The term "rising star" is overused in American politics, but it thoroughly applies to Sen. Marco Rubio. The freshman from Florida addressed a packed house at the Reagan Presidential Library in California on Tuesday night, and his performance was exceptional. Not only did he save Nancy Reagan as she took a tumble before the event, he delivered a speech that serves as a blueprint for conservative messaging on the proper role of government and the necessity of entitlement reforms:
The full 23 minutes is worthy of your rapt attention, but if you're pressed for time (or perhaps aren't interested in bromides -- uplifting in nature, but bromides nonetheless -- about Ronald Reagan), I'd commend the following passages to you:
3:00 to 7:15 - A vision for America, and why big government is doomed to fail. "Americans in the 20th century built here -- we built here -- the richest, most prosperous nation in the history of the world. And yet today, we have built for ourselves a government that even the richest and post prosperous nation on the face of the earth can fund."
7:20 to 8:00 - On President Obama's role in rapidly accelerating, but not causing, the unaffordable, destructive growth of the federal government. "The truth is that the only thing this president has done is accelerate policies that were already in place and were doomed to fail...[he's made] the day of reckoning come faster."
13:00 to 14:10 - On the social safety net and the responsible role of government. "We do need a safety net, but it cannot be a way of life. It must be there to help those who have fallen to stand up and try again."
14:15 to 16:30 - On the unsustainability of Social Security and Medicare, and the importance of reforming the system for younger citizens. "My generation must fully accept -- the sooner the better -- that if we want there to be a Social Security and a Medicare when we retire...we must accept and begin to make changes to those programs now, for us."
If Marco Rubio isn't the eventual 2012 Republican nominee's running mate (and there are strong cases to be made on both sides of that question), he absolutely must be showcased in a major way at the Republican National Convention, which happens to be in Florida. Quite simply, Rubio and others like him embody the future of the movement. His vision for America should terrify Democrats because they know instinctively that the message he relayed so eloquently in Simi Valley on Tuesday is one that resonates with a very large majority of American voters when properly articulated by a dynamic messenger.