Rubio went further than what might be expected of a Republican, acknowledging his party is partly responsible for the growth of government: "I know that it is popular in my party to blame the president, the current president. But the truth is the only thing this president has done is accelerate policies that were already in place and were doomed to fail. All he is doing through his policies is making the day of reckoning come faster, but it was coming nonetheless."
And then there is this, which shatters the left's stereotype about the right: "Conservatism is not about leaving people behind. Conservatism is about empowering people to catch up, to give them the tools ... that make it possible for them to access all the hope, all the promise, all the opportunity that America offers. And our programs to help them should reflect that."
If this is not a speech that lays the foundation for a Rubio run for higher office, it is a speech that ought to begin a major transition from costly and ineffective government programs to a renewed empowerment of individuals.
No one, perhaps not even Rubio, can know for certain whether he is "ready" for higher office. President Obama has proven he wasn't ready. Some leaders don't know they can lead until leadership is thrust upon them. The right philosophy is key and the Reagan Library speech proves that Rubio has the most important ingredient of any leader: vision. Read it, be inspired and then consider whether Rubio's tide is rising.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Cal Thomas' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.
Louisiana School System Says Educating Illegal Immigrant Children Will Cost $4.6 Million | Sarah Jean Seman
Joe Biden at DNC Women's Lunch: I Sure Miss That Serial Sexual Assaulter Bob Packwood | Katie Pavlich