Marco Rubio Gets the National Spotlight

Bookmark and Share         This past Saturday, Republicans used Marco Rubio to respond to the President’s weekly radio address. The move was one  which took advantage of gaining some earned of “free” media for what is one of the mosthotly contested Senate races in 2010, while at the same time providing the opposing opinion to the one offered by President Obama.

Marco Rubio

The Party that responds to the President’s message normally tries to do whatever they can to make their rebuttal as newsworthy and powerful as possible. This is hard to do since most Americans pay little attention to this weekly tradition. Most of the time, Americans only hear a snippet of the President’s address and the opposing Party’s response, when they contain something controversial enough for the major news outlets to carry. So what is the Parties normally do is incorporate some local color that gives reason for regional and local news carriers to mention the address and response.

In this case, Republicans used Marco Rubio.

The move successfully helped Rubio to capture some brief headlines in the South and Florida specifically. That in and of itself made this week’s Republican response to President Obama, all the more worth while. It earned Rubio some free publicity and helped people get familiar with his name as well as is helped to create an impression of Rubio as a figure of national stature.

But beyond perceptions, were the content of Rubio’s response to the President’s address.

While the address is far from being an example of legendary oratorical skill, it hit the nail on the head when it comes to the catastrophic handling of America’s economy by the current ruling Democrat regime in Washington, D.C..

Rubio’s response to the President spoke of American exceptionalism and the potential for its demise in the face of an Administration and Congress that has turned its back on the free market and relies on selling our children’s futures to make up for the past and get through today.

The address also gave a glimpse into the style and substance of Marco Rubio himself. This is something that is quite important in one of the most closely watched races in the nation and will be an important factor in helping to determine who wins that election in Florida.

Rubio’s senate race has many ramifications. If he can hold on to it for Republicans, it could throw control of the US Senate into Republican hands. If he fails to win it, there is no chance of that happening .

But in addition to that, it is my contention that if Marco Rubio wins his race for the U.S. Senate, he will automatically become a potential candidate for President. Maybe not in 2012. But anytime after that.

Don’t believe me? Well how many of you thought in 2006 that Senator Barack Obama would be President by 2008? The answer to that is, at least, most of you.

In the case of Marco Rubio though, there are many underlying, politically strastegic similarities between him and Barack Obama. Both men are young, energetic, forward thinking and ideological rocks. Both men have compelling personal stories.  And  both men have demonstrated a tendency to grab opportunities when ever they can instead of waiting for them to be offered to them.

While Barack Obama has demonstrated his deep conviction to liberal values, Marco Rubio has shown his deep sense of faith in conservative values. While Barack Obama was the son of an Ethiopian whom abandoned him to his American mother who passed away and left him to be raised by his Hawaiian grandparents, Marco Rubio was raised in a stable family environment but born to Cuban exiles who fled to America to create a better life for their children. And while Barack Obama knocked his opponent off the ballot to get a seat in the state senate and then grabbed a vacant and virtually vacant seat in the U.S. Senate to then oppose the likely candidacy of Hillary Clinton for President, Marco Rubio demonstrated a similar impatience for positions of influence but achieved them through more ethical and traditional means.

Rubio was a member of his local Miami council, then ran for the state assembly and eventually became the Speaker of the Florida State Assembly, the youngest one ever. After being term limited, he soon decided to run for the United States Senate by opposing the popular Governor and establishment’s choice for the Republican nomination. Rubio was running such a great race that the Governor dropped out of the primary race and switched Parties in order to survive till Election Day.

In addition to those similarities, like Obama, Rubio can be an eloquent and powerful speaker and like Obama, Rubio has the ability to attract minority votes, Hispanic votes, the largest growing segment of the population in America.

For all those reason alone, Rubio can easily be seen as a future option for Republicans. But the other reasons for his viability as a contender begin where the similarities between Rubio and Obama end.

Unlike Obama, Rubio is a fiscal conservative who believes in less government and less taxes. Unlike Obama, Rubio does not believe it is America’s place to apologize for our exceptionalism and unlike President Obama, Marco Rubio believes in the free market, has a plan to cut federal spending and the national debt and unlike President Obama, Marco Rubio believes in personal responsibility, not federal control.

In essence Rubio has the perfect mix of similarities with and differences from President Obama…… a mix that could make him the right President at the right time.

Does this mean we will be saying President Rubio anytime soon? Probably not within the next 6 years. But you never know.

If Rubio does win his race for the United States Senate, he certainly could make a realistic run for the Republican Presidential nomination and he could use the Obama model to do so.

He is fresh, young and new. He can’t be tarred with the transgressions of poorly constructed past legislation and he can energize and appeal to a coalition of minority voters that may not otherwise be inclined to support a Republican. Rubio also comes from an important state in President elections. It possesses one of the highest electoral votes in the nation and is often considered a swing state.

All of these factors must be considered when contemplating the viability of possible candidates for President and all of these considerations work in Marco’s favor.

Which brings us to another option……..Vice President.

There is a reason why it is typical for a presidential nomineeto have first a long list and then a short list for Vice President. The long list includes all realistic possibilities in an attempt to insure that no truly good choice is overlooked. The short list is the one that has narrowed down those choices to the ones who best fit all of the following general prerequisites:

  • Competency
  • Level of confidence voters have in candidates abilities
  • Ideology
  • Regional & Electoral College influence
  • Ability to energize your base
  • Appeal to Independents

Of all these considerations, depending on who the presidentially actually is, Marco Rubio has more potential than many others. So much so that I would have to say that Rubio at least makes it to the nominees “short list”.  But it all comes down to the biggest word of all…… “If.”

“If” Marco Rubio is elected to the U.S. Senate November, both his potential presidential candidacy and his potential vice presidential candidacy will become very possible in 2012 and beyond.

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Jim DeMint…… President or Kingmaker?

Jim DeMint headshot

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint

Bookmark and Share   Jim DeMint is up for his first reelection bid this November, but his race is hardly a serious one. Not that Jim DeMint isn’t taking it seriously, he certainly is. But due to Jim’s popularity in South Carolina, Democrats never took this race seriously. That is why when a destitute man who was brought up on charges related to pornography ran for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate against deMint, he won. So now a virtual unknown and by all indications, unqualified individual is in a race against DeMint that is hardly a contest of wits, no less than a race of ideas.

But the fact that Alvin Greene, the Democrat in this race, got the chance to challenge DeMint is testimony to the solid support that DeMint has received from his fellow Palmetto State voters. In his first term in office, Jim DeMint has proven himself to be a solid conservative leader. He is a movement conservative who is never missing from any battle that involves social and fiscal conservativism. His solid record is in perfect sync with the majority of South Carolinians. So much so that that Democrats never even tried to unseat him and instead allowed their nomination to fall into the hands of the  mentally challenged Alvin Greene.

Still no one can take an election for granted like Democrats did before they found out who their nominee was. So Jim is campaigning hard. But with the luxury of what is currently a 42 percent lead over Alvin Greene, Jim DeMint is sharing his clout among other conservatives. His Senate Conservatives Fund raised $4 million in the current election cycle, an amount greater than any other Senate leadership political action committee.

Some of that money has been used by DeMint in shaping the current class of conservative candidates that are running in November’s elections. More so than any other Senator, Jim has gone out on a few limbs and endorsed underdogs who were not the establishment’s choices. In most cases he supported TEA Party candidates and those whom he felt best represented conservative values as opposed to Party line allegiances.

He endorsed and donated over $58,000 to the candidacy of Washington state’s Dino Rossi who recently became incumbent Democrat Patty Murray‘s senate opponent.

14 months ago Jiom DeMint was one of the first Republicans to publicly endorse the young anti-establishment,  former Florida Republican House Speaker Marco Rubio, against the incumbent Republican Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist. Crist was the hands on favorite for the US Senate nomination and the establishment’s choice for the nomination. But when the young, conservative Marco Rubio took to the stage, DeMint threw his weight behind the better candidate instead of the establishment candidate, a man who has since turned his back on those republicans who supported and is now running against the GOP

Some of the largest donations DeMint has made have gone to; Marco Rubio, $421,000, Tea Party backed candidate for the US Republican Senate nomination, Ken Buck of Colorado, $375,000, $312,000 to former Nevada state legislator and Tea Party backed Sharron Angle, and $217,000 to Salt Lake City lawyer and Tea Party backed Senate candidate Mike Lee. All were underdogs in their respective races for their state’s Republican senate nominations, and all won. Other DeMint backed winners include Republican Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and Rand Paul in Kentucky.

The Rand Paul endorsement came after DeMint’s boss in the senate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came out and endorsed Paul’s opponent.  Being that Kentucky is the state that McConnell represents, his making a choice between Paul and his opponent Trey Grayson was not unusual. But DeMint’s endorsement of Paul, a day after McConnell’s endorsement of Grayson, was seen as a slap in Mitch McConnell’s face. But that did not stop DeMint from intervening in the Kentucky race and providing the kind of financial and public support that made Rand Paul the eventual nominee over McConnell’s choice for the job.

After defying McConnell the privilege of his preferred nominee in his own sate, many believe that Jim DeMint is preparing for a challenge to McConnell’s leadership role in the Senate. The idea is not unrealistic. McConnell has been a weak leader. While he has managed to keep Republicans from wandering off the reservation and remain in lockstep opposition to the Obama/Pelosi/reid regime’s agenda, McConnell has failed to offer bold alternatives that would allow Senate Republicans to run for cover from the charge of being obstructionists and the Party of “no” with no ideas. 

DeMint however campaigns against the Democrat leadership by taking a hard-line that claims the liberals leading the Democrat Party are taking us down a road to socialism.   But he also offers alternative solutions. Between that and his ability to sure up the conservative base, DeMint could give McConnell a run for his money in a leadership challenge. This is especially the case if many of those whom DeMint endorsed become freshmen senators in January of 2011. And if enough of them get elected to allow Republicans to take back control of the senate, you can more than likely count on many of those new faces to support DeMint for Senate Majority Leader.

Of course DeMint could forego a leadership battle and parlay the support of his newfound senate friends into support for a presidential bid.

That will be a tougher goal to achieve though.

DeMint is just right for the majority of the electorate in South Carolina and the  Southen U.S., but his conservative credentials might be too hard for many in the rest of the nation to swallow. The left will have a field day with his hard-line record. Still he could make quite a difference in the race for for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidency itself.

If DeMint ran in the GOP primaries, South Carolina would, for the most part be out of play. This would diminish the chances of Republican like Romney, Barbour, Palin and Gingrich, to begin to lock up the South in the South Carolina primary that is normally a precursor to primaries in Florida and then the influx of the rest of the Southern states on Super Tuesday.

Outside of the South though, DeMint may not be able to play as well as well as a candidate like Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, but he can leave a candidate like Barbour tattered as he enters contests against someone like Romney in the Northeast and Midwest.

DeMint’s greatest chance for success in the Republican presidential process could come in helping to choose who the next President is.

If DeMint comes out and endorses a candidate such as Romney, that endorsement could go a long way to help him do far better than he did in the South last time and it could make the difference between winning and losing the South Carolina primary.

No matter what though, Jim DeMint has positioned himself as one of the most influential Senators in the game of electoral politics that there is these days. His ability to raise money and sway conservatives makes him a very real contender for the GOP presidential nomination and without a doubt a kingmaker in waiting.

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