Obama vs. Rubio: New Tea Party Star

13 February 2013 |permalink | email article

Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night vowed to lift the economy for the middle class, calling on Congress to seek a higher minimum wage and aggressive action on immigrants, climate and guns. Speaking to a divided Congress, with many Republicans still smarting from his November victory, the president declared, “Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.” Republicans quickly rejected the president’s activist approach, saying it would inevitably translate into higher taxes and an overweening government role, strangling economic growth and deepening the nation’s fiscal hole. Still, in selecting tea party favorite Sen. Mario Rubio, a Cuban-American from Florida to deliver the party’s official rebuff, the GOP implicated acknowledged the damage they had suffered at the polls from their hard line stance on immigration. He took the unprecedented step for the party of speaking in both English and Spanish to reach Latino voters which the party ignored in November. Rubio favors overhauling immigration laws, although he did not mention it on Tuesday. Instead, he complained that Obama’s “solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, spend more, and spend more.” Rubio has since edged away from the conservative movement as he settles in Washington. That left Sen. Rand of Kentucky, also a tea party favorite, to deliver his response to the president who took aim at both parties. He broke with Rubio on one major point— defense cuts. Congress is currently trying to head off the so-called sequestration, which would slash half a trillion dollars from the Pentagon. Republicans want to stop it, but Rand Paul doesn’t. 

Quotable

Right now, Marco is like a paper doll, trying on different outfits of style and substance as the party oohs and aahs. As Nicolle Wallace, former adviser to Sarah Palin, gushed to George Stephanopoulos, “He’s modern. He knows who Tupac is. He is on social media.—Maureen Dowd, in the New York Times about The Rap on Rubio.                                 

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