Jonah Goldberg

A lot has happened since then. We were proved right, and so much of the conventional wisdom has been proved wrong. Rubio's jalopy of a candidacy quickly turned into a juggernaut, chasing Crist out of the GOP entirely. Indeed, many now call Rubio the "GOP's Obama," which is not quite right. If Rubio wins and then runs for president in 2012, the comparison will be more apt.

For years, Beltway conventional wisdom held that Republicans need to embrace Latinos, to become more youthful and more hip. So what's the response to a 38-year-old Latino son of immigrants from Miami who quotes Snoop Dogg on his Twitter account and has successfully knocked a classically hackish older pol from his perch?

Why, that this just shows how the GOP's less inclusive than ever! It seems that no matter whom the GOP includes, it's always the wrong kind of inclusiveness.

Even more recently, we've been told that the GOP needs to get serious about governing and be willing to make tough choices. In the same "Fox News Sunday" interview in March in which Crist insisted that he would not run as an independent, both men were asked what they would do about the deficit. Rubio said he was open to the politically perilous option of changing the cost-of-living formula for Social Security. Crist pandered to older Floridians claiming their entitlement is sacrosanct and instead mouthed some nonsense about Social Security "fraud" and "waste." There's precious little of either. Again, it seems that being "serious" about governing means nothing more than agreeing with Democrats.

Barring some literal or figurative tragedy, Rubio will in all likelihood be the next senator from Florida, yet victory will again be proof to the usual Beltway crowd that the GOP just can't win.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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