TWO WINNERS – AT 10:56 A.M. ET: One has to be impressed by the tone within the Republican Party, coming right after an electoral defeat. The party is looking to the future, not the past, and it is starting to boost its young stars, who will take their rightful place in 2014 and 2016.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida made quite a splash in Iowa.
This was Rubio’s coming out party, his first chance to woo the voters that will make the first determination about who will become the Republican nominee for president four years from now.
By all accounts, he hit a home run.
“I heard a number of people indicate to me that, ‘My gosh, why wasn’t he on the ticket?’ And so that alone indicates to me that he’s a viable potential candidate for 2016,” said Doug Gross, a veteran Republican political operative in Iowa.
Gross pointed to Rubio’s Cuban-American roots, which could have potentially helped the Republican Party attract Latino voters — particularly those in Florida, Rubio’s home state — in the 2012 election, had Rubio been selected to join Romney’s ticket.
But people also “liked his message,” Gross said. “Because his message was not demagoguery in any way. It was very thoughtful and on point and consistent – consistent with Republican philosophy, but also pushed us on things like immigration and education, to think about things in a different way.”
“I have long said that when Marco Rubio speaks, he speaks to my heart in a way that’s, I think, unique,” said Rep. Steve King, who attended the fundraiser after a day spent duck hunting. “And that was true here tonight.”
Even before they heard him speak on Saturday, Iowans were attracted to Rubio. Branstad said the fundraiser generated more than $600,000, a total he said was greater than he had raised before in any single event.
Great. Urgent Agenda had urged that Rubio be put on this year's national ticket. It did not happen, but we suspect the name Marco Rubio will be very prominent in national politics in 2016.
And another bright star is Ted Cruz, a brilliant, highly respected lawyer and legal scholar, just elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas.
Sen.-elect Ted Cruz believes Mitt Romney got a little too close to Barack Obama in the third presidential debate.
“I’m pretty certain Mitt Romney actually French-kissed Barack Obama,” Cruz said in a speech at the Federalist Society’s annual conference Friday.
Cruz said that conservatives failed to make their case to the American people, leaving Romney no choice but to move toward the president. “We didn’t win the argument, we didn’t even make the argument” throughout much of 2012, Cruz said.
But in the first debate, he argued, that changed.
“It was the one time we actually contested ideas, presented two viewpoints and directions for the country,” he said. “And then inevitably, there are these mandarins of politics, who give the voice: ‘Don’t show any contrasts. Don’t rock the boat.’ So by the third debate, I’m pretty certain Mitt Romney actually French-kissed Barack Obama.
“I have no doubt that there is a focus group somewhere of undecided Ohio voters who have been living in a cave for the last 30 years, who decided they liked that,” Cruz continued. “‘Don’t show any disagreement whatsoever with the president. Don’t rock the boat. Just be a nice guy.’”
Cruz said centrist strategies were doomed to fail Republicans, who should instead focus on a simple motto: “Our ideas work. Theirs don’t.”
The former Texas solicitor general and onetime clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist was greeted by a standing ovation when he was introduced.
COMMENT: These guys are the future. Hillary, and all the other potential Democratic presidential candidates, are the past.
November 18, 2012