Brian Beutler: Will Marco Rubio’s Fragile Appeal Be Shattered in New Hampshire? | New Republic
Rubio alone proposes reforms (zeroed-out investment taxes, zeroed-out inheritance taxes, significantly reduced corporate taxes) designed to minimize (and in many cases eliminate) the tax liabilities of members of the Republican donor class. Though Rubio now disclaims his own immigration reform and amnesty legislation, he continues (when pressed firmly enough) to support eventually legalizing undocumented immigrants. He also wants to send ground troops into Syria and to generally reprise the country’s George W. Bush-era foreign policy doctrine.
If the GOP’s George W. Bush-era agenda no longer commands majorities, but Rubio is the electable Republican primary candidate, then his value proposition lies exclusively in his suddenly imperiled reputation as a messenger. Six years ago, Rubio described himself to Mark Liebovich of The New York Times Magazine in precisely those terms—as “a messenger for a set of ideas.” The content of those ideas has changed since then, asymptotically approaching the path of least resistance to the presidency, but until Saturday, the effectiveness of the message had only improved.
The question now is whether Rubio has fatally undermined his most compelling virtue as a candidate.