If we can't nominate Rush Limbaugh
It's too bad we can't nominate Rush Limbaugh. He's been the most consistent conservative with the broadest appeal. But can we at least listen to this great American?
Here's what Rush told his huge audience recently:
"But Rubio, Rubio would win in a walkover. He's conservative. He's articulate. He's great-looking. He's Hispanic and sounds very smart. How can he possibly lose? If this were the Democrat Party, the party father would probably tell Obama to step aside and let Rubio run, if Rubio were a Democrat. There are more Hispanic voters now than there are blacks, and Rubio's got more experience than Obama had when he decided to run. I don't know how many times Rubio has voted "present" versus Obama. ...
"Anyway, look, the reason why they're not pushing Rubio... I'm going to answer my own question. That's what I do. I ask myself the best questions I'm ever asked and, therefore, I give the best answers. They're not pushing Rubio because while they praise him, they don't think he has had enough experience yet.
"And Rubio is - sorry to say this, folks - another example of the RINOs being wrong."
Not only wrong, but self-defeating. The idea that we can win with anyone is probably not so. The Washington Post stumbled over the truth when they talked with a woman activist at last week's Values Voter Summit. She would vote for one of the media-touted candidates against Obama, she said, but she probably wouldn't put a bumper sticker on her car or a sign in her yard. And don't even ask her if she'll volunteer on a phone bank or stand in a cold rain with a placard for one of these guys.
Ho-hum doesn't win elections. "Settling for" a media-approved candidate is what we did with Dole and McCain. They never generated intensity, enthusiasm, excitement. But that's what we need for winning campaigns. Why settle for Tom Dewey redux?
If Marco Rubio were to tap Sen. Jon Kyl as his running mate and enter the primaries, the effect would be electric. No candidate has ever named his running mate before the first caucus goers and primary voters vote. It makes sense. We ought to know who would be Number Two. It's better to let us decide up front than to let the choice be made at the last minute, under pressure, just to meet the media's deadlines.
Dewey looked like a sure thing, too. Trim, polished, dignified, he looked like the little man on the wedding cake, said T.R.'s daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, tartly. He was a moderate Republican who created no excitement at the grassroots. It did not seem that Harry could possibly win, but he generated enough intensity through his policy maneuvers -- for Israel, for Civil Rights, for organized labor.
Any question about age and experience could be brushed aside: "I chose Jon Kyl; President Obama chose Joe Biden." Those of us who have followed Biden's career since 1973 knew he was a fool. Now, the whole world knows.
This week, Sen. Rubio took to the Senate floor to appeal powerfully for the life of Pastor Youssef Nadarkhani. Iran's mullahs are threatening to hang this 34-year old husband and father of two for the "crime" of becoming Christian. It was an urgent reminder of the fact that we are up against a brutal and heartless regime. Just last month, Tehran boasted of its "humanitarian" stance when it released two young American hikers -- but only after they were paid a million-dollar ransom.
Sen. Rubio knows how to dramatize his policy differences with an Obama administration that was content to let the Mullahs stay in power with bullets and truncheons when their own people rose up against them. President Obama may have lost the best chance we had to bring down Iran's terrorist rulers without war.
No other Republicans have shown the skill Sen. Rubio has shown. He ran a flawless two-year campaign in a must-win state. Rubio showed courage and competence. He never flinched. He never had to "walk back" any misstatements. He never had to clarify or justify previous positions. He embraced the TEA Party and harnessed its energy.
A Rubio-Kyl ticket could carry forty states and begin an era of conservative restoration of American greatness -- at home and abroad.
Ronald Reagan was always able to communicate his staunchly conservative message in ways that never put off the moderates in his party or the Independents. But he never forgot to lead his grassroots supporters, holding high his banner of bold colors.
We can see Marco Rubio doing that before our eyes. Why are we willing to settle?
Rush is right.