Rubio, on Substance (Kinda)

 

RubioWhen Rand Paul announced his presidential candidacy last week, I broke down the speech here so that our readers could get a sense of his actual policy goals. As I noted at the time, Senator Paul’s remarks deviated somewhat from the norm in their specificity (for a good discussion of some of his policy proposals, check out Reihan Salam and Patrick Brennan in the inaugural episode of the Wonky Town podcast). That fact was only underscored by Marco Rubio’s announcement yesterday, in which he hewed much closer to the traditional model of going easy on policy details.

Now, Rubio’s no slouch when it comes to the nuts and bolts of governing. Indeed, he’s enthusiastically embraced a lot of the ideas coming out of the “reformicon” camp and it’s hard to argue with his record of policy entrepreneurship in Florida. That said, he’s also a much more talented speaker than Paul (and, for my money, anybody else who is, or may end up in, the GOP field), so he presumably knows that an announcement speech is not the time to do an on-stage scoring of your budget plan. I expect we’ll see a lot more details in the future.

Rubio’s Miami announcement speech was, for the most part, a rhetorical exercise (and a pretty fine one at that), but there was one section in the middle of the speech that gave some sense of his policy agenda. Granted, it’s a laundry list, but, as part of my effort to keep you in the loop about our candidates’ actual agendas, here’s the text:

If we reform our tax code, reduce regulations, control spending, modernize our immigration laws and repeal and replace ObamaCare, the American people will create millions of better-paying modern jobs.

If we create a 21st century system of higher education that provides working Americans the chance to acquire the skills they need, that no longer graduates students with mountains of debt and degrees that do not lead to jobs, and that graduates more students from high school ready to work, then our people will be prepared to seize their opportunities in the new economy.

If we remember that family – not government – is the most important institution in society, that all life deserves protection, and that all parents deserve to choose the education that’s right for their children, then we will have a strong people and a strong nation.

And if America accepts the mantle of global leadership, by abandoning this administration’s dangerous concessions to Iran, and its hostility to Israel; by reversing the hollowing out of our military; by giving our men and women in uniform the resources, care and gratitude they deserve; by no longer being passive in the face of Chinese and Russian aggression; and by ending the near total disregard for the erosion of democracy and human rights around the world; then our nation will be safer, the world more stable, and our people more prosperous.

My first takeaway: all stated at the principles level, which is enough to get conservatives nodding along without bickering about the details. My second takeaway: the one phrase there that’s going to cause some dyspepsia—precisely because of its vagueness (and the senator’s track record)—is “modernize our immigration laws.”

Your thoughts?

 

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  1. user_124695 Inactive
    user_124695
    @DavidWilliamson

    Yeah, but the third Hispanic candidate, Ricochet favorite, Senor Bush, has not yet entered the race.

    For me, it’s gonna be a tough choice between the first two.

    • #1
  2. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    He’s right. Our immigration system is broken. The problem is we can’t accept any of the left’s proposals on this, and they are pretty immovable because they smell an electoral bonanza should millions more voters be added to the rolls. I give Rubio kudos for getting this out there up front. There are some who will bludgeon him for trying to do something to fix the system in cooperation with the dems. I bet he won’t make the mistake of trusting the left again.

    • #2
  3. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    The King Prawn:He’s right. Our immigration system is broken. The problem is we can’t accept any of the left’s proposals on this, and they are pretty immovable because they smell an electoral bonanza should millions more voters be added to the rolls. I give Rubio kudos for getting this out there up front. There are some who will bludgeon him for trying to do something to fix the system in cooperation with the dems. I bet he won’t make the mistake of trusting the left again.

    This topic will be a great tell w/r/t Rubio’s savvy. He can say: “Hey, we tried to do it w/ the Dems, but they don’t really want to secure the borders. Border security first, period.”

    Or something similarly non-squishy.

    • #3
  4. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I’m interrupting this thread, with the only justification being that I am interested in Rubio.  As a Romney supporter, I like Rubio. Speaking of Romney :),

    I just heard a jaw-dropping story: Deval Patrick, former Democratic Party governor of Massachusetts and really good friend of Barack Obama, has taken a job with Bain Capital in Boston. You know Bain Capital, the company that, through Romney’s efforts, cost millions of hard-working Americans their jobs.

    • #4
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    You’ll all be relieved, as I was, to learn that Rubio did not dot the “i” in his logo with a heart. That’s a map of the United States.

    However, he left off Hawaii and Alaska and is therefore expected to lose those states, sadly.

    Thank God for “design experts,” says I.

    /calling EJHill

    • #5
  6. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @DougWatt

    I like Rubio. He honors his parents by telling their story. A bartender and a maid, honest labor. He is proud of where he comes from. He honors his country. He is earnest and yet he smiles. He is an optimist and yet he can tell you what this country needs without angst. I have been waiting for him to announce his candidacy. He doesn’t see the office of President as something he is entitled to have he sees the office as an obligation, a duty to preserve what is good about America and to carry what is good forward for his generation, the generations that preceded him, and those generations that will follow his generation.

    • #6
  7. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Western Chauvinist:

    You’ll all be relieved, as I was, to learn that Rubio did not dot the “i” in his logo with a heart. That’s a map of the United States.

    I saw that logo on the screen and was slightly verklempt. Now that I know what it is, I am relieved.

    Thank you for the clarification.

    BTW, I witnessed one of the most bizarre things evah on MSNBC last night; Rachel Maddow was moderately complimentary about Rubio! (Of course she skewered Paul to make the point, but still …)

    • #7
  8. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Oh, I forgot to mention, after the primary is over substance matters not one little bit. We’re crazy enough to care what the candidates want to do in office and what their policy positions are, but in the general it will be a contest of who “feels” right from the tv screen. Since that is the case, I can’t imagine a better choice than Rubio. sHrillary, regardless of the level of botox in her system, just won’t stand a chance standing next to Marco.

    • #8
  9. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    I watched his speech. In spite of his yute, I’m putting him on my short list.

    • #9
  10. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Doug Watt:I like Rubio. He honors his parents by telling their story. A bartender and a maid, honest labor. He is proud of where he comes from. He honors his country. He is earnest and yet he smiles. He is an optimist and yet he can tell you what this country needs without angst. I have been waiting for him to announce his candidacy. He doesn’t see the office of President as something he is entitled to have he sees the office as an obligation, a duty to preserve what is good about America and to carry what is good forward for his generation, the generations that preceded him, and those generations that will follow his generation.

    Another interesting tidbit is that Rubio is the only active politician running in the GOP primary who has gone “all or nothing.” He has completely revoked his opportunity to run for the Senate.

    He’s throwing a Hail Mary and I have to respect that.

    • #10
  11. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    EThompson:

    Another interesting tidbit is that Rubio is the only active politician running in the GOP primary who has gone “all or nothing.” He has completely revoked his opportunity to run for the Senate.

    I like to think of it as actually running. Some think he’s burned his boats, others probably think he’s a bit crazy for this, but I think it just speaks well of his character.

    • #11
  12. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    The King Prawn:

    EThompson:

    Another interesting tidbit is that Rubio is the only active politician running in the GOP primary who has gone “all or nothing.” He has completely revoked his opportunity to run for the Senate.

    I like to think of it as actually running. Some think he’s burned his boats, others probably think he’s a bit crazy for this, but I think it just speaks well of his character.

    I think it also tells us he is a bold, confident, and competitive warrior, KP!

    • #12
  13. user_6236 Member
    user_6236
    @JimChase

    Having a vision is good.  Having that vision based on arguably sound principles, better.  Being able to cast that vision, and articulate it in a manner that demonstrates substance of being, better still.

    We’ll see how it goes.

    • #13
  14. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Here’s a strange thing – I don’t care.  I don’t care who the Republican nominee turns out to be.  No matter who it is, he (or she, sorry Carly, no offense intended) will be vastly better than Hillary, but will not accomplish a single thing on his (or her) policy agenda.  There will be no great reforms to create a 21st Century education system (whatever that means).  Social Security and Medicare will not be eliminated, and probably not even “reformed” very much.  The budget will not balance.  The tax code will not make any sense.  Regulations will still fill enough volumes to overload the capacity of a freight elevator.

    The best we can hope for is that the next President will appoint decent people as judges and to run federal agencies, that he (or she) will not flagrantly abuse the Constitution, and that he (or she) will protect our interests and our allies in conducting foreign policy.  Everyone who promises more than that is just engaged in an exercise of 50 shades of grey.

    • #14
  15. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Larry3435:Here’s a strange thing – I don’t care. I don’t care who the Republican nominee turns out to be.

    You should care about who has the possibility to win the general. The Dems cared in 2008; many of them were concerned about Hillary’s negatives. They got the young/hip/change trend and won two elections with a Marxist candidate. Because their bench is thin, they’ll support HC and re-cycle that tired old “first female president” mantra but they’d throw her over in a NY minute if they could.

    In terms of ideological beliefs, I’m with you here or as my husband put it, “I don’t care who in the GOP runs if they can win. Whomever that may be, it’ll be a helluva lot better than what we’ve suffered through the past 8 years.”

    It’s time to get practical and focus upon demographics. We have long since squandered the luxury of picking and choosing our personal issues.

    • #15
  16. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    EThompson:

    Doug Watt:I like Rubio. He honors his parents by telling their story. A bartender and a maid, honest labor. He is proud of where he comes from. He honors his country. He is earnest and yet he smiles. He is an optimist and yet he can tell you what this country needs without angst. I have been waiting for him to announce his candidacy. He doesn’t see the office of President as something he is entitled to have he sees the office as an obligation, a duty to preserve what is good about America and to carry what is good forward for his generation, the generations that preceded him, and those generations that will follow his generation.

    Another interesting tidbit is that Rubio is the only active politician running in the GOP primary who has gone “all or nothing.” He has completely revoked his opportunity to run for the Senate.

    I’m torn between respecting the ‘Hail May’ pass and risking a GOP Senate seat.If he loses the nomination and the GOP loses the Senate seat – he’s a goat for decades.

    • #16
  17. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @KermitHoffpauir

    The King Prawn:Oh, I forgot to mention, after the primary is over substance matters not one little bit. We’re crazy enough to care what the candidates want to do in office and what their policy positions are, but in the general it will be a contest of who “feels” right from the tv screen. Since that is the case, I can’t imagine a better choice than Rubio. sHrillary, regardless of the level of botox in her system, just won’t stand a chance standing next to Marco.

    BINGO, but I do check track record and policy positions.

    • #17
  18. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @KermitHoffpauir

    David Williamson:Yeah, but the third Hispanic candidate, Ricochet favorite, Senor Bush, has not yet entered the race.

    For me, it’s gonna be a tough choice between the first two.

    Hispanic is not a monolith.  There is a gulf between Cuban and Mexican heritages.

    That being said, Rubio’s family history will speak to a lot of those Hispanic voters with Mexican heritages.

    • #18
  19. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    WI Con:

    EThompson:

    Doug Watt:I like Rubio. He honors his parents by telling their story. A bartender and a maid, honest labor. He is proud of where he comes from. He honors his country. He is earnest and yet he smiles. He is an optimist and yet he can tell you what this country needs without angst. I have been waiting for him to announce his candidacy. He doesn’t see the office of President as something he is entitled to have he sees the office as an obligation, a duty to preserve what is good about America and to carry what is good forward for his generation, the generations that preceded him, and those generations that will follow his generation.

    Another interesting tidbit is that Rubio is the only active politician running in the GOP primary who has gone “all or nothing.” He has completely revoked his opportunity to run for the Senate.

    I’m torn between respecting the ‘Hail May’ pass and risking a GOP Senate seat.If he loses the nomination and the GOP loses the Senate seat – he’s a goat for decades.

    Extremely valid point, but Florida has consistently elected Republicans- governors, congressmen and state legislators. (Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ben Nelson get press, but they’re not real playahs.)

    Since Rubio has announced, there are already three Republicans starting the political process to run for his seat.

    I’m kind of hoping our governor Rick Scott will throw his hat into the ring.

    • #19
  20. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Troy –

    I very much agree with this analysis.  Rubio is a savvy communicator who knows what tones need to be hit in an announcement speech, and he kept his speech focused on very broad themes – the 21st century, the future, etc.

    As to immigration, I am becoming frustrated with conservatives on the ideological purity they are requiring from candidates.  “Either you hold MY exact position that I have decided upon in the last year, and you prove to me you have held it since birth, or you are for blanket amnesty and Mark Levin gets to rip you for an hour on his show” type mentality.

    Rubio participating in the gang of 8 was not smart, but he has done something virtually no politician does – apologized and said he learned his lesson. His current position seems to be that we do border security first, and only after we have proven we can, we start talking about visa overstays and the 12M undocumented.

    That seems like a reasonable, if not downright conservative, plan for dealing with the issue, yes? Seal the border first, then we talk.

    If this holds conservatives back from supporting a candidate with this much talent, then shame on us.  And lets just nominate Ann Coulter and be done with it.

    • #20
  21. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @RobertMcReynolds

    A few of you on here have expressed the notion that it is nearly impossible these days to win general elections on substance, that the general election “will be a contest of who “feels” right from the tv screen.”  I am not convinced this is true.  Sure Obama did a lot to get the zombie vote out there.  He did a lot to garner the Jimmy Fallon vote.  He was able to pull off the “cool” factor that relates to those types of people.  Ask yourself this though, will Hillary be able to get those people to WANT to go to the polls?  Will O’Malley?  Warren?  Obama had something going for him that none of these other folks had and that was he was able to be the first Pop-Culture President.  It is unlikely–very unlikely–that any of the potential Democrats will be able to repeat that.  So those voters don’t show up.  And who are you left with who will be voting?  Perhaps people who care about what the President is going to be doing to the country?  Rubio might have been what the GOP needed in 2012.  I am not convinced that he is the only one who can win 2016.

    • #21
  22. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    The King Prawn:

    EThompson:

    Another interesting tidbit is that Rubio is the only active politician running in the GOP primary who has gone “all or nothing.” He has completely revoked his opportunity to run for the Senate.

    I like to think of it as actually running. Some think he’s burned his boats, others probably think he’s a bit crazy for this, but I think it just speaks well of his character.

    Guys & Gals,

    Let’s be completely honest. Jeb could have been President but his inside the beltway calculations made him wait until only those inside the beltway could give a damn.

    Marco is what it’s about. He’s real, not perfect, but he’s real. I think that is coming through and that is what will appeal. I think the reaction to Jeb is going to be ‘who are you and who cares?’ and that is if Jeb is lucky. Otherwise they will see the name Bush and head for the hills.

    As for Hillary, she will come off as contrived until she finally accidentally shows her true self. Then all is lost for her.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #22
  23. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    @Jim at #22. I think there’s a real possibility Bush won’t win the primary even if he did scare Romney off with his donor base. That was a shame. The lost possibility of a Romney/Rubio ticket in 2016 is just torturing me.

    • #23
  24. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    EThompson:@Jim at #22. I think there’s a real possibility Bush won’t win the primary even if he did scare Romney off with his donor base. That was a shame. The lost possibility of a Romney/Rubio ticket in 2016 is just torturing me.

    You think Mr. Romney has any better chance of winning now than in 2012? How & why?

    • #24
  25. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Titus Techera:

    EThompson:@Jim at #22. I think there’s a real possibility Bush won’t win the primary even if he did scare Romney off with his donor base. That was a shame. The lost possibility of a Romney/Rubio ticket in 2016 is just torturing me.

    You think Mr. Romney has any better chance of winning now than in 2012? How & why?

    Various national polls (which are usually skewed toward the Dems) have indicated definitive voter regret about the 2012 results. Romney is a known entity now; I think he had a legitimate chance in 2016. He recognized this as he had decided to run again but so did Jeb Bush who effectively locked up the important shared donor base early on.

    America is famous for providing second and even third chances; see Richard Nixon.

    • #25
  26. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    EThompson:America is famous for providing second and even third chances; see Richard Nixon.

    You mean, America once elected the loser, in very strange times. It’s really very rare for someone who lost an election to try again!

    But I guess Dems & their Hillary redux might agree with you more readily–she only lost a nomination fight she will not have to redo.

    I cannot believe the GOP would settle for Mr. Romney once more–too many people were unenthusiastic in the first place. The man lost. There is no reason to believe he can do better. I guess you could argue that he’d have a lesser opponent. Or do you think he’d be any better with the electorate? Could he even get conservatives on his side on immigration?

    • #26
  27. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Titus Techera:

    EThompson:America is famous for providing second and even third chances; see Richard Nixon.

    You mean, America once elected the loser, in very strange times. It’s really very rare for someone who lost an election to try again!

    But I guess Dems & their Hillary redux might agree with you more readily–she only lost a nomination fight she will not have to redo.

    I cannot believe the GOP would settle for Mr. Romney once more–too many people were unenthusiastic in the first place. The man lost. There is no reason to believe he can do better. I guess you could argue that he’d have a lesser opponent. Or do you think he’d be any better with the electorate? Could he even get conservatives on his side on immigration?

    “Rare” is the American norm! See: Clinton’s election in 1992 (aided by a third party candidate who rcvd 19% of the vote) and Obama’s in 2008.

    Re: Romney, I’ve already posted my thoughts at #25 . I think it best I try to move on and stop dwelling on what might have been.

    Please don’t encourage me to “fall off the wagon.” :)

    • #27
  28. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Every time I see or hear Rubio, he is speaking to middle class concerns in a disciplined, Reaganesque manner. Not that I find him to be another Reagan, but he always reminds me of how lost our last batch of candidates were as they went to their seemingly daily debates moderated by Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin. I am waiting for candidates to provide their special formalization for the retention of ObamaCare so that I can cross them firmly off my list. If the federal government is allowed to continue to do to healthcare what they have done and continue to do to education and tax policy and law enforcement and federal spending and so on, then voting for the R is a waste of time.

    • #28
  29. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    EThompson:“Rare” is the American norm! See: Clinton’s election in 1992 (aided by a third party candidate who rcvd 19% of the vote) and Obama’s in 2008.

    Well, there’s something to what you say–Lincoln got elected in such a strange situation, so did Wilson. Admittedly, Lincoln worked hard to get himself elected by the strangest of elections, which was the only way, I’d say. Wilson just got lucky, as did Mr. Clinton–they had no hand in the candidacies of TR & Mr. Perot–in fact, such was the catastrophe that TR deserves to be remembered as the high class’s Ross Perot.

    As for Mr. Obama’s election, that’s different. He had what it took to win, & I hope you’ll be able to live with the consequences. The American system & the American people have faults which were revealed in that election, but perhaps might be managed somewhat better come the next.

    Re: Romney, I’ve already posted my thoughts at #25 . I think it best I try to move on and stop dwelling on what might have been.

    Please don’t encourage me to “fall off the wagon.” :)

    Probably the right thing to do. It’s done. I was just surprised–not a lot of people say things like that, at least on Ricochet.

    • #29
  30. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    The American system & the American people have faults which were revealed in that election, but perhaps might be managed somewhat better come the next.

    I think the system is the best in the world but the American people do not live up to their responsibilities to protect and defend it. It’s a hackneyed phrase of course but “freedom isn’t free.” It requires an educated participation by the electorate; it is particularly galling to me that in the 18th and 19th centuries, sans technology or MSM, voters were far more knowledgeable on the issues than they are now.

    • #30
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