Political Tap Dance

February 22, 2013 Op-Eds, Opinion

Recently Marco Rubio (Florida United States Senator) has been making headlines as the new young and charismatic leader of the Republican Party. Time magazine has even gone as far as to make him the cover topic, calling him “the savior” of the Republican Party.

Perhaps in light of this national spotlight Rubio was selected to deliver the official Republican response to the State of the Union Address by President Barack Obama. It’s here where we witness the media’s ridiculous breakdown due to Rubio’s awkward sip of water during the nationally televised response. It’s at the State of the Union that we begin to sense something significant beginning to shift at the base of the Republican Party.

Rand Paul was additionally selected to give a “Tea-Party” response to the same speech… Rubio was only a few months ago the favored son of the Tea Party: Why isn’t he giving the Tea Party response? Is he perhaps making attempts to move more towards the center of the GOP? Is this in fact a deliberate attempt to distance himself from the apparently waning Tea Party?

In light of Mitt Romney’s loss during the 2012 presidential election the GOP faces a lack of leadership and a lack of obvious front runners for the next election. Rubio can come into this mix in a particularly unique light.

Usually what a candidate for the presidency has to do is court the base during the primary and then after winning the nomination a candidate must do what is known in political science as the “rush to the center.”

In order to win an election a candidate must win the large amount of support from the large group of Independents in American politics. Trends show that American have become more polarized and extreme on the ideological ends of the spectrum, where the moderate middle is now considered “fringe.” At the same time more and more Americans are registering as Independent or No Party Affiliation.

Bringing it back to Rubio, it seems like the political tap dance has already begun – Rubio’s rise to fame is likely a result of his Tea Party origins (ideological base covered). Now he’s serving as the “Main Street” Republican spokesperson and responding to the President’s address.

He appears primed and ready to assume the top role in the next battle for control of America’s highest office. Earlier than ever speculation about 2016 political candidates for the presidency have been floating around the blogosphere. Lists upon lists of candidates for both sides have surfaced. Rubio is usually at the top of many of these speculative lists, but what most don’t yet realize is that Rubio presents a unique challenge because of his preemptive political line dancing. Watch out Dems, Rubio has his guns primed and ready.

About Ed Leffler

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