If you were watching the television coverage Wednesday of President Obama's historic shift on Cuba policy, the face you were most likely to see—even more than the president's—was that of Marco Rubio.
There he was in an interview on Fox News, and on CNN, and holding a press conference in the Capitol, all to denounce what he saw as a catastrophic capitulation to "the oppressors" in Havana. For a man who Time hailed on its cover as "The Republican Savior" just 22 months ago, it has been a good long while since he so assertively commanded the spotlight. The first-term Florida senator spent 2013 joining the push for comprehensive immigration reform, but a conservative backlash led him to adopt a lower profile in the last year.
Rubio's lesser status was never more evident than on Tuesday, when the hubbub over Jeb Bush's announcement that would he "actively explore" a presidential run reduced Rubio to an afterthought in the 2016 conversation. How could a junior senator run against a popular former two-term governor of his own state, much less one with the surname of Bush? Rubio's spokesman, Alex Conant, insisted that he just might do it. While dutifully citing Rubio's respect for Bush, Conant said "Marco's decision on whether to run for president or re-election will be based on where he can best achieve his agenda to restore the American Dream—not on who else might be running." Still, it seemed that at least for a day, a Republican Party that once saw the 43-year-old as its version of Obama was now turning back to a dynasty.