In their article “As Marco Rubio rises, GOP rivals are reluctant to take him on directly,” the Washington Post literally describes Rubio as “the [Republican] party’s golden boy, if not its strongest general-election candidate” and note that he is articulate, attractive, and young (Costa and Rucker 2015). That is the extent to which they describe Rubio; the rest of the article is devoted to how, since “most of his opponents in the Republican presidential race are showing a reluctance and even an unwillingness to engage him directly on the national stage,” Rubio’s opponents are either making underhanded comments that are difficult to interpret or are entirely staying away from discussing Rubio at all.
Costa and Rucker state that when “Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) tried to draw a contrast [between himself and Rubio], he did so only with a thickly veiled line about sugar subsidies, something few voters could connect to Rubio” and note that not even Trump, known for his fieriness, or Bush, Rubio’s “direct competitor,” were willing to attack Rubio in the most recent Republican debate (Costa and Rucker 2015). The combination of the description of Rubio as a golden boy and the description of the other candidates as too meek to even attack Rubio anymore arguably implies that Rubio is going to be the next Republican nominee while the other candidates are flopping around trying to fight the inevitable.
This is only further supported by what the article portrays as the one attack made on Rubio during the most recent debates: Rand Paul, the article says, “went after Rubio for wanting to increase military spending.” This is as much of a description of this attack as we get. We don’t get quotes from Paul, we don’t go into further detail, that’s all we get. “But in a tense exchange with the senator from Kentucky, Rubio responded by articulating a hawkish worldview and portrayed Paul as championing an ‘isolationist’ foreign policy [emphasis mine]” (Costa and Rucker 2015). So not only did Paul’s attack not have any substantial points, Rubio managed to turn the attack around onto Paul and did so in a beautifully skilled manner. This incident shows Costa and Rucker’s love for Rubio; even as they criticize the other candidates for not wanting to attack Rubio, Costa and Rucker go out of their way to show that even if the other candidates did attack Rubio, they would get soundly trounced thanks to his “‘golden tongue'” and skill at “‘delivering a scripted, rehearsed counterpunch'” (Costa and Rucker 2015). While Costa and Rucker describe Rubio as the Republican Party’s golden boy, it seems Rubio is really Costa and Rucker’s golden boy.
Costa, Robert and Philip Rucker. 2015. “As Marco Rubio rises, GOP rivals are reluctant to take him on directly.” The Washington Post. Last modified Nov. 11. Accessed Nov. 11, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/as-marco-rubio-rises-gop-rivals-are-reluctant-to-take-him-on-directly/2015/11/11/3355b456-888e-11e5-be39-0034bb576eee_story.html?tid=pm_politics_pop_b