Oh, the headlines. Oh the damage control. Oh, this election cycle that is whittling itself into obtuse ignominy before our very eyes. This is hell. In the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed the gloves coming off and the chandeliers swaying in an increasingly heated presidential-preference primary season, mostly because that’s what happens every four years and we should be accustomed to it. But it’s also because when manufactured candidates get closer to the truth, it’s almost like their wings melt, and the clashes of titans become more like stutters in rehearsed lexicon pools.
Case in point: the Feb. 5 Republican debate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It was a Saturday, and we all know that Saturday nights are all right for fighting, so the presence of playground bullies like Donald Trump and Chris Christie wasn’t a surprise. The popcorn was already burned; the rotgut already crystallized at the bottom of a red Solo cup for later tosses into regret fires. But Rubio – oh, our poor, poor former state House speaker and author of books sold at Wal-Mart on the cheap – he wasn’t quite ready, really, and the whole of the news media and the Republican slam book was on alert. Rubio, who is loved for no reason by the Log Cabin Republicans and people who don’t like politics alike (he’s cute from a distance, really, but there’s no need to get any closer), pulled a robotic Small Wonder and waivered from his fresh-faced political sprint. There in the miniature shadow of the New Hampshire primaries, Rubio went on autopilot, pulling an attack on sitting President Barack Obama, even though said sitting president is not even in these primaries.
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