Rubio's 'Watergate' triumph?
Marco Rubio's handling of the media overkill on his awkward sip of water during his response to the State of the Union address is emerging as a net plus for him, and an embarrassment for the media which became hysterical on the subject - particularly CNN and MSNBC.
The first question to consider is whether or not the public really wants a totally smooth presentation in its politicians. Several talking heads noted after the gaffe that Rubio made a rookie mistake, in trying to maintain eye contact with the camera, as he stretched to reach the awkwardly placed bottle of Poland Spring water. OK, so we have a young up-and-comer who is not a polished media expert. Is that somethign the public finds horrifying? Or could it be considered even a little bit endearing?
The second question is the effect of Rubio's handling of the gaffe. Unquestionably, his handling has been almost flawless - combining honest chagrin with a plucky determination to do better. He came across as someone who admits his mistakes, learns from them, and does his best to not repeat them.
The third question is the status of the media attacking him in the eyes of the general public. C'mon, Al Sharpton mocking him is not necessarily a problem. MSNBC running the clip well over a hundred times looks rather pathetic, making obvious the leftist network's determination to do him in, politically.
Jonah Goldberg has concluded the same thing with his characteristic wit:
Whatever you think of the shocking news that Marco Rubio is a carbon-based life form that requires water to live, I think most reasonable people can agree that the media frenzy about it is remarkably stupid. Indeed, we are now in the part of the cycle where everyone points out that it was somebody else who was overreacting to the "news" that Rubio drinks water when his mouth gets dry. Of course, whoever it was at CNN who put up the caption "Career Ender?" will have a certain kind of immortality as the person who captured the asininity of so much of today's media culture. (snip)
Politics is about timing as much as anything. Rubio's star has risen awfully fast, inviting puncturing from all sorts of directions. If Rubio was looking for a way to bring himself down to earth and humanize himself a bit, this was about as good a way as any. There was no corruption, no venality, no arrogance or vanity of any kind on display.
It's nice to see a bit of political jiujitsu accomplished on the progmedia. If Rubio can keep on doing this, embodying the archetype of the plucky Latino who overcomes prejudice with hard work, humility, and a smile, he just might fulfill the hopes being placed on his shoulders.