MIAMI – Resorting to clichés and veiled references to other candidates in the race, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida announced Monday that he is running for president of the United States.
Rubio promised to lead the U.S. into “another American century,” as he stood inside Miami’s Freedom Tower, which in the 1960s served as a processing center for thousands of Cuban refugees fleeing Fidel Castro’s revolution. The senator from West Miami chose the iconic location to make his case – in typical Marco fashion. Rubio’s parents left Cuba and arrived in this country as immigrants and not political refugees.
A few years back Rubio became embroiled in controversy when he told a false story of his parents having fled Castro’s Cuba, while in fact they arrived here in 1956 before Castro’s triumph.
His message Monday night was clear: “I live in an exceptional country,” he said. His hope, I suppose, was that for those who didn’t know any better (a majority of American voters would not) the venue Monday night proves America’s greatness, because even the child of refugee parents can run for president.
The speech was pure Marco – misleading and lacking specifics.
Never using any of the other candidates’ names, his quips were clearly obvious. For example, taking a swipe at Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, he said, “Too many of our leaders are stuck in the 20th century.”
Attacking Hillary head on, he stated, “Just yesterday [Sunday], a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. Yesterday is over and we’re never going back.” Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president the previous day, Sunday.
Only 43, Rubio is the youngest candidate in the 2016 presidential field. His speech in Miami aimed to place him as a “forward-looking, next-generation leader” – the opposite of both Bush, 62, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, 67. Both from families who have already occupied the White House.
Employing his sleight of mouth, something Rubio has shown a great capacity for, and while speaking of looking forward, he stepped back instead and cited the greatness of America beginning with the 20th century. He said, “our generation is ready to lead the way to a new American century,” stressing that “the 21st century will also be an American century,” while comparing this critical moment to the beginning of the 20th century in the U.S.
Which is it, Marco? Are we to look forward or admire the past?
Whatever the case, this guy has a great ability to confuse. And by way of that confusion, I suppose he aims to capture the White House.