Rubio: Nominating a Governor in 2016 Isn't the Best Idea

Posted: Jan 22, 2015 7:30 AM

You might have noticed that Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) has been sort of stumping for himself lately. That is to say, he has been very, very vocal that the next GOP presidential nominee “should be a governor”.

Here's what he said recently on the Hugh Hewitt Show:

These are strong arguments for why voters should choose a governor, perhaps like Walker, in 2016. Thus, in order for someone like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) – or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) or Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) – to have a chance at winning the nomination, they’ll need to begin crafting persuasive arguments of their own for why giving candidates like Walker the nod would be a mistake. (And let’s face it: Walker’s a candidate).

One way the Florida Senator has sought to do that, it seems, is by emphasizing one quality most governors almost uniformly lack; namely, foreign policy experience. National Journal reports:

In a glimpse of the kind of presidential campaign he'll wage should he run, Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday argued that whoever wins the presidency in 2016 will need to have a strong understanding of foreign policy—and that puts governors at a disadvantage.

"The next president of the United States needs to be someone that has a clear view of what's happening in the world, a clear strategic vision of America's role in it, and a clear tactical plan for how to engage America in global affairs," the Florida senator said to reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington. "And I think for governors, that's going to be a challenge initially because they don't deal with foreign policy on a daily basis."

The country's national security, he said, is the "central obligation of the federal government." It was a subtle dig at his fellow establishment Republicans, two of whom happen to be former governors: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rubio's Florida colleague, former Gov. Jeb Bush, who are each openly considering a 2016 bid. And it set the tone for how Rubio will attempt to frame a presidential campaign.

In effect, Rubio is posing a question: Would you rather nominate someone who has only addressed and solved problems at the state level, or someone who understands, and can articulate, how to protect and defend America’s people and interests at home and abroad? Since the latter, as Rubio says, is the “central obligation of the federal government” – i.e., the president of the United States – he’s hoping voters will slowly come around to see his argument as the better one.

I suspect Rubio may have some difficulty with that one. Still, if he's going to run (and capture) the nomination, it’s an argument he’s going to have to win.