Why Do We Care About Marco Rubio's Water? We Shouldn't

By 11 o'clock last night, it was clear what the news of today would be: Marco Rubio's water. Around ten minutes into his rebuttal last night -- you know, just the biggest moment of this guy's life -- he looked down, looked back up, took on a look of someone who has to go the bathroom RIGHT NOW, and did it.

Marco Rubio drank water.

OK, listen. He drank water. But this moment has already wiggled into the national consciousness like nothing else that was said last night.

What's going on?

At this moment, we can't recall anything Rubio said last night. And we're pretty sure you can't either. Because as soon as one types Marco Rubio into Google or YouTube or Twitter -- WATER splashes across the screen.

It's everywhere. On YouTube, more than 100,000 people have already watched videos of Marco Rubio hydrating. On Twitter, three @MarcoRubio'swater handles have already materialized. ("He's thirsty. I am refreshing.") And the bloggers? Gawd, the bloggers. WATER.

We don't often defend Marco Rubio. Because he hates gays. And undocumented workers. And this wishy-washy phenomenon known as science. But in this instance, we should. Rubio's water doesn't deserve such a primary spot in our national narrative.

It's extremely difficult to follow the president of the United States in a rebuttal. He has the power of the bully pulpit. He has an audience to riff off. He has all the assembled powers of these United States splayed out before him. And, oh yeah, HE'S BARACK OBAMA. (He's sorta done this before.)

But there are even larger forces than BO driving the water craze. We've been conditioned to look for these sort of moments -- to discern whatever element of our political theater SNL will seize upon -- while the politics is still unfolding. The caricature of politics has, in some ways, become larger and more socially relevant than the reality.

Marco Rubio drinking water? Not that big of a deal.

But in the context of social media -- a constant race to see who can make the most witty or ironic joke -- Marco Rubio drinking water will remain with him for years, carrying into his 2016 bid for the presidency.

And if that doesn't get him thirsty, we don't know what will.

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Terrence McCoy