Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been selected to give the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address next Tuesday night. (I wonder how big the audience will be in New Orleans - that’s Mardi Gras night!)
Rubio is one of the rising young stars in the Republican Party and possesses the political characteristics to attract groups the republicans failed to attract in the presidential election – younger voters, female voters and Hispanic voters. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called Rubio “one of our party’s most dynamic and inspiring leaders.” Rubio is already considered a potent candidate for 2016.
It was announced that Rubio will deliver the Republican response in both English and Spanish. Details are still being worked out to present the response in English and in Spanish on the Spanish-speaking networks. Are you okay with that?
Many conservatives in the Republican Party have denounced catering to the Hispanic community by speaking Spanish and the mantra of this group of republicans has been, “this is America - speak English.” But since Rubio projects a new light on the party, will there be criticism of Rubio for ‘catering’ to Hispanics? Imagine how President Obama would be criticized if he planned to deliver an important speech in Spanish?
I applaud the party for selecting Senator Rubio to deliver the republican response and for supporting the response in English and Spanish. The post-mortem on the Republican Party following the devastating loss to Obama in November continues to manifest clear changes in the party’s direction. High-profile republicans like La. Gov. Bobby Jindal begun a quest for a new image for the party. Jindal recently said at a republican gathering in North Carolina, “We have to stop being the stupid party.”
It’s fair to wonder if the changes in the party’s direction come from the heart of the party or from a mathematical desire to attract more voters. If I were a democratic strategist I would promote the idea that if the Republican Party thought this new direction was motivated by ‘doing the right thing’ for people, then why wasn’t this the attitude of the party before the last election?
American voters tend to have amnesia, and if the Republican Party continues to morph into a party of inclusion, voters will forget why and embrace the fact that the party has changed. A lot can happen between now and the 2016 election, but if the Republican Party puts together a young, energetic ticket, Hillary Clinton could be perceived as an older and long-time member of the Washington establishment – an easy negative to prey on during a campaign.
I challenge those who will not criticize Rubio for giving the Republican response to the State of the Union address in Spanish on Spanish-speaking networks. Honestly, ask yourself, if you would be calling radio talk shows declaring that President Obama is ‘un-American’ and catering to Hispanic voters by giving a speech in Spanish.
Let’s work together - and within ourselves to rid America of the blatant political hypocrisy that has become entrenched in today’s political debates.