Marco Rubio 2016: The Great Right Hope

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) addresses the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, February 9, 2012.

It’s not even December of 2012, but Marco Rubio is already in Iowa:

And so it begins again.

Thirty-eight months before the next presidential vote is cast, Marco Rubio on Saturday night became the first of the potential 2016 contestants to swoop in to this first caucus state and test the GOP’s new rallying cry to broaden its appeal.

Seven hundred people turned out to see the Florida senator at the annual birthday fundraiser bash for GOP Gov. Terry Branstad. Rubio had the spotlight all to himself — he said he was merely here to help the governor mark his 66th birthday, but no one believed it for a minute.

Rubio sells himself as a fresh face to represent a battered and stale Republican brand, but that sales pitch relies on his biography—not his policy:

Taking a page out of the Democrats’ playbook on Saturday, the Florida senator wove his personal story into direct appeal to the middle class. “Our workers are not making as much as they made in the same jobs 25 years ago,” he said. “My father was a bartender. My mother was a maid at hotel. They were able to provide for us a standard of living. …”

If Rubio actually wanted to take a page out of the Democratic playbook, he might actually consider proposing some of their policies. Instead, he offered pretty much exactly the same thing that Republicans have been delivering for decades: conservative policy 101. For example:

To jump-start the country, he spoke of lower taxes, fewer government regulations on businesses, job training and a stronger nuclear family.

Do less! Not more! Sound familiar? Well:

And in a clear swipe at President Barack Obama’s commitment to raise taxes on the nation’s wealthiest, he said: “The way[s] to turn our economy around is not by making rich people poorer, but make poor people richer.”

But wait, there’s more:

“If America declines, there is nothing to take our place,” he said. “What country is going to serve as an inspiration?”

So, less government, don’t tax the rich, jingoistic American exceptionalism, and the guy’s initials are MR. Are you sure we’re not talking about Mitt Romney here, because this stuff sure sounds familiar. What exactly makes Rubio different? Apparently this:

“Something has to happen,” Branstad said in an interview. “That’s why Marco Rubio is a great choice for our party. America is the land of immigrants and he represents the American dream.”

So I guess Republicans believe that if they nominate a Cuban-American who talks about the need for immigration reform (but doesn’t actually go into any detail about what that would mean), then all their problems are solved and they don’t have change any of their other policies? Because that seems to be exactly the promise Marco Rubio is offering.

Take, for example, his new interview with GQ. Asked how old the Earth is, Rubio babbled about believing people should be able to teach all sorts of different theories about how the Earth came to be. “I’m not a scientist, man,” he said. “I think there are multiple theories out there…it’s one of the great mysteries.”

Asked who his best friend is (aside from his wife) Rubio said Jim DeMint.

So Rubio pushes conservative orthodoxy, won’t take a stand on science, and hearts the leader of Senate right-wingers. But he also talked about how he loves rap music, so he’s still the GOP’s future. And he’s also the guy who defended Mitt Romney’s gifts comments and said he hopes Romney stays involved in GOP politics.

No wonder he’s The Great Right Hope.

Yep, 2016 is already here. At least for Republican governors.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (L) speaks at a campaign rally with Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in Exeter, New Hampshire January 8, 2012.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

Make way, Mitt. The 2016ers are in the house!

The Republican governors gathering for their annual meeting in Las Vegas might be pretending that 2016 isn’t on their mind …

Here in Las Vegas, the whispers of the 2016 campaign — fanned by a contingent of reporters always in search of the next race — were dismissed by some governors who were more eager to talk about policy than politics.

Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio, who briefly explored a presidential bid in 1999, bristled when asked about the possibility of running. He told reporters: “You ever read Scripture? I’m worried about today. I’m not even worried about tomorrow.”

… but you can be damn sure that it is. Look no further than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who suddenly found the time in his schedule to attend a purely political gathering just two weeks after Hurricane Sandy battered his state:

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey held court with admirers as he took his first out-of-state trip since Hurricane Sandy eviscerated his state last month. He brushed aside questions from reporters, but his presence here underscored his eagerness to move beyond any bitterness among Republicans over his effusive praise of Mr. Obama in the days before the election

Also at the meeting: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (who made a splash in announcing Wisconsin would not set up an Obamacare exchange), Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (who defended the idea that the GOP shouldn’t change), and Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (who took aim at Mitt Romney’s gift comments). These guys aren’t the only 2016 prospects—potentials candidates like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum weren’t there. But take two or three of the governors, a couple of candidates from the second list, and then throw in one or two joke candidates like the second coming of Herman Cain and you can already start smelling the popcorn.

Stephen Colbert on White House 2072 (video)

2016presidentialelectionbuzz is already rampingup. But why stop there?

“How is Chelsea Clinton stacking up against Tagg Romney” in 2020, asked Comedy Central’sStephenColbert on his Tuesday night show.

What about 2072, race for the White Orb?

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