Over at The American Conservative, Daniel Larison explains why it makes little sense for Marco Rubio to run for president:
When [Rubio] was absurdly being touted as a “savior” of the party, he played
at being like McCain and backed the Senate immigration bill, which
angered many conservatives in the process and caused some of his
previous supporters to feel that he had let them down. Alarmed by the
backlash, he then ran away from the bill and started going out of his
way to placate his conservative critics in a most Romney-like fashion.
This has mostly earned him a loss of respect from both sides of the
debate. As far as his conservative critics are concerned, he showed his
true colors in supporting the bill, and in the eyes of “reform”
supporters he caved immediately when he encountered the slightest
resistance. In the end, the one big legislative effort Rubio was
involved in produced no results, and he suffered political whiplash in
Conservatives would be wise not to forget this episode. The National Question, as John Derbyshire has termed it, is too important to get wrong. Politically speaking, creating millions of new voters, most of whom will support the Democratic party is sheer folly. More importantly, it's insulting to unemployed and under-employed Americans.
But this incident is illustrative for another reason. The immigration bill which Rubio sponsored was to be his signature legislative accomplishment; it was to demonstrate his readiness for higher office. This would have set him apart in the field of candidates, for not a single one boasts a solitary success at the federal level.
Those who hold federal office and are seeking the Republican nomination are newcomers: in addition to Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are running. None of these have accomplished anything substantial; their candidacies all hinge on the fact that they have won federal elections, but are seen as too fresh to be held accountable for the paucity of their congressional records.
The other groups are former governors, notably Jeb Bush, but also Scott Walker; and those who claim success outside of the realm of politics, such as Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and Doctor Ben Carson. There will always be something appealing about non-politicians, for any sensible conservative or libertarian is thoroughly sick of the political class. But the nature of the race is such that these candidates lack the resources, acumen and name recognition to be successful.
It is of some interest that, from the Republican side of things, there is nothing I say here that could not have been said about any recent campaign. Such has been the utter irrelevance of Republican achievement in Washington, that, dating back to Reagan, and excepting the single-term of the elder Bush, all the Republican Presidents had previously been governors. Based solely on this, I would predict that Jeb Bush becomes the nominee, with Scott Walker as his only real threat.
It occurs to me, however, that what is true of the Republicans is equally true of the Democrats. Certainly, Obama had served part of his term as an Illinois Senator before becoming President, but this brief tenure was bereft of achievement. It's hardly surprising that Republican senators cannot run on a record of futile resistance to government largesse, but it's not clear why Democrats cannot run on the perceived success of any federal program.
This may be the signature feature of the upcoming election. The Republicans will nominate someone they suspect will fail to enact any significant piece of legislation; but so will the Democrats. The latter may be uninterested in repealing Obamacare, but we will not see Nancy Pelosi swept into power on the waves of its passage. We will not see this any more than we have seen any Republican capture the presidency due to his elimination of a government program--if, indeed, a Republican has ever eliminated a government program.
From that standpoint, I can't see how this next election is of a concern to anyone at all, save for this. The more inept and idiotic our government appears, the more the people clamour for it to do something substantial and sensible. It is a noble hope.