Is it too soon to call him the frontrunner?
The word on Rubio was that it was 'too soon.' After all, the Republicans had justifiably criticized the Democrats four years ago for nominating a Senator from Illinois who had served less than one full term. The word was wrong when it came to Rubio. He had previously served as Speaker of the Florida House; Obama had only served as an ordinary State Senator.
Is Rubio the front runner for 2016? He's certainly one of them. Here's what he had to say after the election.
”It has been a privilege campaigning for Mitt Romney, getting to know him and traveling throughout the country on his behalf. When future generations look back on this election, I am proud they will count me among those who chose a path of limited government and free enterprise at a critical crossroads in our history. I am proud to have cast my vote for Mitt Romney.
“Now comes the hard part. America faces monumental challenges in putting people back to work, reducing our crushing debt and advancing our interests around the world.
“In the next Congress, I am committed to working on upward mobility policies that will ensure people who work hard and play by the rules can rise above the circumstances of their birth and leave their children better off. The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them. I look forward to working on these goals with my new and returning colleagues in Congress and hope the President will get behind our efforts.”The pitch to Romney was what particularly impressed me. It's what we Jews call mentchlicht, and it's a rarity in politics in any country today. (Sorry but the term doesn't translate well, but if you know what it means to be a mentch, being mentchlict means acting like a mentch).
On Wednesday, Rubio turned down an offer from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) to chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The sources, who are familiar with Rubio’s decision, said the junior senator had mulled the leadership role for some time. As he often points out, however, being the father of four young children sometimes keeps him away from the campaign trail.
Whereas some politicians would use an NRSC leadership role to create a broader national profile, Rubio already has one; in fact, he will be traveling to Iowa as a guest of Republican Gov. Terry Branstad in two weeks.
Rubio, a rapidly rising star in the party after his huge but unlikely victory in the 2010 election, is a favorite of McConnell’s. And as a 41-year-old Cuban-American capable of delivering some of the party’s best speeches, he’s someone the GOP brass likes to put in front of the cameras. Not only is he inspirational, but he helps the diversity-challenged party bridge several divides with voters.
What’s more, Rubio is a star fundraiser who was able to pull in hundreds of thousands of dollars for Mitt Romney’s failed presidential bid, a skill that would be a boon to the Senate campaign committee. Of course, he can still be used by the NRSC to raise money, but he wouldn’t have to deal with the party’s divisive primaries as one of its leading strategists.
Much to McConnell’s chagrin -- and for the second time in several months -- Rubio’s career will not go in the direction that the Kentucky senator had been hoping for: When Romney was poring over running-mate prospects, McConnell was pining for Rubio, and he made his preference well known.
Rubio never made it onto the shortlist, however, as Romney zeroed in on Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the ultimate nominee.I can only hope it's because Rubio wants to concentrate on the Republican nomination in 2016. The kids will be older by then.
But that's a campaign I'd get involved in now.