Responding to Sen. Harry Reid's comments that "I don't know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican," Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio called Reid's comments "outrageous" and "ridiculous" on "Fox & Friends" Wednesday morning.
Proving that he has the intellectual firepower to be an effective advocate for conservatism, Rubio, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba, said:
The reason why Americans of Hispanic descent should be Republicans is because the Democratic leadership is trying to dismantle the American free-enterprise system -- the only system in the world where parents like mine [who] work hard and play by the rules can give their children opportunities that they themselves did not have.
But let me explain why Americans of Hispanic descent would want to be Republicans, and it's a pretty simple concept. The number one issue in the Hispanic community in America is economic empowerment, the desire to leave their children better off than themselves. It's the reason why my parents worked two jobs and sacrificed throughout their lives so I would have the opportunity to do things they could not.
It is possible because of God, and it is possible because of their sacrifices, and it was possible because of the American free-enterprise system. And the agenda that Harry Reid supports is trying to destroy and dismantle the American free-enterprise system. And so that's why Hispanics should be Republicans, and I believe a growing number of Hispanics will become Republicans because the agenda Reid supports kills Hispanic dreams for their children.
You might be wondering why a candidate in Florida would attack a senator from Nevada.
First, Reid's status as the majority leader makes him an easy target, and, as such, it is appropriate (or, at least, not weird) for a Senate candidate of the opposing party to take him on.
Clearly, though, Rubio's ethnicity and background as the son of immigrants positions him well to take on Reid over his racial comments -- especially since Reid is, of course, an older white man. But identity politics alone do not explain why this push-back is effective. Rubio didn't try to win the debate by playing the race card; instead, he explained conservative philosophy.
Rubio's comments work (in my estimation) because he is intellectually able to make an eloquent argument in favor of why Hispanics should be Republicans.
It appears to me that this is, perhaps, the first time the GOP has had such an eloquent spokesman make these arguments. Should he win election -- the Florida primary is Aug. 24 -- Rubio could become one of the most important spokesmen for conservatism.
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