Marco Rubio Seizes The Day

One of the benefits of the Obama era has been the ascent of a new breed of Republican officeholder. Call them Tea Partiers, if you want, but 3 years ago you wouldn't have seen people like Rand Paul, Mike Lee, or Rob Johnson in the Senate or Michelle Bachman ascending into the first tier of GOP presidential contenders. But, the guy with the most potential is Marco Rubio, and he has been on fire. If you ever get frustrated with the namby-pamby "collegiality" of DC Republicans, check out this blast from an interview Rubio did with Hugh Hewitt the other day:

HH: Senator Rubio, you represent a lot of senior citizens in Florida. The country knows that. I think it’s despicable to scare them this way. What’s your reaction to the President’s threat to hold their Social Security checks hostage?

MR: Well, if they don’t get their Social Security checks, it’s because the President’s decided to do that, because we still have revenue coming in. Here’s the other thing I would say. If in fact the President holds up their checks for Social Security, and Medicare, and whatever else he wants to hold up to make his point, isn’t he admitting that all these programs are funded by deficit spending? Isn’t he admitting that all these programs are dependant upon borrowed money? And I think the folks who are on Social Security, people like my mom, would be shocked to learn the truth that the money that they’re receiving in Social Security isn’t the money they worked hard for all these years to put away, the government was going to give back to them in their retirement. The government spent all that money already. They spent it long ago on other things. This is borrowed money. This is money that we’re borrowing from our children and our grandchildren. And I think people are going to, if that happens, I think people are going to be shocked to learn the real truth about what the government’s done with their Social Security money.

Honestly, why doesn't every Republican talk like that? I also liked his line - in a speech on the Senate Floor, no less - about how Obama should stop acting like the leader of a banana republic.

The other Tea Party Republicans have taken turns in the media crosshairs, having to defend stupid gaffes (Bachmann) or disconcertingly outside-the-box statements about the Civil Rights Act (Paul). Rubio has escaped this, partly because he has kept a relatively low profile, and partly because his communication skills are so disciplined and refined that his mouth doesn't get him into the sort of trouble that Sarah Palin - God love 'er - steps into every few weeks. Read the Hewitt transcript all the way through: it's one great line after another, simultaneously attacking the president in (well-deserved) harsh terms while also laying out an alternative to endless government spending.

I think Reagan comparisons are absurd at this point. For one thing Rubio is a year younger than I am. But the guy can convey a message very well. To think that, under normal conditions, he would have never left Florida, and Charlie Crist would be in the Senate.

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