Florida conservative firebrand Allen West has indicated he may well challenge Marco Rubio in 2016--although he would find the challenge 'daunting:'
"That's a pretty heavy lift, because you're talking about running against a sitting senator, and then, of course, that creates that schism that the other side would love to see happen," said West, who appeared as a guest co-host on WMAL's Mornings on the Mall Wednesday. West was pressed further by WMAL's Larry O'Connor, who asked him directly if he would rule out a challenge against Rubio.For my money, just as Hillary will run (anyone who thinks she won't knows little about the attractiveness of power), I think Allen will run so long as as there is a sliver of an opening.
"Chirping... chirping... chirping...," replied West with a chuckle, before elaborating with a more direct response.
Of course there's a great big crack of an opening (which, depending on how things turn out, may well still be open in 2016): that's the Gang of Ocho's immigration bill. The immigration bill has all kinds of drama around it:
- Will there or won't there be a wall? (No)
- Will it allow gays to bring their partners along as traditional married couples can? (Probably: No)
- Will it cost us 6.3 trillion (Heritage. And that's the GDP of China) or save us ~200bn (the CBO)?
- Will the new immigrants get to vote? Will any of them vote Republican (probably yes and, at this point, why would they?)
What The Omnivore wants to know is this: Will it sink Rubio's political career? Will it sink his presidential aspirations. The reason The Omnivore wants to know this is because he's sure a lot of other people are watching this outreach carefully to see how it all plays out.
As we've covered here, there's a flurry of theories--facts, counter-facts, polls, troll-polls, analysis, counter-analysis, counter-counter-analysis, and so on about what Republicans need to do in the near, middle, and long-term future. Despite what you might think, I'm not sure that the GOP Autopsy indications are necessarily better than any of the others.
Rubio is certainly trying for an outreach / compromise--but at this point he's being cagey about whether or not he'll vote for his own bill and it's clear that trying to thread the needle is nearly impossible even for someone with his star power. We can already see the black-lash forming up too. So-Cons are not backing down on 'women's issues' or immigration:
"The pathology report of the death of the Republican Party is grossly overstated," Wilbur said. Republicans must do better jobs of messaging and finding voters, but they should not overreact to Romney's relatively narrow loss to Obama, he said. Obama won 51 percent of the popular vote to Romney's 47 percent but defeated the Republican by a wide margin in the Electoral College, 332-206.
Indeed, this is probably smart: mid-terms are a base-election historically. The time to waffle, if there ever is one, will be in 2015 or even 2016 around July (but, uh, not the 4th).
What Do I Think?
History says that the base will forgive transgressions once someone is nominated--despite claims they'll all join the Constitution Party or move to Canada. I'm not so sure though: the base has proved its power in the primaries and will probably get a boost coming off 2014. If the base has its way, Chris Christie will be stuck in New Jersey and Rubio may be watching from a bench as Allen West gets his second chance at a state-wide election.
Big money didn't buy the presidency (which had equally big money--and spent it better) but it can sure as hell buy state elections. If conservatives are willing to put their money where their mouths are--and I think they are--I suspect that we might see cash-offensives targeted at those who commit the sins of bi-partisanship in the era of Obama.