Jimmy Dahroug’s Response
[Click here to follow the full debate thread]
You all raise some great points and I think Christie, Condi, and Bobby Jindal all have promise.
BUT it’s Rubio.
Here are the reasons that guide my thinking:
1. Top Notch Political Athlete
I may not share Rubio’s ideological beliefs, but I recognize his abilities a political athlete. Specifically, Rubio is a dynamic speaker. Don’t discount the importance of this skill – especially in the youtube/internet era.
It was Barack Obama’s dynamic speech at the 2004 Democratic convention that put him on the map for President – before he was even elected to the U.S. Senate. Although Rubio began his campaign for the U.S. Senate as the underdog in polls and funding to Charlie Crist, Rubio’s team harnessed his speaking ability to level the playing field and ultimately force Crist out of the Republican party.
As a Democrat, it’s Rubio’s speaking ability that concerns me most. It seems distant after a term as President, but in the 2006 midterm elections candidates in swing states were begging then-Senator Obama to campaign for them. I hate to admit it, but Rubio has similar appeal. He’s able to speak about his conservative values in a way that can persuade independents and swing state voters.
2. Rubio Shores up Romney’s Weaknesses
Rubio’s almost the exact opposite of Romney. He stands his ground as a pretty consistent conservative who seeks to persuade, rather than pander.
Remember Charlie Crist? Crist had the same knock on him as Romney – a compulsive panderer with little conviction or loyalty. Part of Rubio’s appeal in that race was because he drew such a stark contrast to Crist. Interestingly enough, the same contrast Rubio draws to Romney may be just what the Romney campaign needs.
Yes, experience. While some dismiss Marco Rubio as barely a two-year senator, they forget he was Speaker of the Florida House. Make no mistake, very little can prepare Rubio for the pressure-cooker he’s in for on the national ticket. But the rough-and-tumble of a position like he held in a state as large as Florida prepares Rubio more than his critics realize.
4. Jeb Bush and the Establishment
Shortly after Jeb Bush endorsed Romney, he touted Marco Rubio for the Veep slot. Imagine that, a politician putting his own future ambitions aside (Jeb 2016) for a younger member of his farm team. Sadly, such selflessness is pretty rare in politics, but it’s no surprise here. Jeb has been a mentor, almost a father figure, to Rubio for years.
How does this help Romney? It makes Jeb invested in Romney’s campaign (and a good portion of the party establishment that Jeb brings with him). Instead of sitting on the sidelines waiting for 2016 (as pundits have speculated), Jeb will have reason to use his considerable leverage on party organization and resources to aid the ticket.
Further, both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are the rare politicians who appeal to a good portion of the GOP establishment and the Tea Party. Romney can use the help on both fronts.
5. Florida! Florida! Florida!