When Marco Rubio announced on Monday that he is running for president, the press noted a subtle but clear message: Rubio is not Jeb Bush. He is not "the past."
At his announcement in Miami, the Florida senator said he decided to run because he was “inspired by the promise of our future,” adding “Yesterday is over. And we are never going back."
This past-future dichotomy was a refrain Rubio used throughout his speech. “We can’t do that by going back to the leaders and ideas of the past," he remarked, a comment which many in the press took as a not-so-veiled reference to Florida’s favorite son candidate, former Gov. Jeb Bush.
The contrast of past versus future added a nice rhetorical device to his speech, but it’s a bad political approach that will neither win Rubio the nomination nor help the Republicans in 2016.
While I agree Marco Rubio is the future of the GOP and a breath of fresh air on the national scene today, he is not answering the real cry of conservative and independent voters.
Today, Americans — especially Republicans — are not interested in a generational change of leadership in Washington. We all witnessed a generational change in 2008 with Obama's election. Remember “hope and change?" At the time, people bought into Obama’s “change” message. Since then, they have grown wiser.
At the moment, our nation still seems to be on the precipice of crisis. We have never really gotten out of the recession, and a recent spate of retail sales and jobs number have not been very encouraging.
The country faces a massive entitlement shock as tens of millions of baby boomers retire, requiring more Social Security, Medicare, and other aid.
And despite Obama's claims, it looks like we are losing the war on terror. Just look at the rise of the Islamic State and the possibility of jihadist “volunteers” from America returning home to wreak havoc here.
Americans are desperate, not for change as Rubio suggests, but for solutions.
This time they want to elect a problem-solver — someone who is experienced and has a track record of getting the job done. And Americans would prefer to have someone from outside Washington to clean house.
On the Republican side, we have several strong candidates who fulfill that requirement. They are experienced; they are outsiders; they are problem-solvers; and they get things done.
The first person who fits the bill is Jeb Bush.
I've written about this before
. Over his eight years as governor, he had a phenomenal record as a conservative. Jeb is an innovator and a thinker — but he's also a superb chief executive.
This morning I saw a video clip of Jeb being asked about the minimum wage and questioned about the San Francisco businessman who is giving every company employee a minimum salary of $70,000 year.
Jeb could have tossed that question aside and reiterated his opposition to increasing the minimum wage. What he did say was interesting.
First, the minimum wage issue should be handled by the states not by federal mandate. He's right. Washington doesn't fix our problems, they create them.
And then he pointed out that he had a solution. He told the reporter that the earned income tax credit should be used to aid low-income workers, not a mandatory minimum wage increase that will lead to hundreds of thousands of job layoffs across the country.
Typical of Jeb, he didn’t have a just offer a no, he came back with a real solution.
Not far behind Bush, other candidates with a strong suit of cards in their hand include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a proven chief executive, reformer, and election winner.
Then there is Chris Christie. I know he is not the flavor of the month right now, but you have to give the man credit for the tremendous job he has done in New Jersey, an extremely blue state where the Democrats control almost every level of government.
Then of course there is Rick Perry, who had a fantastic record in Texas. He has the best jobs creation record of any governor in the country and is also a solid conservative.
I think Marco Rubio made a strategic error by focusing on the "future" and emphasizing his candidacy as a generational change. He should have focused more on his solutions for what he ails the nation, his own new frontier.
Still, he is a much more complex candidate than that alone, and will, no doubt, contribute to the upcoming debate. At the age of 43, he is also positioning himself well for the future. But for the moment, the country needs a Mr. Fix It, with a proven record of doing just that.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
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