If you stand for nothing, Marco, what'll you fall for?
In the almost omnipresent Broadway musical Hamilton, the titular character of Alexander Hamilton is often contrasted with his friend and rival, Aaron Burr. While Hamilton constantly advocates for his beliefs, regardless of their popularity, Burr always holds back, more concerned with ending up on the right side of a debate than the actual details within. As revealed in one of the musical’s standout numbers, what Burr really wants far more than any particular policy is to be in the room where it happens. He achieves that by switching parties and running for the U.S. Senate against Hamilton’s father-in-law. When Hamilton confronts him about it, Burr doesn’t even seem to understand what he’d done wrong, saying that he’d merely seen an opportunity and taken it.
As Marco Rubio surveys the wreckage of a once-promising political career, it’s easy to imagine he similarly fails to see where he went wrong. Like a shark that needs to keep swimming to survive, Rubio has spent the past 18 years jumping from local office to the state legislature to Florida House speaker to the U.S. Senate to presidential candidate, leaving in his wake almost no real accomplishments and a slew of burned bridges. Both Florida GOP bigwigs and the voters themselves now loathe him, making any future political comeback difficult to fathom.
More than his lack of interest in policy-making, more than his seeming eagerness to betray political mentors, more than the Trump locomotive running over the entire Republican Party, Rubio was done in by his complete and utter lack of a political soul. Say what you will about Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich, but you can easily point to certain issues and beliefs that they really do believe in. Rubio, in contrast, primarily believed in Marco Rubio being president, with everything else secondary.