Dubbed The New Voice of the GOP, Will Marco Rubio’s Vision Resonate with Millennials?
Sure, nobody could forget the sip of water heard 'round the world, but does anybody remember what Rubio actually said in his State of the Union response? Since Rubio has been called the "Republican savior" and "the new voice of the GOP," lets recap his vision of what he and his party would like to address going forward.
In a nutshell, Marco Rubio said:
1. Climate change is out of the government's control--"When we point out that no matter how many job-killing laws we pass, our government can’t control the weather, he accuses us of wanting dirty water and dirty air."
2. The government is to blame for the housing crisis (a point which Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has already refuted)--"a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies."
3. Part of what makes America special is that "we" see every life at every stage as precious (a brief but pointed assertion of the GOP's anti-choice stance)--"But America is exceptional, because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious..."
4. Limiting the second amendment is not the way to curb gun violence but I have no suggestions on how we should curb gun violence--"We must effectively deal with the rise of violence in our country. But unconstitutionally undermining the Second Amendment rights of law- abiding Americans is not the way to do it."
Rubio also tried to connect with students, who supported Obama in high numbers in the last two elections. When talking about college opportunities, Rubio said that he graduated from college with $100,000 in debt that he only recently repaid—similar to statements Obama has made about his own college debt. But Rubio will need more than rhetoric to convince students he's serious about reducing their debt burdens; he recently voted to stall legislation to keep student loan interest rates low.
Rubio also gave the first response to a State of the Union address in both English and Spanish. A pre-recorded version of the speech in Spanish aired on Spanish news networks. While this isn't the first time a speech was given in both English and Spanish, it is the first time it was spread across the airwaves by the same politician. Many conservatives see Rubio as central to an effort to connect with Latino voters, who proved their mettle as a voting bloc in the last election.
But even Univision, which aired one of the pre-recorded speeches in Spanish, zeroed in on the water bottle, calling it "the sip that drowned Rubio's response." They even asked him about it again the next morning when Rubio was interviewed to restate his views on Obama's policies. Rubio was asked about immigration reform and gun control, but he didn't specify any plan of action on those issues.
If Rubio is "the new voice of the GOP," it's not a voice most young Americans will strain to listen to.
Dahlia Grossman-Heinze is a reporter-blogger for Campus Progress. Follow her on Twitter @salvadordahlia.
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