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From Rubio and other young GOP stars, Obama-style inspiration

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These are simple truths, but they resonate more when articulated by the voice of personal experience rather than read from the text of manifestos.

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Rubio isn't a perfect candidate despite his nearly instantaneous coronation. He waded into hyperbole bordering on falsehood when he said that only in America can one start a small business in the spare bedroom. Actually, small businesses are birthed everyday on dirt floors in countries where a "spare bedroom" is where the cow sleeps.

Such forgivable slips notwithstanding, Rubio represents something important for a party for which diversity has meant hiring a mariachi band for the convention. And he is but one of several young rising Republican stars who share his political roots. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, 38, and South Carolina state Rep. Nikki Haley, also 38, both first-generation Indian Americans, come to mind.

Jindal, unfortunately, made his national debut prematurely with his much-ridiculed response to President Obama's 2009 address to Congress. But also like Rubio, he's young and has decades to recover as he oversees Louisiana's post-Katrina reconstruction.

Haley, who is running for governor against a fierce stable of seasoned, tenured men, is popular as a fiscally conservative accountant. Like Rubio, both Haley and Jindal can recount the American dream story with passion born of been-there.

In a world where narrative drives politics, these are as good as it gets. As good, even, as being the son of a welfare mother and a Kenyan goat-herder. You might even say they're exceptional.

kathleenparker@washpost.com


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