Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rubio Delivers GOP Response to State of the Union Address

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was chosen to deliver the Republican response to the president's State of the Union address Tuesday night.  It was a very good choice. Senator Rubio wove his own story into his response and this provided an air of authenticity to his remarks.

You can read the transcript of his speech HERE

The State of the Union address is always a reminder of how unique America is. For much of human history, most people were trapped in stagnant societies, where a tiny minority always stayed on top, and no one else even had a chance.
But America is exceptional because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious, and that everyone everywhere has a God-given right to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.
Like most Americans, for me this ideal is personal. My parents immigrated here in pursuit of the opportunity to improve their life and give their children the chance at an even better one. They made it to the middle class, my dad working as a bartender and my mother as a cashier and a maid. I didn’t inherit any money from them. But I inherited something far better – the real opportunity to accomplish my dreams.
Rubio is Cuban-American and has lived the American Dream.  He is out front on big issues, such as immigration reform.  A real threat to Democrats, he is regularly criticized by them in social media.  Some in the Republican party criticize his stance on some issues, so this seems to prove he is a common sense, realistic problem solver.

I confess, I am a supporter of the man.  I had the opportunity to hear him speak in person last summer and his story is both compelling and inspiring.  Most importantly, he is a happy warrior.  There is no problem with tone or delivery with him.

During his response, obviously he was nervous.  It's a tough gig, this response to the sitting president, after a speech filled with theatre and visual props.  The president's supporters used the State of the Union speech this year to dot the audience with victims of gun violence to support his gun control agenda, as well as a few illegal immigrants to poke a finger in the eye of those supporting real immigration reform.  

Rubio rightly accused the president of being obsessed with raising taxes.  Democrats were appalled at the language but it is the truth - think about the fact that since the days of his campaign, President Obama's non-stop rhetoric of class warfare and punishing success with raising taxes on "the rich" cannot not be denied.  

Economic growth is the best way to help the middle class.  Unfortunately, our economy actually shrank during the last three months of 2012.But if we can get the economy to grow at just 4 percent a year, it would create millions of middle class jobs. And it could reduce our deficits by almost $4 trillion dollars over the next decade.
Tax increases can’t do this. Raising taxes won’t create private sector jobs. And there’s no realistic tax increase that could lower our deficits by almost $4 trillion. That’s why I hope the President will abandon his obsession with raising taxes and instead work with us to achieve real growth in our economy.
Rubio boldly criticized the president for his ugly rhetoric towards Republicans opposing his agenda, whether it is more regulations to strangle business growth and productivity as a sop to special interests, or the use of straw men to criticize opposition to ever growing out of control spending.  Rubio rightfully stated that Republicans do not want dirty air and water or to force your grandparents to eat cat food due to Medicare cuts.  How sad that Republicans actually have to make that argument to counter this very partisan, arrogant president.

Rubio on immigration reform:

We can also help our economy grow if we have a legal immigration system that allows us to attract and assimilate the world’s best and brightest. We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally. But first, we must follow through on the broken promises of the past to secure our borders and enforce our laws.
Hardly radical words there, right?

Among his remarks on education reforms needed, he spoke of school choice:

We need to give all parents, especially the parents of children with special needs, the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice.
On the floundering economic recovery, Rubio said:

The President loves to blame the debt on President Bush. But President Obama created more debt in four years than his predecessor did in eight.
The real cause of our debt is that our government has been spending 1 trillion dollars more than it takes in every year. That’s why we need a balanced budget amendment.

Rubio's strength is that he speaks from experience on the big reforms needed today.  He speaks of his parents and their use of Medicare.  He speaks of his parent's journey as legal immigrants, he speaks of student debt from financing higher education and the need for affordable solutions.  He speaks as a parent on the need for reigning in runaway federal spending.  Most of all he does it in a calm and optimistic voice.

There was an awkward moment when he reached for a bottle of water to ease his dry throat. His staff apparently failed to place it so that the gesture would be a smooth one and that brought about much snark on social media.  One Democrat supporting media type even truthfully mentioned that Democrats were thankful for that gesture to mock, as Rubio was delivering a powerful message, quite well.  No doubt it will be a sketch on Saturday Night Live soon.  

Marco Rubio is a humble man, though, and took the opportunity to poke a little fun at himself.  Unlike the thin-skinned Obama, Rubio went with humor and tweeted out a photo of the bottle of water on Twitter after the speech.  Good for him.

Good for Republican leadership on recognizing the strengths of Senator Rubio and supporting him as the voice of the Republican party.

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