Marco Rubio had a good night. I found myself rooting for him during some exchanges and was impressed with his debate preparation and change in style. Something was off, though. He was scoring points with cheers, but his best moments weren’t actually substantive. He landed some good shots on Donald Trump, then grinned like…
That was it! He was relishing in his attacks. He was having fun, and while it came across very nicely at times, it also betrayed a reality about him that I’d never noticed before. He’s petulant. He’s a child and was getting his jollies from being one of the little kids popping the schoolyard bully in the cheek.
I know what a lot of you are thinking. Many have characterized him in similar fashion in the past, but I never bought into it. Any time a candidate is young, critics pull out the “child” insults. For the first time, I finally saw that play out as his immaturity reigned. This is a problem. We’re not talking about a whippersnapper running for Congress. This is a 44-year-old lifetime politician who wants to be the leader of the free world.
By contrast, Barack Obama was 47 when he took office and Ted Cruz would be inaugurated at 46. Both have youth on their side but they were never seen as gloating schoolboys. Rubio did. His best moments were when he was repeating his Polish workers talking point before grinning at the audience for approval.
It was his biggest pro. It was also a glaring con.
What most saw was an aggressive Rubio hitting in his hour of desperation and scoring nicely. What I saw was a good performance that made him seem like he’d make a decent Vice President. He’s not ready for Oval Office.