It’s no secret that the right wing blogosphere, and the tea party goonies, can’t stand would-be U.S. Senator Mike Haridopolos, who currently presides over the Florida Senate. Who do they love? Adam Hasner. And so he is the new El Unico … er, without the gratuitous pimping of the party credit card.
Hasner has distinguished himself by taking positions to the right of Muommar Qaddafi. He thinks the Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare doesn’t go far enough, for one thing. (What more does he want? Public beatings of impoverished seniors, maybe?) That means he’s aces with the Erick Ericksons of the world, who hate on Hari for fumbling around on vouchercare (he’s now against it … I think.)
The Wapo’s Chris Cillizza crowns Hasner, officially:
Could former Republican state Rep. Adam Hasner be Florida’s next Marco Rubio?
Like Rubio in his successful 2010 Senate campaign, Hasner has less experience and name recognition than other Republicans in the field hoping to take on Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) next November.
And, like Rubio, he’s working to position himself as the preferred candidate of conservative activists and the national pundit class — particularly on Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R) budget, which Hasner has fully embraced, a rare Senate candidate willing to take such a step.
Still, hurdles remain. Neither state Senate President Mike Haridopolos nor former Sen. George LeMieux are the radioactive presence in a Republican primary that former governor Charlie Crist, Rubio’s 2010 primary opponent, was. And, Hasner remains almost entirely unproven on the big stage — particularly in regards fundraising.
For the moment, Hasner is placing a major bet that his support for the Ryan plan will pay political dividends — casting him in the eyes of GOP voters as the only true conservative in the contest.
Rick Wilson, an adviser to Hasner, says voters will reward him for taking a principled stand: “Adam is a junkyard dog on policies and willing to take some very tough stands and willing to go out there and swim against the current, because he’s not a guy who puts political calculus first.” If voters wanted someone swayed by popular opinion, he said, “we would have Sen. Charlie Crist right now,” added Wilson.
I follow Rick on Twitter. I can assure you that he too is to the right of Qaddafi.
Ironically, Hasner would probably be the candidate Democrat Bill Nelson would most want to face, since Hasner’s Medicare position will scare the bejeezus out of Florida’s huge cohort of senior citizens, who Republicans frightened with lies about Democrats cutting Medicare in “Obamacare” in order to sweep the 2010 state and federal elections. Putting Hasner’s position out there, as opposed to Haridopolos’ more moderate stance (and his major blink of immigration) probably plays to the Dems’ advantage. David Frum explains the core problem the GOP fringe is posing to the party’s prospects here.
Being the next Marco Rubio probably has a lot less cache going into 2012 than it did in 2010.
Meanwhile, Ken Blackwell endorses Hasner. Yes, yes, I know, “Ken who…”