Sen. Ted Cruz is obnoxious. Sen. Marco Rubio is nice. That’s why so many Republican politicians, donors, and party leaders want the senator from Florida, not the senator from Texas, to be the Republican nominee for president. They think Rubio would attract more voters than Cruz in a general election, and polls suggest they’re right. But the polls and pols miss an important factor: Tactically, Cruz is smarter than Rubio. That difference is becoming clearer as the candidates grapple with the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. . .
It’s possible that Rubio will end up as the Republican nominee. But if he does, it will be on the strength of his charm, not his acumen. To win the general election, Rubio would need to think more like Cruz, choosing issues that fit the moment and serve his candidacy. When it comes to the Supreme Court, that issue isn’t marriage. It’s guns.