Marco Rubio's fending off lots of slings and arrows these days, for reasons that should be obvious: He's viewed as a threat by his Republican rivals and Democrats alike. There have been a few pieces written about the Left's anxiety over the prospect of running against the Florida Senator over the last few months, but actions speak louder than words whispered on background to reporters. All of a sudden, Democrats are coming out of the woodwork to loudly compare Rubio to their party's disgraced former Vice Presidential nominee. This narrative seemed to originate with reliable Democratic mouthpiece Brian Beutler at the New Republic earlier in the week, and has picked up steam ever since. Coordination:
Rubio resembles the Republican Party’s answer to John Edwards rather than a genuine reformer, like Clinton. Both Clinton and Edwards banked on their meager Southern upbringings—the man from Hope and the son of a mill worker, respectively—to appeal to culturally conservative, Republican-leaning constituencies. Clinton, who ran at a time when the Democratic Party needed to widen its appeal, and on a platform that genuinely deviated from party doctrine, became president. Edwards first ran as a second coming of Clinton in 2004, when Democrats were haplessly trying to out-warrior Republicans. He ran again four years later, at a moment when Democrats were ascendant, as a doctrinaire progressive with a Southern accent. He lost both times.
Former Obama mouthpiece Dan Pfeiffer amplified this message in the lead-up to Wednesday's debate...
Remember when someone calls Rubio the "Republican Obama" tonight, he is actually the "Republican John Edwards"— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) October 28, 2015
...followed dutifully by former Obama staffer Tommy Vietor (of "dude" Benghazi fame):
Marco Rubio is the Republican John Edwards. Trust me I worked for Edwards. #CNBCGOPDebate— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) October 29, 2015
Trust me! I worked for John Edwards! On Thursday, Democrats' churlish troll-in-chief joined the party:
His admirers often describe Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) as the Republicans' Barack Obama: a young senator with a few years of service, an inspiring life story, and an itch for higher office. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sees in Rubio echoes of a different Democrat. “He reminds me of John Edwards,” Reid said, referring to the former senator from North Carolina who flamed out in his run for president. “Not because any of the [personal] stuff...[Edwards] was so fixed on becoming a national figure that his Senate service was basically over. That’s what I see in Marco Rubio.”
The smear merchant of the Senate goes out of his way to clarify that of course he's not referring to the "personal stuff" in making this invidious comparison; he's merely talking about the whole blind ambition thing. Of course, Reid leveled no such complaint against then-candidate Barack Obama in 2007, who launched a highly ambitious presidential bid after spending even less time in the Senate than Rubio has, and after stating publicly that he wouldn't seek the presidency due to his own lack of experience and knowledge. Democrats like Obama and John Kerry somehow escaped Reid's judgment, despite missing more votes than Rubio has in pursuit of lofty goals. In fact, Reid was exceptionally laudatory of Obama in his own special way, describing the African-American candidate as "light-skinned" and betraying no "negro dialect." But let's be frank: The Edwards analogy is absolutely meant to raise vague, sordid questions. John Edwards wasn't merely a highly ambitious politician; he was a cad who cheated on his cancer-stricken wife with his videographer, fathering a love child, and going to great pains to cover it up. As is the case with many young, prominent politicians, unsubstantiated rumors about Rubio's social life have simmered beneath the surface for years. Charlie Crist's people whispered about it in 2010, ultimately producing absolutely no evidence -- neither in the primary nor the general election, both of which they lost. Democrats now appear to be setting the table to do the exact same thing. What's the line about how Democrats' telegraph their fear? Parting thought: Let's say Pfeiffer, Reid, et al genuinely see Rubio as a callow, lightweight, would-be flameout with career-ending skeletons lurking in his past. Wouldn't they bite their tongues today, in hopes of facing him in the general? Or maybe Harry Reid is simply engaged in some good-faith advice-givin', with the best interests of the Republican Party at heart. 'Cause that's how he rolls:
Harry Reid knifes Jeb Bush by backing him up in calling on Rubio to resign https://t.co/XGKNKrXbsm— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) October 29, 2015
For what it's worth, Jeb's doubling down on his failed attack, as his campaign is deluged by calls from freaked out donors.
UPDATE - According to leaked documents, Team Jeb is evidently prepared to rehash Charlie Crist's attack on Rubio, calling his ethics into question and casting him as a "risky" choice. A Bush aide told a reporter that a vague swipe in this playbook is a reference to the Romney campaign's vetting process, which he suggests turned up disqualifying dirt on Rubio. Not so, says the woman who ran that operation for Romney, who also happens to be...a Jeb supporter: