IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

A different kind of enthusiasm gap


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) talked on Friday to National Review, a leading conservative publication, and fielded a pretty straightforward question, "So, why Romney?"

Rubio responded with a lengthy, 325-word answer, which spanned 16 sentences. And in that 325-word, 16-sentence response, the high-profile senator, who may very well end up as his party's vice presidential nominee, managed to say exactly zero nice things about Mitt Romney.

I'm being entirely literal. Rubio was asked, "So, why Romney?" and he responded by talking at length about how awful he thinks President Obama is and how bad it would be for the Republican Party to have an extended floor fight at the convention. The closest thing to a compliment was when Rubio said, "Romney is winning the primary fair and square."

But that's not praise, and it's certainly not an explanation for why one person wants another person to be president of the United States.

In fairness to Rubio, when pressed further by National Review, the senator came up with a couple of positive things to say about Romney, but remember, that took prompting -- and this is one of Romney's most notable supporters and potential running mates.

With this in mind, Jon Stewart had a segment last night, summarizing the Republican Party's awkward and underwhelming embrace of their near-certain presidential nominee.

"It's like a proposal on a football scoreboard reading, 'Look, Deborah, we both know we're not each other's first choice, but I don't want to pay for another month of e-harmony and you're a worthy companion, so c'mon, settle for me.'"

We had a segment on Friday along similar lines, noting that even the Romney campaign's own surrogates don't seem to like, or even agree with, their own candidate.

This isn't altogether normal, and winning campaigns generally thrive because a party actually likes its presidential nominee, rather than just finding the other party's candidate repulsive. But Romney appears to be little more than an uninspiring placeholder, filling a blank slot on a ballot.

In other words, in 2008, Democrats backed Obama because they liked Obama. In 2012, Republicans are backing Romney because they hate Obama.