During an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham today, Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered glowing praise for Senator Marco Rubio’s State of the Union response.
On the other hand, when Laura asked for his reaction to Rubio’s speech, McConnell gave him a glowing review. “I thought it was terrific. Upbeat, optimistic, reminding everyone what made America great. I think Marco is the best communicator we’ve had since Ronald Reagan.”
McConnell laughed off the amount of attention given to Rubio’s awkward grab for a bottle of water. “It was no big deal. Marco sips water! He did when he made his great speech down at the [Republican National] Convention.”
He accused liberals of trying to distract from the substantive points Rubio made in the speech. “If the left is making something out of it, it’s simply because they want to divert attention away from his core message, which was inspiring.”
I don’t expect Mitch McConnell to dump on Rubio publicly even if it was the poorest State of the Union rebuttal I’ve seen since the tradition began, but the best communicator since Ronald Reagan? Really? For their sake, Republican voters should hope someone else is waiting in the wings.
Under different circumstances, it may be unfair or unjust to focus on Rubio’s water bottle moment, but there’s nothing else to focus on. His rebuttal was devoid of substance and inspired little more than a double-take on my part to confirm that he really was delivering Mitt Romney’s 2012 stump speech verbatim.
Rubio opened his rebuttal with a nod to the pro-life movement and then dovetailed right into a pitch for smaller government that could have been delivered by anyone. Rubio didn’t even offer his own spin on the idea. In fact, his pitch was rather boilerplate and cheesy and came off as more of a pitch to sell me an illustrated bible or a new and improved vacuum than a governing philosophy.
America has heard this ‘small government, personal responsibility, low taxes’ argument until we’re blue in the face. It’s tired and stale. And 2016 isn’t going to be pretty for the Republican party if this is what they plan to run on again.