Scott Walker thinks he and Marco Rubio might make a pretty good team.
The Wisconsin governor hasn’t actually entered the presidential race yet, but he’s already talking up Senator Rubio as the potential vice-presidential half of a Walker-Rubio ticket.
“I’ve actually had quite a few people, grass-roots supporters, donors, and others, who have made that suggestion,” Governor Walker told Bloomberg Politics when asked about pairing with Rubio as his VP.
“For now, you know, Marco is a quality candidate. He’s going to be formidable in this race as things progress,” Walker told Bloomberg’s John McCormick and Mark Halperin. “And if we were to get in, we’d be as well, and we’ll see where things take us.”
Is there a subtext in this comment? We’d say there is. But first, we’d like to congratulate Walker on his use of the plural “we” for a singular personal reference. We’d say that’s a mark of rhetorical distinction.
Back to the subtext: At the moment, Walker’s star is not ascending. He’s kind of at a point of stasis: GOP insiders and the punditocracy still think he’s a formidable potential contender and a possible nominee, but he’s no longer the hot take of the moment. That would be Rubio, who’s been gaining momentum as fellow Floridian Jeb Bush flounders. Rubio’s also been hit by some over-the-top New York Times stories this week, which is always good for your standing among conservatives.
If you don’t believe us, maybe you’ll believe The Washington Post: The Post’s “The Fix” political blog puts Rubio at No. 1 in its most recent GOP hopeful power rankings.
“Rubio’s charisma, personal story and youth have combined to make him the ‘it’ candidate for the GOP at the moment,” write Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake of "The Fix."
That might gall Walker. He is older, has more executive experience, and faced down the public-sector unions in Wisconsin, darn it. Yet he’s only No. 3, according to "The Fix."
At the very least, he and his campaign team would like to blunt Rubio’s rise. Why not suggest the obvious: the young Rubio might make a good VP choice? Slap him into the back end of the Walker-Rubio ticket, and you’re implicitly pointing out that Walker has senior standing.
Don’t think politics is that ... overt? You’ve never heard a room of professional consultants cackle over their moves. And if it were us, Rubio would respond. Asked whether he’d run as Walker’s second banana, Rubio should say: “When I’m in the White House, Scott Walker will be a crucial part of my team. I pledge I’ll appoint him my secretary of Labor.”