For a corrective to this political chatter read Daniel Larison’s reply to a Ross Douthat column, that also praises the lackluster campaign of Rubio, backed up by reports from Leonid Bershidsky. A long quotation of Bershidsky’s report:
‘I saw both Rubio and Cruz in action on Monday and Tuesday, and I came away doubting that either of them could be a big winner, even if they do well in the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1.
I heard Rubio at a Des Moines auditorium, where about 200 people gathered to see him. His Iowa campaign is sedate compared with those of most of his major rivals. Before he came onstage, his campaign staff went around offering Rubio signs to the audience, careful not to distribute any in the middle so as not to obscure the senator from the TV cameras. They had trouble finding takers. There were some placards left over when they were done, though some people reconsidered and took them, probably to spare the volunteers some embarrassment.
Then Rubio gave his speech, and not a single one of these signs went up in the air, though the audience applauded politely.’
A long quote from the Larison’s essay:
‘The simplest explanation is that Rubio isn’t winning because he hasn’t put in the time or effort into campaigning in the early states that other candidates have, and he also hasn’t built up much of a campaign organization. (Contrast this with Obama’s 2008 campaign, which had a very strong ground game.) Rubio banked on building up support primarily through debate performances and television ads. One of Rubio’s latest ads inadvertently acknowledges Rubio’s weirdly lazy campaign for president by showing voters watching Rubio on television. That is probably how most people in Iowa and New Hampshire have encountered Rubio, and it helps explain why there isn’t much enthusiasm for him in either place. Rubio gives the impression of someone who doesn’t want to bother with the legwork of being a candidate, and especially in states where voters expect a lot more personal attention that just doesn’t cut it.’
A link to the Douthat essay, the exercise of patience is needed to read this till its end! It appears that Mr. Douthat is paid on a by the word basis.