I would mount a spirited counter-argument if I had one, but this sounds eminently plausible:
The battle for the Republican presidential nomination is just heating up. But the choice of running mate is as good as settled, at least if the Beltway buzz is to be believed. Many party insiders feel that the attractions of Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) for the second spot on the ticket are irresistible. “Right now, he is head and shoulders above everybody else,” Florida-based GOP strategist Rick Wilson told The Hill. (Wilson supported Rubio during his 2010 Senate bid, but did not work for the campaign.)
Why Rubio? Let's count the reasons:
Rubio is a gifted orator. The narrative of his life, rising as the son of hardworking immigrants, resonates widely. Superficially — but importantly — he is telegenic, young, has a discernible sense of humor and a taste in music that extends to rap and hip-hop. “He has the quality of a young, suburban father,” conservative commentator and National Review blogger Reihan Salam told The Hill. “There are many ways in which he appears very ‘normal.’”
The senator’s mainstream appeal has led to him becoming a talking point far beyond the usual Washington-centric forums. His name popped up out of the blue earlier this month on the popular podcast by sports journalist Bill Simmons, when a guest abruptly announced, “Rubio is a rock-solid lock [for a vice-presidential nomination]. You can take that to Vegas. He’s 1-5.” Rubio’s ethnicity is, and will continue to be, a major focus. For a party that has struggled to win minority support — and is particularly concerned about its failure to gain traction with the fast-growing Hispanic population — Rubio has a potent appeal.
Three years ago, Sarah Palin came out of nowhere and was an instant game-changer. If Rubio's the pick next year, the foregoneness of that conclusion would be a dramatic departure from 2008's stunner. Sure, I'll cop to having beaten the Marco drum a few times in recent weeks -- but in my own defense, it's a struggle not to. The guy is a natural talent, he's an extraordinary communicator, he appeals to certain demographics that the GOP has struggled to win historically (youth and Latinos), he hails from a critical battleground state, he has a compelling family narrative, and he's a committed, principled conservative. Hell, rather than list the reasons why Rubio could be an excellent choice for the eventual Republican nominee, it might be easier to list the possible objections to his selection:
(1) If the worst comes to pass, he simply isn't ready to be president. Would a young, less-than-half-term Senator really be prepared to take the helm of the US government if events force that reality? He seems to have a good head on his shoulders, but does he know anything about foreign policy or national security? Well, for starters, he's on the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees, and Marc Thiessen is quite impressed with his grasp of America's role in the world, our allies, and our enemies.
(2) After graduating from law school, he's essentially been a career legislative politician. I can hear it now: "One inexperienced, charismatic, incomplete-term Senator who'd never held a real job has all but ruined the country, so why would Republicans give us another?" First of all, even though Barack Obama's inexperience and swollen self-regard have certainly contributed to the mess we're in, his fundamental handicap is his ideology. Marco Rubio has the right ideas, which is more than half the battle. Also, Rubio would be the GOP's number two standard-bearer this time around, and would likely run with a presidential nominee with extensive chief executive experience. Obama, of course, was at the top of his ticket. That said, the critique that Rubio has never run anything and has little private sector experience is a fair one.
(3) Republicans would lose a popular Senator in an important state. True, but only if the GOP ticket wins. And if that's the case, it's almost assured that the Senate would have switched hands anyway. Plus, if people are worried about Florida specifically, Rubio's successor would be selected by conservative Governor Rick Scott, and would serve at least until 2014.
Alright, I must be missing some glaring drawbacks here. Tell me where I'm wrong, or why I'm drinking too much of the Marco Kool Aid. Before you do so, you might want to (re)-watch this:
Finally, whatever you do, please, please don't go all birther on me. I've endured enough of that nonsense for a lifetime. But if you're going to ignore my warning and insist on going down that path, at least have the decency to let us know how the weather is in crazy town these days. I hear it's pretty much always dark.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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