Conservatives around the country have been scratching their heads in bewilderment ever since Trey Gowdy came out in support of Marco Rubio for the GOP nomination. He’s been as close as a Congressman has come to folk hero status because of his dogged attacks on Hillary Clinton and her clan during the Benghazi investigations. Why would someone who has been so adamantly opposed to amnesty and immigration reform, who has called for the government to enforce immigration law, support Marco “Gang of Eight” Rubio?
The most likely answer is that Gowdy was made a promise. On the light and less likely end, he was promised to be named Attorney General, a role that fits his experience very nicely. On the heavier and more likely end, he was told that he’d get the Vice Presidential tap if Rubio gets the nomination. As I posted on another site, it makes perfect sense.
There are a few things that should be understood before anyone denounces this conspiracy theory. First, Gowdy has been a strong conservative on most issues, but he’s not exactly at 100% on the Heritage voting scorecard. In fact, he’s at 80%. This alone is not an indicator of whether someone is a true conservative or not, but the aura around Gowdy doesn’t always match his pubilc persona.
More importantly, Gowdy has been notably unambitious in his career. He passed on the Speaker of the House role that he may or may not have been able to win. He has tried to keep the spotlight on Hillary Clinton and not his own team as much as possible. He seems like a humble public servant. However, even the most humble can be pulled down an ambitious road if given the right incentive.
For Marco Rubio, it makes the most sense of anything he’s done in months. Rubio’s strength has always been with counter-punches. When he attacks first, he hasn’t been successful. When he’s deflecting blows from the likes of Jeb Bush and Donald Trump, his stock has risen. Gowdy is, by his very nature, an attack dog. He’s a former prosecutor who knows how to go after someone and will not sit back and wait for people to go after him first. He’s the right counterbalance to Rubio if they make it to the general election.
Gowdy is also loved by conservatives. If Rubio is going to continue his Republican Establishment path to the mushy middle, he’ll need conservative credibility to get the right wing of the party out to the polls. Mitt Romney failed to do this by tapping Paul Ryan. John McCain got him a right-wing attack dog with Sarah Palin, but she proved to have other baggage that turned her into a liability. The only other time a moderate tried to bring a conservative counterbalance into the mix in recent elections was Bob Dole who brought in Jack Kemp, but Dole himself was too weak to mount a real offensive against Bill Clinton.
Here’s a warning to conservatives: the Vice President is not an important part of the government. They do not make policy. They do not vote. They are the backup quarterback that only has an impact in the field when the starter goes down. Some will point to Dick Cheney as a powerful Vice President, but we must remember that Cheney’s power had nothing to do with his position. His Neocon perspectives were propped up outside of the Vice President’s office. Look to Joe Biden, Al Gore, Dan Quayle, or George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan as examples of the true impotence of the office.
I still like Trey Gowdy. I just don’t trust his judgment anymore. We can forgive the pull of ambition on a man’s soul, but supporting Marco Rubio is a step that goes too far from the right path.