A rising Republican star made a memorable national debut yesterday at the annual CPAC gathering in Washington, D.C.
In a rousing keynote speech yesterday before the faithful at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, former Florida House speaker Marco Rubio demonstrated to conservatives from around the country why he’s captured the hearts and minds of so many Florida Republicans in his race for the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat.
When Rubio announced his intention to run against moderate-to-liberal Florida Governor Charlie Crist, the Republican establishment was amused, and lined up behind the popular Crist. Big Money Men showered Crist with checks.
No one’s laughing now as Rubio has surged from 50 points behind to, depending on which current poll you believe, a lead of between three to 14 points. Rubio has the mo, and it’s because he has run an aggressive, retail campaign based on the conservative themes he wowed his politically savvy Thursday audience with.
Rubio praised America as the greatest country in the history of the world. He said our greatness, our exceptionalism, comes from our commitment to limited government, personal freedom, and the free enterprise system, all things our predecessors chose, fought and bled for, and that are being attacked now by the current leftist administration and Congress. He said we need to send people to Washington who will offer and fight for a clear alternative to what is nothing less than a threat to America’s continued greatness.
“What kind of America do you want your children to inherit,” Rubio asked. “We must decide. Do we want to continue to be exceptional? Or do we want to be like everyone else?”
Rubio said our personal freedoms and the material bounty Americans have enjoyed are threatened by a clueless political class, too many of whose members believe the free enterprise system is unfair, who believe that America’s enemies exist because of something we did, who believe the answer to everything is more government, and who while they frequently invoke “democracy,” are in fact contemptuous of personal freedom.
“People who think this way were elected in 2008,” Rubio said. “They’re using the downturn as cover, not to fix America but to change America, to fundamentally redefine the role of government in our lives and the role of America in the world.”
And the result for most Americans has not been “change we can believe in.” In less than a year, Americans have figured out what’s going on and are now engaged in what Rubio calls “the single greatest political pushback in American history.”
Rubio wants to be part of that pushback and, without mentioning his opponent’s name, made it clear he believes Crist isn’t up to this challenge.
“America wants leaders to stand up to that agenda, not be co-opted by it,” Rubio said. “The U.S. Senate already has one Arlen Specter too many. America already has a Democratic Party. We don’t need two Democratic Parties.”
This is a clear reference to the fact that Crist whooped-up President Obama’s failed “stimulus” slush fund before it was adopted, supported a carbon cap and trade program like the president’s, and has frolicked over the past two years with other liberal programs and spending schemes in order to show how “bipartisan” he is.
But mostly Rubio’s target was Obama and the liberal Congress rather than Crist. Rubio said at the national level we need to simplify the tax code and lower taxes for everyone, lower corporate income taxes so American companies can be competitive, eliminate “double taxation” such as capital gains taxes and the death tax altogether, and generally get out of the way of the free enterprise system rather than shackling it, or trying to replace it with government command and control, which the Obama bunch is busy doing.
“Jobs aren’t created by politicians,” Rubio said. “They’re created by people who risk money to start a business or to expand an existing one.”
Rubio, who has expressed skepticism about the global warming theory and its attendant horrors, said we should “stop big government energy mandates like cap and trade and instead rely on the American innovator to make us energy independent.”
Rubio said we need to reduce federal spending and get serious about getting the national debt under control. We should enact “lawsuit abuse reform.” He said these issues are so important and so consequential that “2010 is not just a choice between Democrat and Republican, but a referendum on the very identity of our nation.”
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