If I had to choose one Republican who gives great speeches on what it means to be a conservative, I would pick Marco Rubio. (25 minutes)
Here’s an article from Human Events about the speech, for those who can’t watch it or listen to it.
Rubio ranked the strength of the American people alongside the importance of economic and military strength, for it is our people – not our government – who have made us great. He sees critical institutions of society, which contribute to the strength of citizens and families, under assault by the Obama Administration. “We have a President who, just a few days ago, issued a mandate ordering religious institutions to follow his ideals… telling religious-based organizations that they must, by mandate of the federal government, pay for things that religion teaches is wrong. You may not agree with that religion’s teachings, but that’s not the point. The point is that the First Amendment still applies. Religious freedom still exists.”
He confessed he isn’t sure what the foreign constitutions Justice Ginsburg admires might have to say on the matter, but he knows what the United States Constitution says: “The federal government does not have the power to force religious organizations to pay for things that organization thinks is wrong!”
On the scale of history, only a “moment” has passed since world wars were fought against totalitarian evil. What followed could hardly be described as “world peace,” and cleaning the blood from the edge of the statist hammer has not softened its essential nature. “Today millions of people around the world are part of the middle class because of the rise of democracy and free enterprise. Did that happen on its own? Is that the natural state of man?” Rubio suggested a study of humanity’s long history beneath the boots of oppressors answers that question.
Democracy and free enterprise spread, not because they are humanity’s default condition, but because “the most powerful nation in the world believed in these things, fought for these things, spoke out for these things… and most importantly, was an example of these things.” The power of the American example transcends military and political force, because “all around the world, there are people who know there is someone just like them, living here, doing things they cannot.”
“What happens if we diminish, because we can no longer afford to be the leader of the free world?” Rubio asked. “What happens if we diminish because our leaders decide they don’twant to be the leaders of the free world anymore? What happens if we retreat? What happens is that we’ll leave a space, and that space will be filled by someone else.” The likely candidates for our successor as global hyperpower are totalitarian states like Russia and China… whose measure Rubio took by noting that they’ve vetoed United Nations efforts to rein in Syria’s dictator, Bashar Assad, because they reserve the right to use such brutal tactics against their own people.
Rubio understands that the clash of civilizations cannot be won from an easy chair, or a death bed. “The greatest thing we can do for the people of the world is be America,” he concluded. “That’s what’s at stake here. That’s what November will be about.”
It would be a shame if all the people who flee to America, to escape from socialist decay and totalitarian repression, found the very things they fled awaiting them on our shores. It pays to take a moment and see our exceptional nation through the eyes of those tired, poor, huddled masses, as Marco Rubio has done.
You can listen to an MP3 of the speech here. (12 Mb)
He’s only 40 years old. We have a deep, deep bullpen.