Is Rubio the GOP’s Obama?

Editor’s Note: Timothy Stanley is a historian and columnist for Britain’s Daily Telegraph. He is the author of “Citizen Hollywood: How the Collaboration Between L.A. and D.C. Revolutionized American Politics.” The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Story highlights

Timothy Stanley: New Bush strategy compares Rubio with Obama as critique of inexperience. Problem is, Obama has much going for him

Stanley: Difference is press leans liberal, which would not favor Rubio, a potential "transitional" candidate to help capture Latino vote

CNN  — 

Team Bush has a strategy to beat Marco Rubio: Compare him with Barack Obama. Which raises the question, who wouldn’t want to be Obama?! He’s handsome, persuasive and won two presidential elections. The right could do with an Obama, although the dynamics of U.S. politics mean they probably won’t get one. The liberals won’t allow it.

Timothy Stanley

Of course Republican primary voters do not have such a high opinion of the President as I do, and the “slanderous” comparison of the two men implies that Rubio is just as inexperienced and insubstantial – that he is counting on his boyish pulchritude to disguise a lack of accomplishment. The attack is predictable and not without basis. Team Bush points out that Rubio has only been in the Senate for four years, that no senator has endorsed him and that his legislative accomplishments are slight.

One place where Rubio did try to stake out fresh ground as a senator, in 2013, was immigration reform, which earned him some friendly press. But when the GOP grass-roots turned against it, labeling it amnesty, he cooled off. That turned out to be a smart move: The rise of Donald Trump proves immigration matters a lot in this year’s race.