And My Candidate Is... Marco Rubio

I've explained why I think Donald Trump would be a catastrophe.

I've explained why I think Ted Cruz would be a mistake.

I do not fancy myself important enough to issue "endorsements" (or to have it noticed if I did), but a reader did ask me, "Then WHO????" I've decided to answer by way of a personal * endorsement anyway.

*This is a personal endorsement, and should not be confused as an official view of either of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations with which I am affiliated. 

I endorse Senator Marco Rubio.

His bona fides as a conservative leader are beyond impressive.

Despite his youthful appearance, his political leadership experience exceeds that of his rivals.

He is easily the most articulate promoter of conservative principles we've seen in thirty years.

And, if nominated, he will be elected.

I say all this knowing full well the usual criticisms of Senator Rubio. I find none of them compelling.

Marco is the "Establishment" guy. If so, I'd like to join this "establishment." We should pinch ourselves if, at long last, the imagined backroom cigar-smoking cabal has given us a Marco Rubio instead of a John McCain or Mitt Romney. Yet, for all that, it isn't really true: Marco is a person who openly defied the so-called "Establishment" when they told him not to run for U.S. Senate. He's done it again by running for President alongside his friend and mentor, Jeb Bush.

Marco worked with Chuck Schumer on the "Gang of 8" immigration bill. Yes, and he didn't support the final product. Next question.

Marco is for "amnesty." Marco Rubio supports the legalization (not necessarily citizenship) of law-abiding illegal immigrants who meet a number of qualifications. I believe this to be to his credit. The easiest thing for Senator Rubio to do after the Gang of 8 debacle was to stick his finger in the air, assess which way the conservative winds were blowing, and renounce his support for any kind of legalization. That's exactly what Senator Cruz has recently done, to my dismay ("I do not intend to support legalization."). But Marco Rubio has consistently and straightforwardly told us that, while strongly in favor of border security, he is against a mass deportation of law-abiding people and that they must be brought out of the shadows to become legal participants in our society. This is not only a humane position, it is the rational position.

I have watched Senator Rubio in many different contexts: long-form speeches, 30-second cable interview soundbites, debates, stump speeches, Q&A sessions, etc. I have come to the conclusion that he cannot be stumped. He is never at a loss for words. And the answers that roll off of his tongue are typically brilliant. His only embarrassing moment ever captured on camera was taking a drink of water in the middle of speaking on national television. His knowledge of public policy is encyclopedic. His awareness of foreign policy challenges is simply unmatched. He is a once-in-a-generation political talent. A prodigy.

Too many conservative politicians, including Senator Cruz, play exclusively to the "base." Marco can throw red meat, but he has the all-too-unique ability to communicate and persuade people on the outside. He does not just preach to the choir; he makes the choir loft bigger.

We live in a celebrity saturated culture. Marco Rubio is approachable, gracious, good-natured, likable, and (yes) handsome. It is not to our credit that so much rides on "image" in our political process, but it is reality. And the truth is that with Marco Rubio we have the best of two worlds: A prime-time-ready, culturally savvy person whose conservative convictions are marrow-deep. 

The age-old Democrat playbook fails at every turn against Senator Rubio as the nominee. He is not old, white, angry, rich, or privileged. He is young, Cuban, joyful, of modest means and humble beginnings. For his age and station in life, he is unusually earnest about his faith and his family, as well as protecting your faith and your family. He exudes gratefulness for the opportunities he's been given, and his decision to campaign on the themes of freedom and opportunity is a winning general election message.

Given the full political package Senator Marco Rubio offers, I believe Republicans shouldn't look any further. I wholeheartedly endorse him, and urge primary voters to give him your support.

Brian Mattson