Marco Rubio's speech was like a can of red bull to wake up an early morning crowd at CPAC. It had movie-star delivery, down-to-earth jokes, and played up his immigrant upbringing.
"For many of us who were born and raised in this country, like me, it is sometimes easy to forget how special this country really is. But I was raised by exiles — people who clearly understand how different America is from the rest of the world. They taught me that my whole life," he said, towards the end of his twenty minute address.
Perhaps his parents also told him that a clear, direct message with plainly outlined points is the best way to win over an audience. Rubio hit on about a dozen different items, most having to do with fiscal responsibility.
"Jobs are not created by the government," he said, and then laid out his tax proposals; he wants to reform the tax code, and reduce individual tax rates, eliminate double taxation, and lower the corporate tax rate. He made a push for home-grown energy innovation, reducing the national debt, keeping government out of health care, and maintaining a hard line on national security. He briefly touched on his pro-life beliefs.
These are all fairly mainstream conservative ideas, but Rubio's combination of youthful enthusiasm and homegrown candor added another element of possibility, and allowed for a deep connection with several hundred young audience members.
What needed to be reformed in government was best illustrated by the recent D.C. snowstorm, he said.
"Congress couldn't meet to vote on bills. The reguatory agencies couldn't meet to set any regulations either. And the President couldn't find anywhere to set up a teleprompter to announce new programs," he said. "Now that I'm thinking about it, the blizzard may be the best thing to happen to the American economy in the past 12 months."
Marco Rubio may be the best thing to happen to CPAC.