I got an email from Marco Rubio Saturday night ecstatic about being endorsed for the Republican nomination by what he called “one of the most respected voices in Iowa politics.”
And who was that?
The Des Moines Register.
As a former newspaperman in major metropolitan markets like Los Angeles and Sacramento, I can tell you that is nothing to write home about – especially for a Republican.
In fact, if I were running in Iowa, I would have courted the paper to endorse one of my opponents – please.
History shows it doesn’t help win the Iowa caucuses:
In 1988, the paper endorsed Bob Dole and Paul Simon. Both lost.
In 1992, the paper endorsed no one. Someone won.
In 1996, the paper endorsed Bob Dole. Dole won, but lost the presidency.
In 2000, the paper endorsed George W. Bush and Bill Bradley. Bush won, Bradley lost.
In 2004, the paper endorsed John Edwards. Do you remember John Edwards?
In 2008, the paper endorsed John McCain and Hillary Clinton. Neither became president. In the actual election, the paper endorsed Barack Obama.
In 2012, the paper endorsed Mitt Romney. He lost the caucus, won the nomination and lost the election.
In other words, Des Moines Register caucus endorsements have picked one president out of the last seven caucus endorsements.
It’s also a solidly Democratic paper, which may incline the editors to select Republican losers.
I suspect that’s what it did in 2016.
But that didn’t stop Rubio from endorsing the Register – a paper that will certainly support the Democratic nominee in 2016. Even more importantly, its news coverage will tilt leftward throughout the campaign, as it does 365 days a year every year. And, as a former newspaper editor myself, I can tell you that news coverage is far more important in politics than editorial endorsements.
In addition, Rubio sort of won the endorsement by default. The two leading Republican candidates in Iowa are Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Neither one even asked for the paper’s endorsement or met with the editorial board.
“The Register’s endorsement is like being endorsed by the Washington Post or New York Times, if you’re a conservative,” suggested former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. “For Trump and Cruz it will give them a chance to sound off – to diminish any potential positive impact the endorsement could have – against the ‘establishment’ endorsing one of their own. In short, it’s like a car accident: ‘move along, nothing to see here.'”
David Yepsen, who covered politics for the Register for 34 years, also predicted that the Republican endorsement could backfire.
“I think it will become a point to needle,” he said. “‘See, we told you he was too liberal.'”
Rubio has an impressive intellect, and he’s a skilled debater. I endorsed him in his bid for the Senate seat in Florida – and I would again if he ran against Charlie Crist for almost anything. But he’s not presidential timber. His history on the immigration issue is untenable – having been part of the Gang of 8 plan to ram amnesty down the throats of Americans.
His foreign-policy instincts are scary. In one debate he said we should be trying to topple Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, while simultaneously fighting ISIS there, which is trying to topple Assad, and taking on Russia’s war against ISIS. How do you think that plan would work out?
As I stated back in 2012, when he was almost everyone’s pick for vice president, he’s also clearly not eligible as a natural born citizen because neither of his immigrant parents were citizens when he was born.
In addition, his claim that his parents were “exiles” from Fidel Castro’s Cuba is untrue. They immigrated to the U.S. two years before Castro took power and considered moving back to Cuba after he did.
I’m sorry, it’s time to scratch Rubio from the list of choices to be the Republican nominee.
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