The New Republic on Rubio

Jillian Bandes
|
Posted: Feb 23, 2010 10:36 AM
If you're not game for being called "the crackpot right," you probably shouldn't click through to John Judis' assessment of Marco Rubio at CPAC -- but Judis provides some insightful analysis into the Florida Speaker, and in the end, is very affectionate.

Judis insists that Rubio hasn't taken a definitive stand on important issues such as climate change or stimulus funding, but agrees that Rubio has done a great job appearing to be definitive on those issues. I happen to believe Rubio is definitive on those issues (maybe it has something to do with me not being a crackpot), but as it pertains here, that doesn't matter; it's hard to win over audiences on the other side at a highly politicized event like CPAC, and Rubio has done it. The fact that he has done it, while Romney or Gingrich rely so heavily on partisanship, an impressive feat for such a young politician.

My only beef with Judis' argument is how uncharitable he is towards the way Rubio maintains this appearance -- Judis says Rubio has managed his appearances successfully because of his immigrant background. It's true that Rubio's background is compelling. But in the world of John Judis, if you're raised with a "silver or even stainless steel spoon" your conservatism isn't legit. A serious critic wouldn't write off CPAC that easily.