I’ll admit to having a bit of of a man crush on Marco Rubio. But that’s not why I’ve been rooting for him. If he’s our nominee we’d have the best natural politician since Jack Kennedy. He’s just so good with the ladies — compare his support from women with Cruz’s.
Which got me thinking back to 1960. I shook hands and looked in the eyes of both Kennedy and Nixon.* Kennedy was just a cool guy. You couldn’t help but like him. Nixon was, well, Nixon. He had no interpersonal skills. Not very many people actually liked Nixon, and if you met him you knew why.
In a close race, such as 1960, the likability factor will make the difference. So, go with Rubio, right? Except I am completely convinced, barring black swans, that 2016 isn’t going to be close at all. It’s going to be a blowout. We could nominate Christie or Kasich and still win.
Cruz just doesn’t have the natural people skills that really good politicians have. He’s no Nixon, but he comes across as kind of phony. Because he’s not really being himself. This guy’s a brainiac who enjoys the company and conversation of equally intelligent people. He didn’t marry a hottie, like Rubio did. He married a woman who may be as smart as he is.
It’s not that he doesn’t like people. He does. But he’d rather not be pretending to be palsy walsy with every hog farmer he runs across in Iowa. And it shows. What also shows is that he is a tightly disciplined man, uptight, as we used to say. His mannerisms seem to be copied from someone else.
This is a flaw in a candidate, but not necessarily in a man. Most men can’t go around kissing babies all day and pretend they’re having a gay old time. I’ve known some outstanding men, who would have done a tremendous job in office, if they could get elected. Lacking strong political skills is not a disqualifier, in my opinion.
And to hear his Senate colleagues tell it, he’s an arrogant asshole. Well, so are most of them.
I’m a lawyer, and let me give you a tip. Don’t hire a nice guy to be your lawyer. Hire an asshole. Maybe the same thing goes as President.
And here’s another thing about the 1960 election between Mr. Charming and the Rat. We’d have been a hell of a lot better off if Nixon had won. Kennedy, with all the good intentions in the world, stumbled and fumbled so badly in foreign policy that he wound up getting us into Vietnam. There is no way Nixon would have let that happen. So much for pretty boys in the Presidency.
So Rep. McCaul, Chair of House Intelligence, reports that ISIS has been trying to use the refugee program to infiltrate us. So Trump puts out a statement calling for the prevention of any Muslim from getting into the country. Kasich and Bush and Christie are horrified.
Advantage, Trump. He’s a little overboard, but at least he’s headed in the right direction. If Cruz or Rubio are smart, they would respond not by condemning Trump but by coming up with their own, more realistic ways to restrict travel from certain Muslim countries. Sen. Paul’s amendment in the Senate last week is a good example.
I don’t envy Paul Ryan. He is in a very delicate situation. This will be a real test of his political skills. I don’t think he’s operated at this level before. If there is one thing I think he should insist on including in the budget omnibus it’s a temporary halt to the Syrian refugee program. If Obama refuses to accept that, and promises a veto, take him up on it. If he wants to shut down the government rather than restrict Syrian immigration, let him do it.
That is a fight he would lose, and would be the effective end of his Presidency.
*Well, actually I didn’t see Nixon until 1966.