Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio appeared on Joe Scarborough’s show this morning to talk about his campaign against Governor Charlie Crist for the open Senate seat in the 2010 Republican primary. Rubio got treated well by the Morning Joe panel, which let him speak at length about the necessity of sticking to principles rather than worry about diluting one’s party to win votes. Rubio reminded the MS-NBC audience that self-identified conservatives are growing in number — and besides, if voters really want to support statist intervention, the Democratic Party already offers that choice:

This was an excellent appearance by Rubio, who may benefit the most from the contretemps over the NY-23 special election. One of Joe’s panelists makes a sneering reference to Washington Republicans and their intervention on Crist’s behalf in this race, a theme which has gathered more steam since Newt Gingrich’s defense of his endorsement of Dede Scozzafava. Rubio is exactly the kind of candidate that Tea Party activists want from the GOP, and his growing popularity shows that he has captured the energy of the grassroots activists.

The 2010 elections will hinge on government interventions in the economy. If the GOP wants to win, they need to find candidates like Rubio, Pat Toomey, Douglas Hoffman, Rob Portman, and others who put the principles of fiscal conservatism and limited government ahead of all other considerations. A nation aghast at the Obama overreach in 2009 needs clear choices, not various shades of Democrat Lite. Rubio has this exactly correct.