By Stephen F. Hayes
He will provide a contrast to the president in ways that are both obvious and subtle. Rubio says he intends to draw on his personal experiences growing up in Florida to explain to the country why Obama's policies won't work. The president has focused too much of our national discussion demonizing those who have had success, Rubio says, and paid too little attention to those trying to make it. He seeks to shift that emphasis with his remarks tonight -- from a politics of class warfare to policies that elevate the middle class.
"The way I envisioned it is, I kind of went back to the people that I know [back] home," Rubio explains, "whether it's my friends from high school, or parents that I know from my kids' school or kids' teams, and if I had an opportunity to sit in front of them and if they gave me fifteen minutes to explain to them why it was that what the president wants to do is not a good idea and why what we want to do is a better idea -- what would I say to them? And that's how I've approached the speech -- is to explain why it is that limited government, free enterprise is the best way to give people the opportunity to achieve a middle class lifestyle or more and leave their kids better off than themselves."
To that end, Rubio will argue that there are costs to big government that may not seem evident in the lives of every day Americans. Among other things, he will focus on the president's health care reform and the many failed promises that implementation of those policies will mean. It is not true, Rubio says, that those who want to keep their doctors and their insurance plans will be able to do so. And the tax dollars that are collected to fund Obamacare are dollars that will not be spent elsewhere in the economy. The challenges of Obamacare for business -- particularly those small businesses with employees near the magic "50 employee" threshold for Obamacare regulations -- will be extraordinary. The goal, Rubio says, is to make clear to Americans that Republicans opposed these policies and to preview the coming disaster.
"I wish we could avoid it," he says. "But if we can't, we have to at least have the credibility to say: "We told you this wouldn't work; here's a better alternative.'"
Rubio will also counter Obama's anticipated proposals on energy, education, the economy, and debt -- offering specific contrasts meant to provide a starkly different policy agenda from the one offered by the president. On debt, one of several areas in which Rubio believes the president is a failed leader, he wants to recast the familiar GOP argument. "The goal is growth," he says, arguing that with pro-growth policies the federal government could generate an additional $4 trillion in revenues over the next decade, "more than any tax hike" under consideration. Rubio also wants to take arguments about debt from the theoretical and the long-term to the immediate and the short-term. "I think we have to link the debt to their lives. People understand that we have this debt and that their kids are going to get saddled with this in the future. And I think that's a compelling argument. But I think an even more compelling argument, in conjunction with that one, is to explain to people how the debt is hurting them right now."
"The debt has a direct impact on unemployment. Ever dollar that is being lent to the government is a dollar that is not being invested in our economy," he says. "The immediate danger of the debt, and the one that speaks to people in the real world, is the fact that the debt is contributing to the fact that they don't have a good job."