The Washington Post’s Max Boot and I still have one thing in common: we both supported Marco Rubio in the 2016 Republican primary. I remember being at Rubio headquarters the night of the New Hampshire primary. It was supposed to be the beginning of his post-Iowa comeback. It wasn’t. After getting kneecapped by Chris Christie in a debate, Rubio floundered with the voters and his campaign was effectively finished.
I also have something in common with Rubio: I was also once Never Trump, ardently so. I had deep and serious existential concerns about what a Trump presidency would do to the country. It was almost a year into his presidency that I came to terms with the fact that Trump has not burned America to the ground. I still disagree with him on some things, and cringe at some of his comments, but no, the sky is not falling, and I had to finally admit that.
So now, has Rubio. For having such, temerity Boot accused Rubio yesterday of being a “fan-boy” who is “co-dependent on his abuser” and a “caddie” for the president. This, mind you, from a fedora-wearing scribe who claims to be appalled by the coarse nature of Trump’s discourse and his abandonment of norms. Boot is not the only person on the left who claims to be appalled by Trump’s aggressive rhetoric while using it as an excuse to engage in his own, but he is one of the worst offenders.
Rubio is a U.S. senator, which means he has an important job to do helping to guide and run the federal government. His job is not to throw temper tantrums about the president’s style, bogus allegations of obstruction of justice, not to stomp his foot and stand in the president’s way in some glorious act of virtue signaling.
Rather, his job is to represent his voters and work with his colleagues, including President Trump, to get things done. What do his voters want done? They want conservative judges. They want tax cuts. They want to aggressively fight against socialism here and around the world, and they want to stop rolling over in the culture wars. They want serious action to deal with the border crisis. On all of these issues Rubio has become a natural ally of Trump, whether Boot likes it or not.
To some extent, that was what Joe Biden was talking about this week when he discussed having worked in the Senate in the 1970s with segregationist Democrats even though he abhorred their views. His job was to pass legislation, not lead protests against other senators voted into office by the American people. For holding this view he has effectively been called a racist.
What Boot is asking Rubio and all conservatives to do is to hand the keys of the country over to the most radically leftist Democratic Party in American history. To embrace socialism, and abortion up until birth, to effectively allow for open borders, and to push Christians out of the public square while forcing them to celebrate gay marriages and Drag Queen Story Time. No thanks, Mr. Boot.
At the end of his progressive diatribe, Boot suggests Rubio has decided that Trump will be the future of the Republican Party and that he is probably right. So, here’s the thing on that. Should Trump win a second term, he will leave office at almost 80 years old. Rubio will be in his 50s, able to bridge the gap between the hardcore Trumpists and the concerned conservatives. He will not convince Boot or what remains of the Never Trump movement, but frankly they would probably now comfortably fit in a minivan.
Calling names at the man whom the vast majority of Republicans voted for in 2016, and insulting those very voters, is a good way to get a job at the Washington Post, but it is not a good way to lead the country. That job requires more serious men who put the country first and their petty squabbles second. That is exactly what Rubio has done over the last two years.
Boot is dead wrong about his final point — the GOP will not become the party of Trump, any more than Democrats are currently the party of Barack Obama. It will become the party of men like Rubio who stand by principles and policies, not just strong disdain for our president. It will still be the party that stands for life, markets, jobs, and capitalism. If Boot wants no part of that, then it isn’t the GOP that has changed. It’s him.