Like Larry, I’m glad that Marco Rubio will be seeking the Republican Party nomination for the White House.
Rubio’s entry into the GOP field vastly improves it for he stands head and shoulders above Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. If Cruz and Paul are the sizzle then Rubio is the steak. When I hear Cruz and Paul, they speak as if they are in love with the sound of their own voice. Frankly, we’ve already had six years of that and we don’t need anymore of it. When I hear Rubio speak, I hear a man who is serious, sober and yet optimistic. Rubio is deliberate, thoughtful and offers viable alternatives such as his tax reform plan with fellow Senator Mike Lee. He has also been an eloquent spokesperson on foreign affairs especially on Iran and Cuba. Given Rubio’s Cuban heritage and the Obama Administration’s efforts to legitimize Cuba under Castro we can expect to hear a great more about this from him. When we also consider Paul’s support for the Obama Administration’s efforts in Cuba, sparks will surely fly between them on this subject during the GOP debates.
Another reason I am glad Rubio is in the race is because he has no fear of Jeb Bush. This quality should come as no surprise given his willingness to challenge Charlie Crist, another Florida Governor, back in 2010. If there is one positive legacy Barack Obama has left the Republican Party, it is that some of its leading lights recognize “the fierce urgency of now” and are not content to wait their turn. I have a strong feeling that if Obama hadn’t successfully challenged Hillary Clinton in 2008 that Rubio’s challenge of Crist, never mind Bush would be very unlikely. For too long promising Republicans have been deferential to either the second place candidate in the previous GOP primary (i.e. McCain, Romney) or have been intimidated by the Bush name. Obama’s rise has shattered that paradigm.
Indeed, both Paul and Cruz were insurgent challengers in Kentucky and Texas, respectively. But the fact that Rubio and Bush both hail from Florida raises it to the zenith. It’s far more risky for Rubio to challenge Bush than it is for any of the other 2016 GOP aspirants. Given their similar donor base, Rubio is bound be at a disadvantage in terms of fundraising. But that can be overcome if Rubio has a message that resonates with GOP voters. Although Rubio has angered some conservatives with his pragmatic approach to immigration, they are far more peeved with Bush on the subject not to mention Common Core. So the obstacles before Rubio are far from insurmountable.
Although he has yet to formally declare, Scott Walker is still my number one choice. But Rubio is a close second. Walker has the edge in governing and doing so successfully under hostile conditions. Rubio has an edge in foreign policy matters. Should Walker win the nomination, I have no doubt that Rubio would be very high on his list of running mates. To win the White House, Republicans need more support from Hispanics and they must win Florida. Rubio can help with those objectives with his presence in either spot of the Republican ticket.
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