And we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive.
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive.
The Bee Gees
That is what Marco Rubio is doing.
The polls say he is dead. The big-money contributors say he is dead. The Republican establishment says he is dead.
Yet Marco isn't dead.
In fact, he was on the cover of National Review last week, looking very much alive.
And the longer he lives, the greater the threat he poses to Charlie Crist's plan to ascend to the U.S. Senate.
Rubio is the most confounding of foes.
He should be in the attorney general's race, where there is no serious Republican opposition. That could give him a statewide win, and unlimited time and opportunity to seek higher office.
If he followed the playbook, he would be a good team player, pay his dues and wait his turn.
Yet he remains fixated on the seemingly impossible task of taking out Crist. This raises a disturbing possibility for the governor's campaign.
Rubio may actually believe he is on a mission to save America, and his four children, from what he calls the "radical leadership" in Washington.
True believers are scary. They fight relentlessly to win, without fear of losing.
Crist calls heavyweight fundraiser John Morgan and puts in an order for a million bucks.
Rubio scrounges for $10 contributions in e-mail solicitations.
Crist gutted the state's growth-management laws, then ran off to a Colorado fundraiser put on by developers, where seats went for $2,400. In July, he took in a staggering $4.3 million in campaign cash.
Rubio had a paltry $340,000.
Crist beckons the TV cameras with the snap of a finger, basking in the free publicity and saving up his war chest.
Rubio goes to tea parties, speaks to small groups and sells his message on social-networking sites. If it doesn't cost anything, or at least doesn't cost much, Marco will be there.
He bought his campaign at Walmart.
He rallies the base at local Republican executive committees, where you find the true believers: the people who wear tinfoil hats and communicate with Ronald Reagan. They conduct their straw polls and vote overwhelmingly for Rubio. Each symbolic victory is trumpeted in the endless string of e-mails sent out by his campaign.
Crist gets support from people who back winners.
Rubio gets support from people who fear President Barack Obama is destroying America.
It is pragmatism versus passion, bipartisanship versus rebellion.
This is what makes the race such an interesting one.
It is why Rubio continues to attract interest, whereas any other candidate this far behind in the polls and fundraising would have been dismissed long ago.
There is a huge disconnect between the official polls, where Crist is far ahead, and the anecdotal evidence, where he appears very vulnerable.
Look at the comments on any Internet story about Crist, and you will see a slew of derogatory remarks, most by self-professed Republicans.
I talk politics with a lot of people and can't recall anyone ever praising Crist for anything other than his political skills. Insiders who back him in public often privately lampoon his lack of depth and ignorance of policy.
Last week, the respected political editor of the St. Petersburg Times, Adam Smith, wrote: "... something ominous and unpredictable is brewing in Florida, and a growing number of Republicans are starting to consider the unthinkable: The people's governor could lose his campaign for U.S. Senate."
This week, U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite endorsed Rubio.
And then came Jeb Bush, criticizing national Republicans for backing Crist, saying Rubio "should be given a chance."
If Jeb backed his principles with his political capital, he would endorse Rubio outright instead of all this beating around the bush.
That would create the seismic shift in this race.
Minus that, Rubio's strategy is clear.
Send tweets. Post on Facebook. Send e-mails. Win straw polls. Speak to Republicans wherever they gather.
Get his name known.
Take another $10 contribution.
Take in enough of them to run those videos of Crist and Obama embracing onstage at a stimulus rally.
And wait for the momentum of the anti-Obama backlash to drive Republicans his way.
Mike Thomas can be reached at 407-420-5779Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times