Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. quoted yours truly in his column on January 10. His argument was that while Marco Rubio started the campaign off with an optimistic, forward-looking tone, he has shifted towards a gloomier message recently.

The conservative writer Mitchell Blatt sensed this when he called Rubio “the Republican Barack Obama.” He meant it as a compliment. “A Republican Obama,” Blatt wrote last fall, “is just what the Grand Old Party needs to face a changing electorate.”

But since the beginning of the year, a new Rubio has appeared, a man given to funereal orations about the passing of the old America.

“Something’s happening,” Rubio declared, and the something, voters have been telling him, isn’t good: “This doesn’t look like my country anymore. I don’t recognize America. What’s happening to my country? I feel left behind. I feel out of place.”

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