Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida. So, who that state's elected officials are interests me. Of course, we all know of Florida's inordinate importance in Presidential electoral politics (remember good ole 2000?). Moreover, Florida has long been the tail that wags the dog of U.S. Cuba policy.
I am also a life-long Democrat, a consistent critic of the Cuban regime who nonetheless favors "principled engagement" with it, and a skeptic who, I'll admit it, rolls his eyes and cringes when he hears the following words:
"Americans believe with all their heart -- the vast majority of them, and the vast majority of Floridians -- that the United States of America is simply the greatest nation in all of human history. A place without equal in the history of all mankind."
So, it goes without saying that if I still lived in Florida, I would NOT have voted for its new senator elect, Marco Rubio (Herald story here and Human Events here). Still, whatever you think about this young, rising star of the tea party movement and Republican Party, El Yuma advises you to do three things now:
1) Pay attention to him as we move forward (this tea-party insurgent garnered a majority (55%) of the Latino vote in Florida - much more than went to the Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek (21%). See a breakdown of the data for key races at the Pew Hispanic Center's just released report, "The Latino Vote in the 2010 Elections"),
2) Do not underestimate him or the potential of his wide appeal to American voters outside of the Cuban-American community and outside of the state of Florida, and
3) Watch his 15 minute acceptance speech upon his Senate victory last night in Coral Gables.
He speaks about his exile/immigrant family history as a "true American story" quite reminiscnet of another young, son-of-immigrants, "ethnic" politician named... Barack Obama. Also, like Obama, he speaks with conviction and class about his Christian faith, his young family and his Cuban exile forebarers, and his intention to bring change to Washington, D.C. Finally, last night's tea party/Republican wave brought some sorely needed color, ethnic, and gender diversity to the GOP that is sure to strengthen their appeal as we approach 2012.
Here is Rubio's speech taken from Cafe Fuerte. Also, Babalu Blog, a very early and consistent supporter of the Rubio candidacy, has a number of interesting posts up about Rubio and his appeal (here, here - for a brief but powerful speech from 2008 introducing... Obama at CANF, and here). As Aticus Finch said to Scout, "You can't know a man, until you get inside his skin and walk around a while." So, love him or hate him, El Yuma invites you to get to know Rubio. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of him in the future.
Posted by El Yuma @ 5:34 PM