February 13, 2013

Suddenly, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is everywhere. His drink of water is all over Twitter.

He’s on the full array of the network TV morning shows. On Fox:

There are few politicians as relaxed and effective in explaining his views. (The good humor certainly helps.) When he attacks (“the government can’t change the weather”) he does it with a light touch. When he duels with George Stephanopoulos, he smiles and deftly knocks down his assumptions.

He’s on Spanish-language shows. He is introducing his education bill, which favors school choice. The Miami Herald explains the legislation:

Under Rubio’s legislation, corporations or individuals could annually donate a maximum $100,000 or $4,500, respectively. The money, for which the donor receives a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, flows to a nonprofit “Scholarship Grant Organization,” which then distributes money to private schools on behalf of thousands of students.

The students who qualify for the scholarship would come from families who earn 250 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $58,875 in a four-person household. The Florida median income for families of four: $65,728.

Florida has a similar scholarship voucher program, although the particulars of the write-offs and income levels are different. It also caps the amount each student receives at $4,533. That’s about 63 percent of the statewide average of tuition and fees, which vary by county, school and grade level. Florida has about 50,821 students who receive $229 million in tax credit benefits.

To say that he is taking the party by storm (beginning with his immigration reform push) would be an understatement. But early success and acclaim can be deceptive. If and when he runs for president, he’ll find the media and fellow Republicans much less hospitable.

For now, however, the GOP is fortunate to have an appealing and dynamic person to champion a more affirmative agenda and common-sense brand of conservatism. If Democrats want to know who is the leader of the party (Their favorite game in off-year elections is speculating that the party that doesn’t hold the White House has no leader.),  Republicans would do well to start answering, “Marco Rubio.” I suspect that Democrats will quickly stop asking. He is, in his personal story, political skills and center-right orientation,  their worst 2016 nightmare.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.