NATIONAL HARBOR, March 4, 2016 — For the second time in as many days, a conservative addressed a standing-room only crowd and won them over. Yesterday it was Ted Cruz; today Marco Rubio did just as well, or even better.
Rubio began his remarks by asking what it means to be a conservative in the 21st century. It can’t be an attitude, he said, it can’t be angry, or loud screaming, or name calling. Neither anger nor fear will solve our problems, he concluded.
What conservatism is all about, he continued, is knowing and applying our principles. He confirmed the fact that our country was founded on our rights coming from God, not laws, and not given by government. Government does not exist to give rights, but to protect them.
All of this should be obvious but he said that both parties have been guilty of abandoning that principle.
In fact, he said, many of the problems we are facing today have been created by the federal government in the first place.
Rubio then moved on to a list of what conservatism believes:
- We embrace the 1st Amendment
- The 2nd Amendment is not just a nice suggestion, it’s a Constitutional right
- Adhere to the 10th Amendment because legitimate government power belongs to the states
- Free enterprise works: capitalism is the only system where you can make poor people richer and you don’t have to make rich people poor
- A strong defense, stand by Israel, and defeat radical Islam
When speaking on defense, he said we need “…a president who will send terrorists where they belong, to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” He received loud applause for this comment.
He finally said that we need to embrace traditional values, not to force values on people, but because they’re ours historically. Our country was founded on God-given rights. Without God, there are no rights.
This is the defining moment of our generation, he said. Each generation before have faced their challenges and left the better country because of it.
“We won’t have a chance if someone who is not a conservative hijacks our movement,” he concluded. He got perhaps his loudest standing ovation, with chanting for this one.
Rubio must have drawn the short straw for interviewers in the Q&A portion. He got Dana Bash from CNN. IN her first question, she mentioned Trump not showing up today, to loud boos from the audience.
Rubio handled it well: “This is the American Conservative Union; it’s usually reserved for conservatives.” The audience cheered loudly in agreement.
Bash kept on the Trump theme until Rubio said, “I’ve been sitting here for five minutes and 2 of 3 questions are about Donald Trump.” The crowd agreed loudly.
Bash didn’t get the hint. She only got off Trump train when she read questions from Twitter. Even then, she kept steering the talk away from issues and back to the Trump vs Rubio theme.
In the end, though, Rubio made his points and he made them well.
Rubio may have done better than Cruz with the same audience but without an audience meter it would be hard to judge. Both of them spoke well of each other in their remarks; both said Trump is no conservative, Rubio perhaps more forcefully.
If there was any daylight between the two on issues as they addressed them, it was impossible to detect.
It’s down to a three-man race even though Kasich won’t consider dropping out until after Ohio. Sooner rather than later conservatives are going to have to decide between Rubio and Cruz as there can be only one president.
Decide we must. This is our election to lose.