With CPAC 2013 in full swing, thoughts inevitably turn to future elections, then inevitably to who will be the next conservative standard-bearer. Two of the more talked about candidates to lead conservatives (and the GOP) out of the wilderness are senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rand Paul (R-KY), especially of late. Therefore, in that spirit, here are the convention speeches from each, in their entirety:
Prez16 provides an analysis and grading of each speech in terms of the implications for the 2016 election.
As a way of introduction, for weeks now, there’s been buzz about a growing divide between the Marco Rubio vs. Rand Paul wing of the Republican party.
Basically, it goes like this.
Rubio is the new voice of old thinking. He stands with neo-conservatives, social conservatives, and traditional economic conservatives.
Meanwhile, Rand is the new voice of new thinking: He’s pushing the GOP toward isolationism, states rights on a host of social issues, and greater civil liberties at the expense of more civil protection.
Well, CPAC’s planners must have liked the contrast, and helpfully, put Rubio and Rand back-to-back on its program today to see whether you like regular fries or curly fries.
Rubio’s fundamental message was that America hasn’t irrevocably changed, that her people still want the things your grandparents and their parents wanted. His message was optimistic, it was broad, sometimes it wasn’t very realistic, but always it was inspiring.
I differ with Rubio in that I think America has become a more liberal country and is now center-left, but if anyone can nudge America toward the center-right again, it might be Rubio.
Rubio isn’t a guy who’s going to stun you with new ideas; he’s a guy who’s going to wow you with the timeless ones.
GRADE = A
That’s the problem with Paul — he talks a very good isolationist game, but is always weak on operationalizing it. He’s against interventionism, except when he’s for it.
The rest of the speech was fairly pedestrian — especially considering it came with such high expectations.
To wit: If you’re a conservative trying to redefine your party’s message, and you get 15 minutes at CPAC, is this really one of your lines?
“What we need to do is to keep more money in the pockets of those who earned it.”
That sounds like the white noise Sean Hannity uses to put himself to sleep every night; not a new message from a transformational figure.
For my money’s worth (and perhaps I’m a bit biased), I’d like to add another name to the mix, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). He’s already shown that he has a firm grasp of constitutional principles, and if this exchange with Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is any indication, his star is definitely on the rise:
All that being said (or watched, as the case may be), it’s important to keep in mind that all three are extremely junior senators (Rubio and Paul serving two years so far, Cruz sworn in just in January, 2013). It is undeniable that all three are rising stars on the right, however, a little more seasoning may be in order before a presidential run (not to mention that all three voices are desperately needed in the Senate. Also, none of the three have ever been executives (governed anything).
I’ve long thought that for this very reason, governors make better presidents than legislators. Setting aside ideology, one only has to look at the current occupant of the White House for a good example. Therefore, I think we should be taking a hard look at governors for 2016. Bobby Jindal, I’m looking at you.
Allahpundit brings up a good point regarding the Ted Cruz – Diane Feinstein exchange shown in the above video. Extended videos of the exchange show Feinstein, with help from Sens. Leahy (D-VT) and Durbin (D-IL) brinign up the Heller decision where the Supreme Court upheld the government’s ability to ban citizens from owning certain types of weapons (fully automatic rifles, for example), as if Cruz was unaware of the decision. On the contrary, Cruz is well aware of Heller, as he drafted the amicus brief in the case and presented oral arguments before the Supreme Court.
No. Rather, it appears as though Cruz is well aware that the gun grabbers well inevitably bring up Heller, so he leads them right there so that he can destroy that argument as well. Watch below: