New Boston Post | February 9, 2016, 10:22 EST
Almost every American journalist covering the 2016 presidential campaign will vote in this election. And, by now, almost all have decided whom they will support. Journalists at other new outlets won’t tell you where they stand. I will. And while there is no consensus here in the NewBostonPost newsroom, I am proud personally to support Florida senator Marco Rubio and to have contributed to his campaign.
Why am I for Rubio? It’s simple. He is the only candidate in the race with a positive, conservative vision for America, as well as the leadership skills necessary to unite our country and set it back on course.
Are there more “experienced” people in the field? Sure. Ohio governor John Kasich, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and New Jersey governor Chris Christie all have more executive experience than Rubio. All three would make good presidents. Should any of them ultimately receive the nomination, I will support the ticket enthusiastically. But they have not yet earned my vote. Why? Because although each is bright and experienced, and although each would surely make a good steward of our nation, a great president does not simply “run” the country – a great president leads the people. And contrary to what these governors would have people believe, presidential elections are not just about resumes. (After all, Hillary Clinton is bright and experienced, too. But I am certainly not voting for her.) . No, presidential elections are not just about experience. They are mostly about ideology, values, and the ability to inspire.
After eight years of Barack Obama, Americans need not just a practical leader who can manage the government and effect incremental change. America needs someone who can put forward a bold reform agenda, re-ignite the American Dream, and serve as democracy’s ambassador to the world. America needs a president who can speak for America – not just for the Americans who elected him or for the patrician class, but for all Americans.
The fact that Bush is the wealthy scion of a political dynasty, while not his fault, casts doubt on his ability to speak for the working class in the mind of many voters. And his reputation as “a fixer” casts doubt on his desire to use public policy and the bully pulpit to achieve fundamental conservative change. Perhaps most importantly, Bush is simply too dull to inspire voters and win the general election. Dull managers might make effective leaders. But not if they can’t get elected.
Kasich, unfortunately, suffers from the same problem — he is just too dull to sell conservatism to the American people. And he is, perhaps, too dull to beat Hillary Clinton.
Christie, of course, is anything but dull, but he is regarded as a bully and as the type of leader who – at the very least – created the conditions in which his team thought that “bridge-gate” would be something of which he would approve. And Christie, who personally donated to Planned Parenthood and embraced President Obama in the days leading up to the November 2012 election, is unreliably conservative, to say the least.
Texas senator Ted Cruz, on the other hand, is a trustworthy conservative. But, unfortunately, he is also a divisive and negative force who is unable to work even with those who share his conservative philosophy — to say nothing of those with whom he disagrees.
Rubio, on the other hand, is well-liked by colleagues and has shown the ability to compromise. As much as his participation in the Gang of Eight has been his Achilles heel in the primary season, Rubio’s strong commitment to securing America’s borders combined with his compassionate approach to dealing with those already here (which, by the way, is not the same thing as “amnesty”) will be regarded in the general election as an asset. (And of all the candidates in the race, only Rubio has the ability to actually do something to stop illegal immigration without alienating Latinos in the process.)
Not insignificantly, Rubio (unlike Cruz) is personally optimistic. (Ironically, it was Jeb Bush who said earlier in the campaign that he wanted to run “joyfully.” And yet the Bush campaign has been anything but. Only Rubio has been both consistently conservative and genuinely joyful in this race.) . As such, only Rubio has the ability to sell ideological conservatism to the unconverted. The child of working class immigrants, fluent in Spanish, and filled with gratitude for America’s many blessings, Rubio has the ability to appeal to a broader audience and bring newcomers into the conservative fold.
Rubio critics counter that he is a conservative Obama – a first term senator without executive experience who offers nothing but lofty rhetoric. But as a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and a United States senator now for more than five years, Rubio runs with far more political experience than Obama had when he first sought the presidency.
Moreover, although conservatives regard Obama as an abysmal failure, the president has, in fact, been wildly successful in achieving his liberal objectives. Obamacare, Common Core, blanket executive amnesty, America’s retreat from the world stage: these may be policy failures to conservatives, but they are revolutionary triumphs to Saul Alinsky radicals.
Even the things that conservatives view as examples of incompetence – Benghazi, for example — are the result not of ineptitude but of a fundamentally flawed world view (in the case of Benghazi, the view that radical Islamic terrorism is a problem for the criminal justice system, rather than for our foreign policy and defense apparatus.)
The point is this: Barack Obama may not have had the managerial experience of a governor (like, for example, Jimmy Carter), but he had the ideological vision to begin the process of fundamentally transforming America. What America needs now, after eight years of ideological liberalism, is more than just a steady hand. America needs a president with the ideological vision to put America back on the right course.
So, what will a Rubio presidency look like?
A Rubio presidency will reassert American leadership in the world. As the child of immigrants, Rubio at his core understands that this country is an exceptional nation that must lead in a world inclined to descend into chaos.
A Rubio presidency will reinvigorate the American Dream. He will not only serve as an inspirational example of every parents aspirations, he will promote a public policy that frees small business from burdensome regulations and unleashes the power of the American economy.
A Rubio presidency will reaffirm traditional American values. But it will do so in a way that is inclusive and compassionate.
In short, Marco Rubio will unite the party and the country, while making America once again a beacon of hope unto the world. To be sure, my candidate is not perfect. Admittedly, I wish that he were a tad more gray and perhaps a tad more experienced. If I could create a perfect candidate, I might meld John Kasich’s resume (with executive and legislative experience) with Rubio’s more consistent conservative philosophy, inspiring personal story, and larger vision for America. Unfortunately, I can only choose one. So I choose Rubio. But a Rubio-Kasich ticket sure sounds good to me.