TAMPA — It's not so much that the thrill is gone with Marco Rubio, but definitely the passion has cooled.I guess not being sure if your president holds a U.S. birth certificate can only take you so far these days.
Back when he was the daring insurgent taking on Charlie Crist, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate was exciting, edgy, a national superstar. Now, he's the de facto Republican nominee, while Gov. Crist is all over TV talking about the oil catastrophe and other primary campaigns look much more exciting than Rubio's.
"We've lost that aggressiveness and passion that we had with Marco Rubio when he was behind in the polls. We were ready to take the hill," said Tom Eckert, a Republican activist from Oldsmar at a Rubio campaign stop Monday in Tampa. "Now it's a period of regrouping."
About 60 people showed up at Datz Deli in South Tampa for a meet-and-greet with the Miami Republican who used to routinely attract 150 people or more at Tampa Bay campaign events.
I know campaigns move in waves and this may merely be the lull between the next surge in Marco Rubio's march to the White House in 2012, but I'm finding it hard to see anything of substance with this guy other than "I'm your Tea Party candidate and Jim DeMint, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Rush Limbaugh really like me!" That plays well to about 10% of the electorate and what the other 90% hear is "Drill, baby, drill!" and "We'll have to raise the Social Security retirement age."
I can assure you that those things aren't sounding very good to older, environmentally conscious Floridians these days.