All views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only and are not official statements or policy positions of his employer.
It's been over a week now since Sen. Marco Rubio's impromptu and awkward water bottle moment, yet folks are still talking buzzing about it and the young national lawmaker is still profiting from it - literally and figuratively.
Rubio's political action committee is even soliciting and receiving donations because from it. That's right (no pun intended), you receive a genuine Rubio water bottle with your financial contribution to his PAC.
We already know that politicians will do almost anything to raise campaign cash.
Moreover, who can resist that glamorous Rubio water bottle? Just imagine how proud you will be showing it off at the gym. Even though it's a bit early for Christmas that Rubio water bottle makes a perfect stocking stuffer.
Seriously, don't be shocked it you see it reemerge during the next holiday season and/or beyond.
By now, many millions of people are familiar with Rubio's water bottle incident. He's received so much coverage from both traditional and new media that it's been dubbed "Water Bottle-gate." Regardless of it being a non-fiasco, no politician wants to be linked to the infamous Watergate scandal, especially a Republican potential presidential candidate.
But don't be surprised if the Democratic Party tries to get fundraising mileage out of it too. Politics can be cynical and pathetic now and then.
The water bottle moment was seized upon by many reporters and left-leaning pundits as an easily preventable problem which only obscured Rubio's message and hurt his public image as a political amateur.
But did it really?
Some Rubio supporters were quick to blame the news media for their harsh and negative assessments. Yet blaming the media is sometimes an easy default position to deflect attention from the truth.
Moreover, this tactic doesn't always sit well with the public, who usually prefer political accountability over the blame game.
In this case, the conventional wisdom was that Rubio blew a golden opportunity with his State of the Union (SOTU) response to President Obama. At least that's how it may have appeared to many observers on a superficial level.
Consider the Flipside
However, what may appear to be political reality to the media elite may in fact turn out to be the exact opposite once and a while. To wit:
At one point last week, Rubio received more Google results under a simple search for the SOTU speech than did President Obama - ouch! How's that for Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
This is odd because presidents of both parties almost always receive more media coverage of a SOTU address compared to the opposition's mouthpiece delivering the response.
One sample Google search showed about 100 million results for "Rubio and Water" and only about 80 million results for "Obama and SOTU". That's a big win for the underdog. Sometimes in politics the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about , as the saying goes.
Therefore, Rubio and his supporters may have the media to thank rather than blame. This is primarily because national name recognition is a key political component when contemplating a potential presidential run, especially for a relatively unknown junior senator - a national newbie.
Moreover, "Saturday Night Live" on NBC couldn't resist getting in on the action with a hilarious skit on the segment "Weekend Update" - which has a large cult-like following. The spoof provided even more name recognition and potential likeability for Rubio among a key voting demographic of young people.
Score another win for Rubio.
The other good news for Sen. Rubio is that his apparent political setback positions him nicely for a major media comeback by lowering future expectations.
If nothing else, at least now everybody knows Rubio's name. Let's not forget that name recognition is a political gold standard when contemplating a run for the White House, particularly when you're a fresh face on the national stage.
David B. Grinberg is an independent political-media analyst with prior work experience in the White House, Congress, federal agencies, political polling firms, and the news media - including:
* Government spokesman at U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
* Political appointee in Clinton-Gore Administration (OMB, Presidential Personnel).
* Staff, Office of the Majority Leader, former Congressman Richard Gephardt.
* Staff, national Democratic pollsters/strategists Stanley Greenberg and Celinda Lake.
* Journalist, reporter at BNA, Inc. (now "Bloomberg BNA) and "U. Magazine" (Colleges.com).
Editor's Note: Politix publishes op-eds and analysis from political experts - including elected officials, analysts, campaign consultants, and lobbyists - to enrich and diversify the site content for our users. When possible, we aim to get opinions from both sides on any given issue. Guest contributions are not paid for.