Drew Cline: Why it has to be Marco Rubio in 2016
Like the country, the Republican Party has found itself at the end of 2015 drifting leaderless through troubled times. It is not sure what it stands for anymore. Too many of its aspiring leaders look only backward for inspiration, while others who attempt to push forward have chosen the wrong path.
Republicans ought to be united and ready for a grand victory in 2016 after seven years of failure from a callow, diffident Democratic President. Instead, they are splintered and confused, easy pickings for demagogues, flatterers and false prophets.
The choice Republicans face in the upcoming presidential primary election is a deeply important one. Republicans will choose a party leader who must, within a few months, accomplish two enormously difficult tasks: 1) unify the party; 2) unify the country. If this candidate succeeds, a third and larger challenge awaits: Lead the country into a new age of prosperity, opportunity and security.
Among the impressive list of Republicans running to be that next leader, only Marco Rubio is prepared right now for this daunting challenge. No one else is ready to unite a divided Republican Party, heal an ailing country, and then guide that country through what are sure to be many tumultuous years ahead.
Uniting the party
There is no better choice for uniting the party than Marco Rubio. He is a full spectrum conservative who has made himself one of the most effective pro-life advocates in the country. He has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 98 percent, yet you will never see Marco Rubio picking fights with other Republicans. He understands that against a united Democratic Party, a divided Republican Party will always lose. The only shrinking of the Republican Party Marco Rubio ever did was to subtract the detestable Charlie Crist from it.
Uniting the country
Forget the current crop of presidential candidates; no Republican anywhere is better than Marco Rubio at communicating the conservative message to independents and Democrats. Disappointingly, other Republicans have sought to enhance their own political prospects by criticizing Rubio for this talent. Do they remember Bob Dole, John Boehner, Mitt Romney, the George Bushes? I thought Republicans were tired of losing political battles simply by being out-argued.
Bill Buckley, paraphrasing James Reston, wrote in 1978, “Men like Roosevelt, Churchill, and de Gaulle… could, by their eloquence, affect events.” We can add Reagan to that list. One day, perhaps Rubio, but not if Republicans swallow the lie that being a great communicator is a liability.
Rubio is more than a great speaker, though. It’s the message, not the eloquence, that makes him so effective. Rubio advocates expanding opportunity for all Americans by initiating an aggressive reform agenda that removes government-imposed obstacles to freedom, opportunity and prosperity. That is exactly the right plan for 2016, and Marco Rubio is the only one who has made opportunity for all Americans the centerpiece of his campaign.
Leading the country
No candidate for President has worked harder to understand the most important issues of the day, domestic and foreign, than Marco Rubio, and it shows. Take Obamacare. While all candidates talk about getting rid of it, Marco Rubio is the only one who has actually damaged it. He led the fight to deny extra subsidies for Obamacare exchanges, and the provision he fought for passed into law. As a result, insurers are pulling out of the exchanges because the administration cannot take money from other programs to prop up the failing exchanges.
Republicans want a leader who will get things done, not just talk. Rubio is that leader. What’s more, he understands where this country needs to go. Domestically, his opportunity agenda is exactly what the country needs. On foreign policy, no one has a more impressive grasp of the facts and the strategy necessary to enhance our security by reclaiming our position as the leader of the free world. Instead of mouthing platitudes, Rubio has done his homework and is fully prepared to lead this country.
Republicans, do not make the huge mistake of confusing executive experience with leadership. Presidents do not manage the federal government the way governors manage state governments. If they did, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter would have been great Presidents. Presidents don’t manage, they lead. Having seen every presidential candidate this year (and having interviewed almost all of them), there is no Republican I would trust more with the presidency than Marco Rubio. No one is better prepared to unite the party, unite the country, and lead the nation in this challenging new century.
Andrew Cline is a communications consultant in Bedford and the former editorial page editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader.