Rubio ’10 = Reagan ’73?

Conservatives over the past year have been disappointed some of the young leaders we’ve been turning too for…well, new leadership. Sarah Palin was an all-star college quarterback who entered the draft a year early and has never recovered. Bobby Jindal’s response to President Barry’s address from LAST YEAR was so embarrassing that we haven’t heard much from him since…which sucks because his would have been a valuable voice to have on our side during the health care debate.

So I was a little nervous when Sen. Jim DeMint introduced SOON TO BE Sen. Marco Rubio to deliver his opening address to CPAC last Thursday morning. Midway through the speech I turned to my friend and said, “I wonder if this is what it was like when they heard Reagan in 1973.”

It had the usual blend of policy and red-meat applause lines that you expect at conferences like this. But there was something else I couldn’t put my finger on until I read – of all people – Kathleen Parker…

Rubio’s story about his hardworking parents — his father’s 16-hour days and his mom’s job as Kmart clerk — is familiar by now. And though the artifact that bad luck is a virtue is as stale as Marie Antoinette’s cake, Rubio is saved from death-by-cliche by an unlikely benefactor: Fidel Castro.

Rubio’s parents came to America to escape Castro’s cruel tyranny. You don’t have to weep Glenn Beck tears — or descend into bellicosity with words such as “fascism” or “socialism” — when your life is a metaphor for the anti-Obama movement.
ad_icon And Republicans don’t have to beat voters over the head with platitudes and promises. They don’t even have to invoke “exceptionalism,” code to liberals for wallpapering classrooms with the Ten Commandments.

All they have to do is let Rubio speak and remind voters why, as he put it, you don’t see Americans hopping rafts to seek refuge in other countries. Immigrants like his parents “clearly understand how different America is from the rest of the world…What makes America great is not that we have more rich people than anybody else,” but that “there are dreams that are impossible everywhere else but are possible here.”

Rubio reminded his appreciative audience that those who seek our shores are from countries that have let government run the economy and determine which industries will be rewarded. The United States, at least theoretically, has chosen to let free markets, and thus individual liberty, thrive. The problem with government-run economies, he said, is that “the employee never becomes the employer; the small business can never compete with a big business.”

I never thought I’d say this aboot a Kathleen Parker piece, but seriously, read the whole article. Short term, Rubio’s got my $100. Long term, he’s got my support for President.

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