The Irony of the Day Award goes to Sen. Marco Rubio, the 44-year-old Florida Republican who is an announced presidential candidate for 2016.
Rubio will be the keynote speaker tonight at an annual gathering of Connecticut GOP movers and shakers, the Prescott Bush Awards Dinner, named for the late former senator who also happens to be the grandfather of Jeb Bush, Rubio’s onetime mentor and undeclared rival for the Republican nomination.
Jeb Bush is scheduled to make an announcement on June 15 that is widely expected to be the official start of a campaign that has been going on unofficially for months.
In announcing in April that Rubio would be the speaker, well after Jeb Bush began visiting Iowa and New Hampshire and giving candidate-type interviews, Jerry Labriola Jr., the chairman of the dinner being held in Stamford, apparently didn’t find much nuance in the situation. “I’m thrilled to have Senator Rubio as the keynote speaker….,” Labriola said. “Senator Rubio is a dynamic leader with a record of accomplishment, and is an articulate advocate for free market, limited government policies. He is one of the Republican Party’s leading contenders for the White House in 2016, and we are honored to have him headline our event.”
As a young politician, Rubio was a protégé of then Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and the awkwardness of him seeking the GOP nod when Bush, who was keynote speaker at the dinner last year, is expected to do so, too, has not gone unnoticed.
But Republicans value loyalty, and biting the hand that pushed you along may have repercussions.
In a Fox News Poll of prospective GOP primary voters yesterday, Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker both tied for first place with 12 percent apiece. Rubio, who had rocketed to first place after he announced his candidacy in April, has dropped to sixth place with 7 percent.