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Yes, Rubio Blew It

by Keith Koffler on February 14, 2013, 1:21 pm

Sen. Marco Rubio hit a home run Tuesday night, but let’s face it, he fell on his face rounding the bases.

It’s been strange to me to hear the indignation in some quarters that the press is covering an obvious and glaring gaffe. Some of the same people who are uncontrollably amused by every bumbling error Joe Biden makes think somehow the MSM is responsible for Rubio’s dessicated tongue.

In case you just got back from a trip to the mountains, this is what we’re talking about:

What’s wrong with Republicans, can’t they stage manage anything anymore? Does it really take a genius to put a glass of water within reach of someone making a 15 minute speech?

Rubio’s water damage is not, as some maintain, a trivial distraction. If Ronald Reagan’s avuncular reassurance and perfect delivery was part of what made him great, then what was this?

Rubio seemed a little stiff, was plucking oddly at his face, and had this pleading, defensive quality that made me think he was going to break out in tears at any moment and wail, Republicans are not bad people, don’t you see? Were he more in command, Rubio would have at least excused himself to take a sip, not look like the artful dodger reaching over to steal an apple from the fruitstand.

Rubio blew it, turning just the type of explanation of conservative values the GOP has been longing for into a national punchline.

Because, what a speech it was. Unlike Mitt Romney, who was forever attempting to surgically attach principles onto his rhetoric to try to prove he was a severe conservative, Rubio delivered the type of remarks that can only come from the heart of someone who truly believes in the values of Goldwater and Reagan.

A couple of notable excerpts:

This opportunity – to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life – it isn’t bestowed on us from Washington.  It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs . . .

The truth is every problem can’t be solved by government. Many are caused by the moral breakdown in our society. And the answers to those challenges lie primarily in our families and our faiths, not our politicians . . .

More government isn’t going to help you get ahead.  It’s going to hold you back.

More government isn’t going to create more opportunities.  It’s going to limit them.

And more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs.  It’s going to create uncertainty . . .

Our strength has never come from the White House or the Capitol.  It’s always come from our people. A people united by the American idea that, if you have a dream and you are willing to work hard, nothing should be impossible.

And finally, someone has the guts to buck the conventional wisdom and say this:

This idea – that our problems were caused by a government that was too small – it’s just not true. In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.

This is a Reaganesque text. It can only come from a person who understands and believes conservative thought, and who, we know, can communicate effectively when he’s not having an off night.

The excuses I’ve heard from Rubio make things worse. “It’d been a long day at work, we’d already done an 18-minute recording in Spanish,” he said.

Well, this was a critical moment for him, and for conservatives. Why didn’t he spend the day at the pool relaxing up with a frozen daiquiri? And why was he giving the speech in Spanish? This isn’t a bilingual country.

Marco Rubio is a talented and thoughtful politician, and he’ll come back from this. But he screwed up a great opportunity.

There will, however, be others.

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{ 58 comments }

Star February 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Is this rarefied satire or is a site I respect leading off the monumental trashing of this guy that is to come? And this IS a bilingual country.

Star February 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Actually multilingual. As I have said before, let people speak what they want–if they develop a problem from it, they will concentrate on learning the language that will eliminate that problem. We can’t force everyone into a mold. Thousands of people speak and understand Spanish better than English–let it be.

gobnait February 14, 2013 at 7:37 pm

When an otherwise eminently qualified job seeker is shut out of a job because he/she doesn’t speak the language of so many illegal immigrants in his own country, it’s hard to ‘let it be’.

sablegsd February 14, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Damn straight. And Rubio is not a conservative. He can stick his nightmare act where the sun doesn’t shine.

Star February 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm

So You two don’t want to be told what size drinks you can have or what to eat, but you’re fine with telling people what language they need to speak. Let’s see all those examples of people here who can’t get a job bec they don’t speak Spanish.

sablegsd February 15, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Do your own research.

Playrighter February 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Maybe the media can stop focusing on a three second drink of water, and instead take a gander at Obama claiming that all of his proposed programs “won’t add a dime to the deficit”. That “unprecedented” lunacy is a big enough target that Ted Nugent could have hit it blindfolded — from Texas. Obama should have been laughed off the stage for making such a patently dishonest and idiotic claim. The fact that he wasn’t is a tragic but realistic assessment of the true state of our union.

PS: Here’s a quick way to save a hundred million dollars or so. Cancel the rest of Obama’s campaign stops. In his place, send a post card reading: “I’m wonderful; Republicans are evil. Send money to my endless campaign so we can transform America.” (Bonus: nobody will have to stand in line).

Benefits: Same message without the massive cost. Thousands of people not inconvenienced to be used as human props (including vacationing kids forced to show up at a school for another photo op). And Obama could actually do something about reducing (or at least slowing the growth of) the deficit. And AF One could get a well-deserved breather. As could we.

TimW February 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

While Obama should be laughed off the stage for his pathological dishonesty, he won’t be because liberal’s moral compass is so out of sync that they actually think lying is a virtue. To liberals, if you are not lying you are a sucker to be treated with scorn and contempt. It’s the main reason they are so successful in politics.

Michele February 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm

IMHO, Mr. Koffler, I think you’re wrong! I’ll admit, some of Congressman Rubio’s gestures were a little distracting, and the water lunge was a little clumsy, but if you think the American people are so petty as to dismiss his extremely intelligent parsing of Obama’s State of the Union speech – you’re vastly underestimating the intelligence of the American people! Actually, IMHO, the distractions made the listener focus, all the more, on what he was saying! Kind of like when you’re in church, listening to a sermon, and a kid starts to cry…. you have to block out the crying – so you can listen, more intently, to what is being said. I know the press has tried to make a lot out of Congressman Rubio’s gestures & water gulping – but the press is no longer a variable in a lot of people’s view – because the press have made themselves inconsequential by their cowardice – their inability to ask the tough questions that need to be asked – to demand relevant answers to the unprecedented problems plaguing this Nation. The press have abdicated their responsibility to the American people! To me – Congressman Rubio was right on target! As to bi-lingual – I don’t speak Spanish – but I’m aware enough, of my surroundings, to know that there’s a vast audience of non-English speaking citizens that need to hear what Congressman Rubio has to say – because he is sincere in his belief, like many of us, that this country is on a reckless path that is leading to our Nation’s ruin! We’re all in the same boat – so instead of poking holes – why not man an oar?

Scottso February 15, 2013 at 8:30 am

You are right Michelle.
Although I’m not so sure that the American people can’t be distracted by small things.

In fact, Most Americans are absorbed by the micro things in this world. The entertainment industry, sports stats, a tweet.

The big picture is too big. It’s for “other people to worry about”.

Kimbly February 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Thank you for printing some of his speech. I’ll definitely have to look up the transcript. I didn’t watch the SOTU, and guess the ONE thing I knew about Rubio’s response before I read your article. Yep – the water thing. I’m sure if I was watching I would have cringed just like I did when Romney uttered the binder full of women comment. When stuff like that happens – you know what the headline is going to be.

The truth is there are so many people in America that are willfully ignorant about the issues. They are not going to bother seeking it out. It does all boil down to presentation (unfortunately for the GOP)

Tammy February 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Or Obama’s 57 state comment..
Or Biden ‘you’re all going to be put back in chains’ comment,..and millions of other gaffes that these 2 have said in the past 4 years.

Really dems, pretty low that you attack him over a 3 sec drink. Shows me that this is all you really have as an argument, and that you’re threatened by him.

Danceswithtruth February 14, 2013 at 2:27 pm

When we care more about the window dressing than about the substance, we are already doomed. That’s where so many in this country are.

Julie Brueckheimer February 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm

We need all the Latino votes we can get even if this isn’t a bilingual country officially. In pactice, it is a bilingual country just as Canada has its Francophone minority. Rubio did hit a home run, and a win is a win no matter how messy.

Star February 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I agree, Julie. I have a friend who teaches English to South Americans who come here and spend thousands to learn. It is not easy–or cheap. And the school programs aren’t fast track either. And as I have pointed out–many, many English-only Americans speak what I consider “broken” English. So let’s get real about this. They won’t be learning handwriting, either… Ain’t that a kick in the head? (That is the type of phrase my friend tries to explain to people with limited English, just to give the flavor.)

sablegsd February 14, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Do you really think pandering to illegal alien invaders is going to get them to vote conservative? Get real. Why do you think the commiecrats are so gung ho on letting millions and millions of them stay? Because they vote commiecrat. Same deal with voter id.

Star February 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Are you talking to me with the pandering crack? I don’t know if providing official govt documents in two languages will make people vote conservative. To me that isn’t the point. I don’t want to dictate any more than I l like being dictated to. Yes, millions ignored our laws–now that must be righted somehow and deterrents put in place so others do not do it. But that does not make us the boss of everyone. I also do not think Americans are being denied jobs in droves for not speaking Spanish.

sablegsd February 15, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Two languages? Where have you been? The solution is very simple. March the ones already here back over the border, with their little anchor rats and institute an two zone border. Shoot to kill if caught in the red zone. Along with denying ANY benefits of any kind, I think the flood would slow to a trickle.

WE are supposed to be the boss of THIS COUNTRY. We need to eliminate the commie, traitorous politicians and take back control.

You are right about one thing. You don’t think.

Jeff1000 February 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Even though I hate to admit Keith, I have to agree with you. My thought when he reached over for the water bottle was that he looked like a kid stealing a cookie from a cookie jar. I can only deduce that it was nervousness that compelled him to do that; he certainly could have lasted a few more minutes without a sip of water. It looked very awkward at best.

As you said, the content of his rebuttal was terrific, and someone would have to be pretty shallow or an Obama drone to be turned off his message because of a little awkwardness. Mr. Rubio is such an intelligent guy I’m sure it will never happen again.

BoKnowsMo February 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm

So all we are looking for in our politicians is the automotran antics of say one BHO?! I’m guessing if they use a bathroom that would instantly make them less of a national figure as well. LBJ would certainly have no place in politics this day in age would he?

Star February 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Yes–remember him showing off his abdominal surgery scars! What a mess he was despite being one of the greatest negotiators/intimidators Congress has ever known.

RickW February 14, 2013 at 4:57 pm

LMAO I recall LBJ holding his beagle by the ears and the outpouring of animal rights activists anger that followed. However, that was in a time when politics was less media savvy than it is today. Much like the Jindal speech, Rubio looked less than crisp. We (the GOP) need to get our action together appearance wise. People like the readers of this blog “get it” and look for the content. The “low information voter” goes by appearance, packaging. Thats our target market, sadly.

Sadie February 14, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I remember LBJ flashing the press his scars from surgery … appendix? Would love to see a photo of BHO pulling his thumb out of his kazoo, so to speak. LOL

AFVet February 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Yes, Rubio Blew it.
Your headline Keith.
One sip from a water bottle, and he blew it ?
He was responding to a speech made by the most despicable parasite on this economy in our history,… and Rubio takes a sip of water.

Now,.. that sip of water is important !
I hope that was sarc/

William February 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Screwed it up, yes, but I don’t know that I agree that he blew it.

Misscheryl February 14, 2013 at 3:23 pm

It’s unfortunate today that anything perceived as appearing “uncool” can be the cause of someone not being accepted by others. It’s just one big middle school.

Playrighter February 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

And thus we have a President who boasts about all the cool music he has on his I-phone while inviting Beyonce and Jay-Z to sit in the Situation Room, a place where legitimate heroes have not been granted admission. If the last elections were based on competence over cool, things could be much different today.

Misscheryl February 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I read a comment made on a story about barry fist pumping someone at the SOTU. The comment was from a young “adult.” He thought we as a country were so lucky to have the coolest president ever. Unbelievable state of affairs and these kids are the future.

Julie Brueckheimer February 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Yes, one big middle school with the alpha girls and alpha boys.

westie February 14, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Rubio is way over his head in the Senate much less as POTUS. Too bad Rubio became attached to the McCain travesty in the Senate, he has voted just as McCain on Amnesty, the Libya disaster, over-funding DOD, and probably much more.
Hopefully the GOP will wake up and not put another loser up for the Presidency in 2016.

Jeff1000 February 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Ted Cruz anyone?

sablegsd February 14, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Yes.

TimW February 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Just out of curiosity what “vote” did Rubio cast on the “Libya disaster”? Last time I checked Obama told Congress to pound sand on Libya and enacted policy entirely on his own. The House and Senate had absolutely nothing to do with Libya.

DeniseVB February 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm

They should have had Romney give the response :D

I don’t think taking a sip of water is worse than sexy time with underage Dominican prostitutes (cough, Menendez, cough). Rubio will be fine, his name recognition has soared, 13,000 new twitter followers and perhaps more viewers of his response than watched Tues night. Maybe even some of those OFAers who missed it because of their conference call. :)

Misscheryl February 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm

I wonder if anyone would be talking about this if Wolf Blitzer at CNN hadn’t made the comment. If that’s why we are, then that’s why the msm keep throwing comments out there regardless of how ridiculous.

Susan February 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Give the guy a break. He had dry mouth. Fire the camera crew who didn’t place that water bottle within his reach. Saw the whole speech and he connects with those of us who believe in traditional American values and constitutional principles. He speaks fluent conservatism as well as Spanish. In my opinion, it was an excellent speech. Mark Levin said it was the greatest Republican SOTU response he has ever seen. That’s saying something to me.

Watch the entire speech and judge for yourself…
http://youtu.be/P3tpPPfIIUE

Rand Paul gave an outstanding response too…
http://youtu.be/4Zv4Wufggik

Star February 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm

No don’t fire anybody. This is so dopey.

srdem65 February 14, 2013 at 4:42 pm

If the Repubs are after the Cuban-American vote, then they have a chance with Sen Rubio as a candidate. However, if it’s the Mexican-American voter, they have a lot to learn about the Hispanic culture.

Mexican-Americans are not a homogenous group; they have their prejudices just like other people. Speaking Spanish does not make a brother, but where you or your ancestors were born does.

The pause for a drink of water might have been awkward, but it hardly ranks as a political death. Jeez.

blondie February 14, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Did he gaffe, yeah,big time,but did he blow it,no. If anything he drew attention to a speech,that frankly,alot of people probably don’t even watch.
But for future,why doesn’t the rebuttle take place in front of a live audience? Maybe they don’t do any applauding,but certainly its easier to be focused and passionate when you have live people in front of you.
I would not write Rubio off,unless of course its Hillary he’s up against in 2016. In which case,unless she murdered someone on live TV,she will get elected no matter who is running.(and even then people would vote for her)

Star February 14, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Not I. When she went in that admin, she died to me. She didn’t even have to grab a swig of water!

RT February 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm

The circle of life. It is never as funny or sad or inappropriate when it happens to ” your guy”. Never.

Some of the dogs here even turned on ole Keith, who merely points out the obvious, I.e., now more than ever, obtaining / retaining significant office includes “marketing” and all that it entails… If it weren’t required, it wouldn’t be happening.

Susan February 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Drudge is linking to an article about the phone calls Preezy Revenge made on the night of 9/11/12 as four American embassy employees were butchered by al Qaeda related jihadists. How many phone call did he make after hearing about the attack? Zip…Zero…Nada… That kinda puts Rubio’s awkward drink of water into perspective for me.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/14/white-house-no-phone-calls-benghazi/

Sadie February 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm

AMEN, Susan and all I can think of is old light bulb joke (tweaked).

Q: How many Presidents does it take to make a phone call?

A: None. “What difference does it make.”

RT February 14, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Keep at it Susan! Your diligence has a chance that it will pay off. Dog it. Stay on it. Focus on it. Keep the candle lit. Read, read, read… No matter what the rat bastards say, don’t say, do, don’t do, hide, or show – may your dogged resolve to shine a light on Benghazi get the job done. Stay the course.

Fast forward, if you end up being right, however that looks like, you can say to the unwashed lef,t and the center, and the center right that have moved on – *** Told you! Nanny, nanny, boo, boo…

And, if you are wrong, well you will never be wrong…. The great unsolved mystery / conspiracy theory will remain unsolved…

Peace out!

~ RT

blondie February 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm

So RT,you don’t find it disconcerting that not only was out embassy under attack ,but there were protests at several others,which could have had potential to turn violent,and nobody has contact with the President? Do you not think this is worth investigating? Imagine for one second your son or daughter was a victim. Wouldn’t you want to know the details on how and why he /she died? Don’t we all deserve to know what was more important at the time,that kept the Commander in Chief completely out of the loop? If there is nothing to hide,why not divulge everything? Get it all out. Campaigns over ,nothing to lose,right?

srdem65 February 14, 2013 at 8:34 pm

So who is it you’re projecting here, RT, Orson Wells or Alexander Wollcott?
The old “peace out” has me confused, though.

Julie Brueckheimer February 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Peace out is another way of saying, “What difference does it make?”

RT February 14, 2013 at 9:11 pm

@ Blondie – No. I do not find it disconcerting. Was I glad some heat was applied early on? Yes. I have an active imagination, don’t you know. And, no, “we all” do not deserve to know the details. Imagine the precedent and resulting circus… Heck, I think we can all agree, it is already a circus… a dysfunctional one at that…

@Srdem – Hi. You are well read. No projection intended. I am pleased we have folks who question everything: from Benghazi to Area 51 and all points in between. Seriously, I am. Heck, look at the whole Valerie Plame affair… If not for a few folks… Watergate, if not for a few folks. The list is endless – and always a hero or heroine upfront – good motive or not. Checks and balances… But, at some point…

Throughout recorded history, a handful of truths can be stated unequivocally – one of them being that “Government Officials” have been and will always be terrified of any “event” that could signal / act as a catalyst to bring down the house of cards. History is riddled with such events… Depressing, if not a good read nonetheless… Will Durant – the Story of Civilization is a good start…

I sleep a little better at night knowing that most of our politicians are one miscue from a bad headline and an * in the history books. I bet you do too…

Peace Out

~ RT

Julie Brueckheimer February 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Brava!

TimW February 15, 2013 at 1:40 pm

It’s amazing to me that the President of the United States was either too stoned, drunk, lazy or apathetic to bother engaging during a terrorist attack and it’s not a national scandal. It even more amazing that the Secretary of State can commit gross negligence resulting in the death of 4 people and have the audacity to scold the Senate with “what difference does it make”. It’s the difference between life and death, truth and lies, competence vs. negligence.
And the media proclaims her a saint and all but anoints her as President in 2016.

RT February 15, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Good news Tim. I see you are easily amazed. Life must be quite a ride for you! :)

Peace Out!

~ RT

JP February 14, 2013 at 7:26 pm

The staff should be the ones taking the heat for this. Why didn’t they have a glass of water right next to him where he could comfortably reach it? It is not Rubio’s fault…and Keith, you should be ashamed of yourself forl even; writing anything about this.

Guillermo Grande February 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm

“If you’ve ever been had, don’t let on.” His recovery not only makes it worse it provides permission.

Mary February 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm

The focus on this drink of water is just petty. With all the actual disasters of Obama including the deaths of great Americans… this is what the media focuses on? No wonder this country is going down the tubes.

Star February 15, 2013 at 1:50 pm

By the way–a meteor hit Russia, more than a thousand hurt–they thought it was the end of the world. But that glass of water…well, THAT was the world-ender.

Larry February 15, 2013 at 4:18 pm

A Tale of Two Senators

Senator A takes a sip of water during a speech.

Senator B is being investigated for a scandal possibly involving under aged prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

Which does the “Media” obsess over? Guess.

Susan February 15, 2013 at 7:05 pm

No need to guess, just read state-run media. Only the Republican senator taking a sip of water is being obsessed over. The Democrat senator who partied with wealthy donors in the Dominican Republic and reportedly engaged in sexual relations with child prostitutes? Well, according to Democrat operative, Hari Sevugan, that scandal has been milked so much it makes conservatives look like a ‘withered boob’ and we need to ‘move on’. Yep, they want to move on to more important things like tearing down that evil Republican Ted Cruz for asking too many questions about their guy Hagel.

JustSaying15 February 18, 2013 at 3:27 am

Rubio was horrible and it has nothing to do with his water moment. It had everything to do with it was literally the same arguments that Romney made several months ago except with a bit of a more human touch. Guess what it lost. It’s not the messenger Keith, it’s the message.

Republicans better wakeup and realize government is not shrinking anytime soon no matter how much they go bat crap crazy. If they were smart, they make better priorities then the president and explain how to make a more efficient government that over time will lead to a smaller government.

I was rooting for Rubio and I wanted to vomit it was so awful. The Republicans are about to go extinct here when the reality says if they run a more center/right platform, they be dominating politics again in America.

They just love to shoot themselves in the chest no matter what.