Review of Marco Rubio Announcement Speech

Yesterday Florida Senator Marco Rubio gave a speech announcing his candidacy for the President. He is the third Republican to announce and also the third candidate who is closely aligned with the Tea Party movement.

It is significant to stop and look at the impact of conservative Americans who formed small groups around the country and made an impact. Less than 7 years ago, after the election of Barack Obama as President, Americans who had not been involved in political activity, decided to get involved.

Marco Rubio was one of the first who rocked the boat of Republican party establishment. His win in the  US Senate race against presumptive nominee Florida Governor Charlie Crist made him the first Tea Party trophy.

All three candidates are viable mainstream candidates. The term mainstream as I use it in this context should not be confused with moderate.  Contrary to what you might hear from some pundits, any of these three candidates are able to capture the votes of mainstream America.

Rubio’s speech was the shortest of the three, lasting just under 20 minutes.  His speech was more of a statement of his belief about the United States as a nation and her place in the world. He repeatedly used words like, “exceptional”, “special”, “dreams”, “aspiration”, “opportunity,” and “America.”

He chose Freedom Tower in Miami as the location to deliver his announcement. The location had symbolic meaning, being known as “Ellis Island of the south”  but even more it had a deeply personal meaning to Rubio as this was the place where his parents, “came here, to the one place on earth where the aspirations of people like them could be more than just dreams.”

He made statements that revealed his approach to the Democrat strategy of class warfare.  In speaking of his parents and their start of a new life in America, he said:

“My father became a bartender. My mother a cashier, a maid and a Kmart stock clerk. They never made it big. But they were successful. Two immigrants with little money or education found stable jobs, owned a home, retired with security and gave all four of their children a life far better than their own. My parents achieved what came to be known as the American Dream.”

Later in his speech he said:

“I am humbled by the realization that America doesn’t owe me anything; but I have a debt to America I must try to repay. This isn’t just the country where I was born; America is the place that changed my family’s history.”

The two key phrases in this two passages are: (1) “They never made it big. But they were successful.” and (2) America doesn’t owe me anything; but I have a debt to America that I must try to repay.

The 2nd phrase carries with it the same theme in the challenge from a young President over half a century ago, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

Nowhere in his speech did he portray working Americans as somehow being victims of the rich.  Nowhere in his speech did he imply that those who were working hard were needing a handout or for that matter, even a hand-up, from the government.

His speech focused on the need of every American to be free to pursue the American dream.  While he did make mention of the tax code, regulation, immigration, and Obamacare, it was not the center of his speech.  He made that point by saying, “This election is not just about what laws we will pass. It is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be.”

He appeared to hold a sincere conviction that it is the answer to our problems as a nation are not found in government policies. He said that “family – not government – is the most important institution in society.”

He brought in his personal faith by quoting from the book of Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 At one point in the speech, Rubio spoke in Spanish quoting what is father drilled into his mind.  Then he translated, “In this country, you will achieve all the things we never could.”

Marco Rubio will attract young voters.  His speech addressed Hillary Clinton and the policies of yesterday. He comes across as completely sincere in his belief in America.  While he did not specifically put it this way, he believes that people in mainstream America do not want to look to the government as their hope.

He did not engage in class warfare. His strategy to combat the foundation of the Democrat playbook is not to engage that debate.  His strategy is to passionately proclaim the American dream. In that sense his speech was Reaganesque and he will attract some who might otherwise never vote for a Republican.

Republicans have had three outstanding candidates announce in the past few days.  All of them earned their seats having to work against the Republican establishment. All of them are highly popular with the people they serve.  All of them a strong and viable candidates.  I look forward to reviewing the announcement speeches of the others.

Finally, I have heard that Hillary Clinton has announced.  I saw a 3 minute political advertisement.  I have heard that she has had some private meetings while on a trip to Iowa.  She allegedly has been spotted along the way but I think that there have been more reports of Elvis sightings than Hillary sightings.

If she ever gives a real speech in front of real people in real events, then maybe I’ll write about that. Until then I am not wasting my time writing about staged, scripted, heavily edited digital media.

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