Romney nominated a grown-up. The best and the brightest of the pack. Who couldn’t like a candidate who cares enough (for their own good) to send 90 cranky Georgetown professors to bed without supper to teach them not to throw temper tantrums about Catholic principles and big words they do not bother to try to understand before bloviating about them in the public square?
I’m also deeply relieved Romney rejected Rubio. It’s probably the best chance Rubio has to prove himself in a substantive way, rather than being artificially elevated through the system on the basis of his identity. Far too many right-of-center pundits carried on about Rubio’s imagined “articulateness” and the “great speeches he was making” while studiously pretending not the see the enormous stumbles that defined his Florida political career.
I don’t care much that Rubio got into a bit of trouble for using the Party’s credit cards (though it doesn’t speak well of his ability to manage money), but he was a little too close to high-ranking crooks; he showed bad faith on illegal immigration, and he accepted a sleazy no-show job with an inflated salary from a community college — while overseeing state expenditures to colleges. Worse, that’s about the sum total of what he did on the job in Florida, where the Republican leadership (of which he was one) needed a big ethical kick in the pants.
Not fatal, but not pretty, and it should have been enough to blunt the beltway fawning (it didn’t). I actually trust Rubio to get better with time and think this is good news for him. He would have had no reason to grow in the job if the punditry had succeeded in crowning him the Republican’s Own-Specially-Articulate-Multi-Cult-Answer to Obama.
The pundits, in turn, should be relieved they dodged a bullet they fired, then ran past, then ducked under, just barely. Hopefully they will come to see this flirtation in a sober light. When identity politics become a mantra across the political spectrum, pretty soon all you can hear is the humming.
G.K. Chesterton, of course, would have had something to say to both the fawning beltwayers and the braying Georgetowners. He scoffed at those with inflated faith in their ability to use a little learning to create a “supernormal and miraculous moral factory, in which perfect men and women are made by magic.” He was referring to university education but it applies as well to political punditry.
The idea is to defeat Obama, not channel him.
Or, as my friend Chrissy wrote this morning, and I plead guilty only to quoting her: “Cutie-buns for VP!”