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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

 
Rubio melts under the spotlight

by digby
















My God, are people really saying that Marco Rubio's nervous tic is him trying to be consciously poetic? Yes they are:







Uhm no. As I wrote in this piece for Salon, this is in keeping with his other weird nervous tic he cannot seem to resist doing in public, particularly when he's stressed: the water thing. I mean, he did that when he was on national television rebutting the State of the Union!

He's got some kind of issue.  I doubt that in and of itself it's disqualifying. But when you combine it with his general inexperience and his lack of gravitas it's a problem. You can't show that kind of lack of control over what you say and how you act in public and be president.

Anyway, here's Jonathan Chait on why that particularly stupid argument about his "poetry" is daft:

Okay, I looked it up. Anaphora is the “deliberate repetition of the first part of the sentence in order to achieve an artistic effect.” For instance, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” Or, “We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air …”

Repetition of the first part of a sentence is a poetic device. Here is what Rubio said:

We are taking our message to families that are struggling to raise their children in the 21st century because, as you saw, Jeanette and I are raising our four children in the 21st century, and we know how hard it’s become to instill our values in our kids instead of the values they try to ram down our throats.

In the 21st century, it’s becoming harder than ever to instill in your children the values they teach in our homes and in our church instead of the values that they try to ram down our throats in the movies, in music, in popular culture.

That is not anaphora, because it is not the repetition of the first part of the sentence. This important difference explains why Dickens did not write, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” and why Churchill did not say, “We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, and we shall fight in … France.”

Nor is it part of some poetic device that makes sense if you watch the context of the speech, which I did, and which is just Rubio cycling through his standard stump lines rather than repeating them for some kind of literary effect.

And this is why Rubio visibly hesitates when he is about to say “throats” for the second time. It is the horrified panic of a candidate who realizes he has just done the one thing he desperately needs at this moment not to do.

And when you look at his glitch on Saturday it's even more obvious. He wasn't giving some soaring speech. He was responding to Chris Christie's accusation that he only spoke in soundbites by repeating his soundbites! There wasn't even the slightest bit of poetry in any of it.

This is silly. Rubio has an issue. Maybe he's too sped up --- too much caffeine or something --- and his brain gets ahead of his mouth. But he's been giving speeches daily for many, many months now and it's downright weird that this is happening at a time when he was on the brink of success. At his greatest moments of scrutiny, Rubio blows it. This is a problem.


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