If you haven’t seen Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential announcement speech from Miami yesterday, we’ve got it just below.
That speech is a breath of fresh air. It’s a brilliant speech even though Rubio stepped on himself a couple of times giving it – something he doesn’t often do.
What you’ll notice watching the speech, beyond the biographical story he tells that you’ve heard several times if you’ve followed Rubio since his election to the Senate in 2010, is its focus on the contrast between the future and the past. A few excerpts…
“My parents achieved what came to be known as the American Dream. But now, too many Americans are starting to doubt whether achieving that dream is still possible: Hard working families living paycheck to paycheck, one unexpected expense away from disaster. Young Americans, unable to start a career, a business or a family, because they owe thousands in student loans for degrees that did not lead to jobs. And small business owners, left to struggle under the weight of more taxes, more regulations and more government. Why is this happening in a country that for over two centuries has been defined by equality of opportunity? Because while our people and economy are pushing the boundaries of the 21st century, too many of our leaders and their ideas are stuck in the twentieth century…”
“At the turn of the 19th century, a generation of Americans harnessed the power of the Industrial Age and transformed this country into the leading economy in the world. And the 20th century became the American Century. Now, the time has come for our generation to lead the way toward a new American Century…”
“This election is not just about what laws we will pass. It is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be…”
“Yesterday is over, and we are never going back. We Americans are proud of our history, but our country has always been about the future. Before us now is the opportunity to author the greatest chapter yet in the amazing story of America. We can’t do that by going back to the leaders and ideas of the past. We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them.”
Rubio attacked the higher education system which he says is outdated – and of course the people who work in that system are one of the most prominent Democrat constituencies. He attacked the tax system and Obamacare, which are Democrat-dominated institutions.
And then he took a poke at Hillary Clinton, calling her a leader from yesterday – and repeating “yesterday” four times while referencing her presidential announcement the day before.
Rubio’s speech wasn’t just an attempt to position himself as the future, something he would obviously do as a presidential candidate in his early 40’s running against, ultimately one presumes, a tired-looking woman in her late 60’s.
Instead, he touched on a far larger point – namely, that Republicans need to position themselves as the party of the Information Age, sweeping aside as much of our outdated and obsolete governmental structure as possible and allow for a redesign of American governance to meet the new age. That means an end to public employee pensions which are unsustainable, it means school choice, it means fewer restrictions like minimum wage and Obamacare on the freedom to contract, it means an end to union dominance and it means far more entrepreneurs and much less corporate hegemony in the economy.
Uber and Sidecar, for example, instead of unionized taxi companies, if the market wants that. Group health insurance through voluntary and benevolent organizations instead of through employment, if the market wants that.
The GOP needs to present solutions to 21st century problems, not pretending like it’s 1933 all over again.
Which brings us to Ed Schultz. The clownish MSNBC host took to his webcam to respond to Rubio, and gave us a perfect example of the Democrat formulation of what 21st century policy ought to look like…
Give me a minute: Rubio takes shots at Hillary Clinton.
Posted by The Ed Schultz Show on Monday, April 13, 2015
So Schultz’ answer to Rubio and the 21st century is that a government-mandated minimum wage increase is “the future.” That continued pensions for public employees is “the future.” That expanding Social Security benefits, and therefore borrowing more money from China to finance them, is “the future.” That bolstering the current higher education system we all know is overpriced and growingly obsolete by forgiving student debt and throwing more tax dollars at it is “the future.” That government-dictated and mandated medicine is “the future.”
None of those things are the future. We know this, because it’s obvious they’re unsustainable in the present. You don’t have to be a Republican to see that.
This contrast is becoming one of the central differences between what Republicans ought to be and what Democrats insist on being. In a bit of irony, Democrats might actually be the new conservatives in a sense; they’re desperate to preserve the governmental institutions they created and the interest-group politics that flow from them despite the fact poll after poll shows the American people are no longer satisfied with the performance of those institutions.
Rubio – and some of the other younger Republicans either in or soon to be in the 2016 race – must recast the GOP as the party willing to rethink and reform those institutions, or in some cases replace or even remove some of them in order to bring the public sector into the Information Age. Yesterday’s speech was a good start down that road for the Florida senator, particularly if aged blowhards like Schultz provide the primary criticism of his message.