday was our night. We said we were going to do well on Super Tuesday, but my campaign never claimed that on Super Tuesday would be the night that we surged. We feel really good about the days to come.”
Sure, it may not have been exactly a great night for Cruz who hoped to be the front runner at this point. But do you really mean to tell us Marco that your totally innovative “3, 5, 2, 3, 3, 3, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 1” strategy is right on target?
Meanwhile, I’m having a hard time figuring out what part of the map looks particularly good to Rubioland? Florida, where Rubio is behind by 20 points. Or perhaps he means onward to Wisconsin?
The theory that Rubio is the most electable candidate has always been rooted in complicated theories about the future accompanied by deep data analytic dives that are apparently unfalsifiable.
For when asked if he’d get out if he loses Florida, Rubio vowed to remain in Rubioland forever:
“I will campaign in all 50 states, even if I have to get in my pickup truck and drive all over this country. I will do whatever it takes to prevent a con artist like Donald Trump from ever becoming the Republican nominee.”
Everything apparently except admit the obvious truth: you lost; get out of the way and give someone else a shot at Trump.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.