So by now, everyone’s already discussed Marco Rubio’s gulp-heard-round-the-world to death. Many more words than necessary or advisable have been written about what wags almost instantaneously dubbed “watergate.” And in truth, even though our media and much of the electorate remains shallowly image-focused instead of issue-focused, Rubio’s odd tics and apparently severe dehydration were not the most important part of his response to the President’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
Rubio’s speech itself was.
It was tired, it was off-base (which wasn’t really Rubio’s fault, since he or his speechwriters had the unenviable task of trying to rebut the President’s speech without seeing what was in it first, which necessarily entailed some guesswork – much of which turned out to be quite wrong). Most of all, though, it felt familiar. Commentators from Rachel Maddow to Jon Stewart almost immediately noticed that, other than the person who was actually mouthing the words, the speech itself sounded like it could have been given by Mitt Romney on the campaign trail, circa last October. In fact, large chunks of Rubio’s speech sounded like they would have been at home in the Reagan era.
The GOP has spent a lot of hand-wringing time over the past few months since Romney’s trouncing in November speaking of “rebranding.” Americans, however, are still waiting to see any tangible results of all this collective rumination on the conservative side of the political aisle. Tuesday night, what started to dawn on not just the pundits but the people, is that when the GOP says “rebranding,” all they mean in practice is putting old wine – excuse me, water – in a new bottle. Marco Rubio’s PAC, Reclaim America, immediately began to attempt to capitalize on their leader’s awful, sweaty, fidgety performance by issuing a “Marco Rubio water bottle” (no, really!) to those who were “thirsty for conservative leadership.” Just take a look at the image from their donations page:
Given how at home Rubio’s listless, twitchy speech would have sounded coming out of Mitt Romney’s mouth, or Ronald Reagan’s, or nearly any Republican in between those two, it seemed fitting (not to mention more accurate) to re-do Reclaim America PAC’s fundraising effort with the water bottle: