Marco Rubio

In any highly fluid political situation, you will always find some observers determined to argue that it's not fluid at all--that underneath the surface, the status quo prevails, and anyone thinking otherwise is naive or poorly informed. Tuesday night, you just knew that Mark Kirk's U.S. Senate primary victory in Illinois would be interpreted in some circles as proving that the much-discussed rightward trend in the Republican Party, sped along by pressure from the Tea Party Movement, was actually a mirage.

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For several weeks I've been insisting that Charlie Crist is going to get crushed by Marco Rubio in the Florida Senate Republican primary. Last week Crist fell behind in a poll for the first time, and now he's down by double digits. The reason this outcome was so inevitable, aside from the trajectory, was that Crist was only being held up by vastly higher name recognition. The most grim news for Crist in the latest poll may not be his 14-point deficit but the fact that, among Republican primary voters who had an opinion of both candidates, Rubio leads by 50 (!) points.

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A new poll has Marco Rubio ahead of Charlie Crist in the Florida GOP Senate primary. The trajectory here is pretty obvious: Crist built an early lead based on name recognition, but Rubio is obviously the candidate Florida Republicans prefer and are going to nominate. As I've said before, I don't even expect Crist to be running in the primary when it happens. He has no chance. The question is, what will Crist do next? As I see it, he has two options.

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Rubio Pulls Ahead

If Jon were here, I know he would post this: Former State House Speaker Marco Rubio has squeaked past Gov. Charlie Crist in the race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, leading 47 - 44 percent and topping Gov. Crist on trust, values and conservative credentials, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. It would be a cliche to say that Rubio has "slowly and steadily" risen in the polls. Fortunately, in this case it is not true: Rubio has skyrocketed since he began campaigning seriously, and he shows no signs of slowing down.

The administration's proposal to charge large banks, which enjoy an implicit too-big-too-fail guarantee, is fairly straightforward market economics. Greg Mankiw concedes as much. Then, on the other side, you've got Marco Rubio, conservative dreamboat: Earlier this week, I spoke out against President Obama’s wrongheaded decision to place an onerous and punitive new tax on the financial institutions Americans rely on to loan them money to buy homes, safeguard their money, and fund their businesses.

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DeMint Condition

For all of Washington’s political polarization, the U.S. Senate remains a clubby place. Sure, lawmakers talk smack about the unparalleled malevolence of the opposition, but there is, in general, a high degree of respect for the institution, its members, and its time-honored Way of Doing Things. While the House is known for its ideological cowboys, demagogues, and revolutionaries, the Senate is where bright lines and rough edges tend to get smoothed out in the name of statesmanship and legislative compromise. Clearly, no one told this to Jim DeMint.

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Steele Cage

Last weekend began with Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, clinging to his job primarily via implicit racial blackmail. Steele’s tenure has consisted of a string of gaffes and managerial blunders, but Republicans had concluded that his color made him un-fireable.

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Recent polls show their movement is thought of more favorably by Americans than either the Democratic or Republican Parties. Political independents are said to be attracted more each day. Progressive dissenters against the “pro-corporate” policies of the Obama administration pine for alliances with them. But at the same time, Republican politicians constantly ape their rhetoric and seek to deploy them against their Democratic, and sometimes intraparty, enemies. So the question persists: Is the Tea Party Movement an independent “third force” in American politics?

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The trajectory of the Senate race in Florida looks very, very bad for Charlie Crist. His opponent, Marco Rubio, has only one weakness--lack of name recognition--and that is rapidly disappearing. Rubio is perfectly in sync with the current Republican mood, and Crist, who endorsed the federal budget stimulus and favors action to stop climate change--couldn't be more out of step. The latest poll shows Crist and Rubio tied. I predict Rubio will soon pull ahead and never look back. Indeed, I'd be somewhat surprised if Crist is even running in the primary by the time it takes place.

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In a piece largely about next month's congressional election in New York's 23rd district, The Wall Street Journal's Naftali Bendavid echoes and enlarges upon some of the points I made in a blog post about the electoral dangers the tea-party movement could present for the GOP: In Florida, Republican leaders were elated when popular Florida Gov. Charlie Crist agreed to run for the Senate. He has adopted policies such as an aggressive approach to global warming that appeal even to Democrats. Those very policies infuriated conservatives, as did Mr.

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