Commentary By Ron Beasley
It often seems that The Weekly Standard must be published in an alternate universe. My favorite example is this quote from Bill Kristol:
"There's been a certain amount of pop sociology in America ... that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq's always been very secular." ~Willaim Kristol, April 4th, 2003
And don't forget it was Bill Kristol who was pushing Sarah Palin in 2008.
But Stephen Hayes and Bill Kristol have outdone themselves with their suggestion that Mitt Romney should select Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio as his Vice President. Paul Ryan is best known for his budget that would throw the elderly and the poor under the bus. His plan is so bad that people refused to believe that it was a real proposal. He might be a good choice in The Weekly Standard universe but not in this one.
When it comes to Marco Rubio they say this:
An NBC/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll released in late July shows Obama with a 67-23 percent advantage over Romney among Hispanics. Last week, a Latino Decisions poll had Obama leading Romney 63-27 percent among Hispanics in five swing states with significant Hispanic populations-Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Virginia.
That's worrisome. But the core of the problem is Florida-a must-win state for Romney. According to Latino Decisions, Romney trails Obama among Latino Floridians 53-37. (Even more, among voters who say they're "certain" to vote for their candidate, Obama leads 49-29.) This kind of margin might well doom Romney.
In 2010, by contrast, Marco Rubio won 55 percent of Florida Hispanics. Rick Scott, who was probably helped by having Rubio running with him, won 50 percent of the state's Hispanic voters in his successful bid to become governor. Even in 2008, while losing Florida 51-48, John McCain won 42 percent of the Hispanic vote. In 2004, George W. Bush defeated John Kerry among Hispanics in Florida by 56-44 percent. (Those numbers were no doubt inflated because Bush's brother Jeb was the popular governor at the time.)
The bottom line: Mitt Romney almost certainly will not win Florida if he wins just 37 percent of the Hispanic vote there. And Mitt Romney almost certainly will not be president if he doesn't win Florida.
What to do? The Latino Decisions poll offers one possible answer: Pick Marco Rubio as your running mate. Some 31 percent of Florida Hispanics say they are more likely to vote for Romney if Rubio is on the ticket (47 percent say it would make no difference, and just 17 percent say it would make them less likely).
Rubio's appeal goes well beyond Hispanics and well beyond Florida, of course. At a recent appearance in Nevada on behalf of Romney, Rubio drew nearly 1,000 voters to his former elementary school, with lines out the door. His autobiography, An American Son, spent several weeks near the top of the New York Times bestseller list. A recent survey of Illinois delegates to the Republican convention found that nearly half of them want Romney to pick Rubio.
I will leave it up to Daniel Larison to take this apart.
The supposed value of adding Rubio to the ticket is that he will pull voters into the Republican column that would otherwise not normally be there. Unfortunately, there is no reason to think that Rubio would attract these voters, and there never has been. Most Hispanics nationwide know little or nothing about Rubio, and what they find out about him isn't likely to appeal to them. The very things that make movement conservative activists and pundits like Rubio are the same things that limit his ability to appeal to voters outside his party. According to Rasmussen back in March, Rubio's favorability amonglikely Hispanic Floridian voters was 16%, and his unfavorable rating was 64%. Rubio's fav/unfav ratings among likely independent Floridian voters in the same survey was 36/48%. Among likely moderate Floridian voters, they were 33/50%. Rubio's appeal in Florida is already limited mostly to other Republicans and conservatives, so why should anyone believe that it would be any different elsewhere?
This is what happens when you live in an echo chamber in NY or DC. Among the conservative punditry it really is an alternate universe.