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April 14, 2015

Marco Rubio Is Probably The Best The GOP Can DoÖAn Attractive Package For Conventional Ideas

So Marco Rubio gave his big announcement speech yesterday. It started off a little slow and choppy but a few minutes in and Rubio was doing what he does best, talking about his inspirational biography and telling people how much he loves America.

Naturally, it was a hit.

It took me awhile to figure out why Rubioís speech and general approach donít resonate with me in a way I would expect them to but it finally came to me. Itís not the immigration lies or even the disagreement about policy (especially when it comes to foreign interventions). Itís that I donít see cause for optimism that Rubio is selling.

In Rubioís telling of it, America is just a few tax credits here, a tweak of federal education policy there and of course one inspirational leader away from a golden New American Century.

Iím a little more jaded than that. I see fundamental issues with the leftward drift of America. The growth of the welfare state isnít sustainable becauseÖmath. The real problem though isnít just the numbers, itís a cultural rot that makes the explosive growth of government dependence not just ok but something to be celebrated. Itís a disconnect from reality that we should be spending billions of dollars a year to churn out gender studies majors instead of valuing vital ďblue collarĒ skills. Itís a mindset that there are jobs ďAmericans wonít doĒ, like construction. Itís the idea that if thereís a problem then the federal government must have some sort of program to address it.

I want someone to make the case the federal government is the problem and the only fix is to put it back in a smaller box. I'm not sure that can sell. Actually I'm almost positive it won't but I'm happy that Rand Paul is at least trying.

On the other hand, what Rubio is selling is great politics and he is a great salesman for it. People like optimism and they like being told itís easy to fix whatís wrongÖgive away more stuff but just have the right people doing the giving away and happy days are here again! If that's your thing, if just having someone with an ďRĒ after their name directing the beast is good enough, then Rubio should be your man. The GOP hasnít had someone who can connect with people this way since Reagan.

But what happens when you win? What are you going to do with it? As we saw from 2001-2007 and in the first 4 months of the new Congress, GOP victories doesnít equal conservative policy wins or even attempts to move the ball to the right.

To me Rubio is a guy who won in 2010 because he ran against a hack in a year when outsiders were prized. His rhetoric and style matched perfectly with the moment but the reality is, aside from the unconventional style, heís a pretty conventional Republican on policy. Why Republicans would want Jeb Bush selling essentially the same stuff when they could have Rubio fronting it is beyond me. GOP gonna GOP I guess.

Rubio is running on the idea of managing the behemoth better. Heíll throw in a few conservative-ish sounding ideas on how it should be done here and there but in general heís given me every reason to believe heís comfortable with the overall trajectory of modern government.

I get that everyone pines for a golden age that probably didnít exist and Iím no exception. But there are definitely some unhealthy trends in our society and a lot of the blame goes back to the leftist project to infantilize the citizenry. By concentrating power in an ever growing state, the room for individuals to take responsibility for their lives and to have the maximum ability to chart their own course in life has shrunk correspondingly.

So yes, if you want fairly conventional Republican policies wrapped up in beautiful speeches to an America that doesn't actually exist and that he wonít do anything to really bring about, Marco Rubio is your man.

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posted by DrewM. at 10:32 AM

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