The whole thing is here. I’ll hit some highlights (what I like/don’t like, what sticks out).
DAVID FREDDOSO: Charlie Crist is a popular guy in Florida. He’s also popular among Republicans. Are you Don Quixote for taking him on?
MARCO RUBIO: Elections are about choices and about giving people clear alternatives. I have strong and deeply held convictions about what the United States should be about. I have strong beliefs about what the role of the Republican party should be in the political debate in America. I don’t think that’s being reflected by our leadership at the national level. I don’t believe it’s being reflected by our leadership at the state level, in some respects. And, as a result, I want to run for the U.S. Senate, because I don’t think that the voice our party should be is being offered by the Republican party at this moment.
Barry Goldwater once said that we needed “a choice, not an echo”-nevertheless, I think Rubio-who is a guy great, and if I may wax queer for a moment, handsome-I’m not sure he has a shot. Crist is almost disgustingly popular.
FREDDOSO: How are they failing?
RUBIO: Two things. There’s one group of Republicans who feel our slogan should be, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” That, in essence, it’s too hard to take on this expansion of government, this overreliance on government to grow our economy and create jobs. And so what we should do is just be more like the Democrats. Another group of Republicans believes that we should basically be the party of opposition without any ideas in return — that all we have to offer is ideology, but without any new ideas behind the ideology.
I think both sides of that debate are wrong. We are a party that should have a very clear vision about government’s role in our economy and government’s role in our country, and we should back that up with specific solutions for the future. That’s what I’ve built my career on, and that’s what our candidacy should be about.
I recognize the flaws of both “sides” but I don’t see the “sides” the same way as Rubio does. But this stuff is really not what I want this post to be about, so let’s move on.
FREDDOSO: Give me an example of that, showing a contrast between yourself and Governor Crist.
RUBIO: Quite frankly, you could say it’s a contrast between myself and the direction of the national Republican movement at this moment in our history, by and large, especially here in Washington, D.C. One example is term limits — we should be the party of term limits. We should be the party that says it’s not natural for any human being to serve more than half his adult life in the U.S. Congress.
We should be the party of the balanced-budget amendment — of the notion that we should not spend money we do not have. We should admit once and for all that Republicans are just as guilty as Democrats . . . in spending money we don’t have.
We should be the party of tax reform. We’re constantly talking about tax cuts and their importance, but tax reform is even better. Change our system of taxation, whether it’s a Fair Tax or a Flat Tax. Boldly propose changes to our tax system so that once again we have a country where we’re not encouraging companies to shift jobs overseas — where the tax implications of creating jobs in America are not negative, the tax implications of building things in America aren’t negative.
I am a huge supporter of term limits, but I have long recognized that they are going to be tough if not impossible to get. It doesn’t have the the plausibility needed for a central plank of a party platform. But we should fight for it nonetheless (don’t count on this being something which unites-most politicians aren’t fans for obvious reasons). As for tax reform, he’s basically right on-he hits on the real reason why jobs are being lost (actually its taxes and Unions and progressivism in general) although I’m not sure that, as a free trader, I entirely appreciate the implied economic nationalism. However, with respect, Fair Tax is, I think, the wrong way. For those who don’t know, it would be a sales tax, and a big one. One thing I like about Florida is that 6.5% state sales tax is pretty low-but add something like an extra 20-30% on top of that? No thanks! Flat Tax would be much better. Balanced Budget amendment? Sounds great! Can we actually do it? Well, again, we can dream, and we can fight, but the cynic in me knows its an uphill battle.
FREDDOSO: Why did you support Mike Huckabee in 2008?
RUBIO: Two things I like about Mike Huckabee: One was his support of the Fair Tax, which I thought was bold and innovative. Second, I thought that of all the candidates, he did the best job of connecting how the people’s social and moral well-being cannot be separated from their economic well-being. . . .
Okay, that’s disconcerting…
Well, read the whole thing. I have to admit, this one was a rollercoaster for me. Parts had me thinking “Where can I sign up to campaign for this hunk[Okay, I get it, this gay joke is more creepy than funny]?” and others saying “No no no! That’s just not right!” So unfortunately this hasn’t helped me make my decision. I guess I’m become squishy and indecisive.