Politico has a quickie edit of the best moments and a transcript of the choicest excerpts. (His most memorable line was about the salutary effect of the D.C. snowpocalypse.) There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but there doesn’t need to be. The point was to introduce himself to conservative America, serve up thick cuts of Grade A red meat, and take the occasional shot — indirectly, by needling Specter — at Charlie Crist. Mission accomplished. WaPo and Hotline report multiple standing ovations, and Ben Smith’s hearing chatter in the hallways about writing Rubio in as an alternative to Palin and Romney in the CPAC straw poll. An interesting point from Philip Klein:
Rubio has been billed as a rising star on the right, and in some senses, his speech was the mirror image of then state senator Barack Obama’s 2004 speech to the Democratic National Convention. To be clear, I’m not branding Rubio as a conservative answer to Obama or suggesting that this speech will have anywhere near the impact. But both speeches used similar framing to advocate very different ends. Back in 2004, Obama, similar to Rubio today, said that, “in no other country on earth, is my story even possible.” The difference is that Obama used that as a jumping off point to argue for a renewal of liberalism while Rubio used a similar theme to call for a resurgence of conservatism.
That’s a nice analogy, deepened by the buzz of youthful promise that they share. The One was an exciting break from the aging, wooden Gore/Kerry model of Democratic leadership when he made his splash in 2004; same today with Rubio (and Palin, of course) vis-a-vis McCain, Cheney, etc. Optics and charisma matter, and the optics and charisma here are good. It’s no coincidence that he was tapped to lead off a CPAC geared towards establishing a new conservative order.
Only one false note worth mentioning: Making teleprompter jokes about Obama when you’re … standing in front of a teleprompter?