Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has recently shown signs of traction in the 2016 GOP primary race. He's inching up the polls, taking confident swings at front-runner Donald Trump, and generally enjoying a boost from the sudden departure of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. And with the surprise news on Friday morning that Speaker John Boehner is stepping down, Rubio quickly positioned himself to take advantage, telling a cheering crowd at the conservative Values Voter summit in Washington, D.C., that "the time has come to turn the page."
Boehner has long been a bete noire of the GOP's right wing, which believes he compromised too often with the White House and sold out his conservative principles. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Congress' most prominent practitioner of zero-comprise, government-shutdown politics, went even further than Rubio, exulting in Boehner's fade from the scene. But for the party's establishment and its embattled band of moderates, Boehner represents a bastion of sanity keeping the GOP from anarchic self-destruction. And no one better represents the establishment in the race than Jeb Bush, who had nothing but praise for Boehner:
Given the anti-establishment, anti-Washington tenor of the primary race thus far, it's not hard to see how Rubio and Cruz will benefit politically from their respective responses. Bush? Not so much.
Update: Donald Trump also got in on the Boehner-bashing.