by Nick Stone of Drawnlines Politics.
Finally getting around to watching Marco Rubio’s address to CPAC on YouTube, I find myself understanding something I seem to have underestimated these past months: why people like him.
His unpolished yet powerful stage presence denotes a speaker who speaks from the heart. His only occasional glances at his notes belies the truth that his stump speech has changed very little in over a year. And his handsome aw-shucks grin pulls him out of even the worst gaffe.
To my horror, I find myself listening to his message about two clear paths for our country and largely agreeing. With his heartwarming stories about his growing children contrasted with the harsh background of his grandparents and parents, it’s hard not to level with Marco’s concept of American exceptionalism.
Thinking back on his speeches to RedState and Broward REC, the understanding he displays for this country and the gravity of our future is very nearly the same within me. The ideas he articulates in front of a crowd are all too easy to trick one into jumping on board. It’s hard not to shout at my screen, “that’s right!”
Alas, if only he governed the way he speaks.
Beneath the handsome young star and the heartfelt tales of the Rubio family tree, there apparently exists a still-maturing politician who is yet unsure how to translate a great zinger into a great policy.
I agree with the “on stage Marco” nearly 90 percent. That’s far better than “governing Marco” appears to agree with himself – maybe 60 percent. Too many flip flops and 180’s to count.
With any politician there inevitably lies the chasm between vision and practice, but with Marco’s record as Speaker it should worry us greatly that chasm will be more of a canyon.
Marco’s shifty stances on stimulus funding and infrastructure bills make clear that he holds one set of rules for himself and another for other politicians. Strictest is Marco on other Republicans, and roughest of all on Governor Crist.
He was against Crist’s praise for federal stimulus, but sheepishly admitted months later that he would have taken the money if he were governor. Marco denounced the “pork” Sunrail concept as a project we could not afford, but seemed to have no problem with rail funding for his home county or infrastructure projects which would have benefited his friends.
Marco accosts Crist for big liberal government (though Florida under Crist spends third least per person in the country according to this week’s WSJ), but Speaker Rubio submitted budgets with eye-popping earmarks and quid pro quo for politically beneficial projects. The governor had to veto many of Marco-approved outlays to balance the state budget. Rubio also chides Congress for abusive spending, after he charged tens of thousands of dollars to the state and the party- and even more “shocking” spending in state house chambers.
Marco’s soaring rhetoric and knee-slapping zingers fly far higher than his conflicting record as an elected official. He is promising rainbows and unicorns to conservatives who fail to note he has delivered mere snake oil in the past.
Voters already made that mistake in 2008 with President Obama.
In short, to listen to Marco Rubio is an understandable joy for conservatives. To elect him to the United States Senate is another matter entirely. We would all do well to beware of the good looking guy on the corner promising free rainbows and unicorns.
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