Rubio's debut speech
Marco Rubio exceeded my not terribly high expectations in his presidential campaign announcement. If you haven’t seen it, the video is embedded below.
I admit that I haven’t been a big fan of the Florida freshman senator ever since he came out for cutting a deal on amnesty. But he has backed away from that unwise position, at least for now.
Rubio got a couple of very big things correctly.
1. He portrayed Hillary and the Democrats as offering the policies of the past (“yesterday”). This is a key message that has to be repeated and explained across the board. The solutions the left offers have not worked, and we can show it. Big government is a clumsy and inefficient tool for accomplishing worthy goals (as well as many unworthy ones). By taking the approach of pragmatists, the GOP can short-circuit much of the Democrats’ arsenal of demonizing us as mean-spirited, etc.
This argument works especially well against Hillary, but even if she somehow manages to bungle her campaign and Elizabeth Warren or some other Dem runs, this approach is still valid.
2. He focused on opportunity and mobility as what the GOP offers. This is hugely important to rebut the Democrat “inequality” argument. Rubio’s own life story and that of his family offer eloquent testimony, and he delivered this part of his address with evident passion and sincerity. In a debate with the Democrat nominee, he would be devastatingly effective if he let loose with a Spanish language note that the Democrats don’t want to reward hard work, that they think the lazy and the hard working deserve the same outcomes (or words to that effect). He could then repeat himself in English, but the message would be clear to the growing Hispanic bloc that efforts are being denigrated by the Democrats and cheered by the Republicans.
Rubio was better than he has been, but still needs to work on his authoritativeness. He betrayed a bit of nervousness, especially at the first, and doesn’t quite feel as though he is fully comfortable being the Big Dog. But that will come, I think.
He is already being compared to JFK as the candidate of youth, good looks, and charisma. Maybe, but certainly not yet. He needs to come into himself’ maybe some deep breathing exercises? But he’s certainly handsome and fresh.
One more thing: he does face the freshman senator/no executive experience comparison to Obama. However there is one difference. Rubio became speaker of the Florida House, whereas Obama stayed a back bencher who voted “present.” That makes Rubio far more experienced, in an executive function as the manager of a legislative body.