Rubio vs. the RINOs

Don’t tell Marco Rubio his primary race for the U.S. senate against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist depends on money or endorsements. Rubio, who finished his term as Florida’s Speaker of the House in 2008, is focused on a much bigger picture: limiting government and thus liberating American entrepreneurship.

The impetus behind his campaign is that same wave of conservative outrage which carried Tea Party protesters to Washington and put Rubio’s race in the national spotlight. His race is about message (adherence to conservative principles), and, as Rubio says, the only amount of money he needs is the money to get that message out.

“I think all politics are about the grassroots. And the question is, do you work with the grassroots or manipulate the grassroots?” Rubio told HUMAN EVENTS in an exclusive interview last week. “Most campaigns try to manipulate the grassroots by raising so much money that they can kind of create false excitement…My campaign’s not based on that.”

Rubio’s race is a textbook example of what’s happening nationally — as the grassroots express their concern with a radical left-wing administration, Republican party leadership will have to back off its initial policy post-election of ‘soften your message.’ A diluted Republican message is the watermark of Rubio’s Republican primary opponent Charlie Crist, the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s anointed candidate in the race. Crist campaigned around Florida supporting President Obama’s “stimulus” spending spree and, after an “environmental summit” last year, proposed his own version of a “cap-and-trade” plan which the state legislature rejected.

“The United States does not need two Democratic parties,” Rubio insists, and, despite the Democrats’ stranglehold in both the House and the Senate, the makeup of Republicans who did get elected proves Rubio’s point. The group of conservatives in the U.S. House — known as the Republican Study Committee — now has 113 members, which means it represents well over half the total GOP (177) members in the House. By contrast, the Democrats’ Congressional Progressive Caucus, which houses left wing favorites like Barney Frank and is the largest Democrat caucus in the House, has only 83 members out of 262 Democrats (including delegates and the resident commissioner) in the House.

“I think next year’s elections, especially in the Republican primaries, are going to be a lot like a political Halloween,” Rubio said. “A lot of people are going to come dressed to the party like conservatives, but in fact, in the real…world, they haven’t been that, not in a principled way.

It’s exactly the kind of race Republican ‘leaders’ like the NRSC (not to mention the chairman of the Republican party in Rubio’s own state) are saying Rubio can’t win, and exactly the reason why Rubio is running — because he sees a disconnect between party leaders and constituents. For example, Rubio says the majority of Americans don’t want to see their government adapting a Western European style invasion into the economy.

“They deserve to have a voice in American politics,” Rubio said. “And that’s what the Republican Party should be. And the road to success for this party is to be that voice for those Americans.”

That’s not the road traveled by Crist, who supported Obama’s stimulus package on the basis that it would sustain jobs. Rubio pointed out that Florida’s unemployment rate is still the highest it’s been since 1975 (10.7% in August, 10.8% in July versus the 11% in 1975). Rubio said the stimulus is like giving sugar or candy bar to a kid — you get that initial rush of energy that is ultimately unsustainable.

“The only enduring legacy of this stimulus will be the deficit it’s left us with,” Rubio said. “I don’t care how much money he raises — he will never convince Florida Republicans that the stimulus package and his embrace of it, and his campaigning in favor of it — hand in hand with the president — was a good thing for Florida, a good thing for their children, or a good thing for our country”

Rubio is frank in his assessment of why Crist went along with the stimulus at the time: Obama was popular.

“I think he supported the stimulus package because Barack Obama was popular at the time, and I think he supported it because he didn’t want to have a budget session in Tallahassee where he had to make difficult decisions — which, quite frankly, is reflective of everything that’s wrong in American politics today,” Rubio said. “We have too many people that just want to be popular.”

But for Rubio, fiscal responsibility and limited government are crucial to a strong America. And Rubio says people are beginning to realize the world is ultimately safer with America as the strongest country.

“[The United Nations is] not going to be the place that secures human freedom and liberty,” Rubio said. “If we think that, we’re out of our minds.”

If the Obama administration’s radical policies result in politicians like Rubio coming to D.C. in 2010, Michelle Obama can once again be proud of her country.