I remember more than three years ago, in early 2009, when my good friend Val Prieto at Babalu Blog began sending me insistent messages that I needed to talk with a state legislator in Florida that wanted to run for the Republican nomination for Senate. It was easy to scoff at that time; Charlie Crist had been rumored to want the nomination, and his 60%+ approval rating as Governor made him look unbeatable. After a few back-and-forth exchanges — Val is not exactly a shrinking violet — we arranged to get Marco Rubio on my afternoon show. He blew me away with his poise, his clear comprehension of conservative principles, and his eloquent manner of weaving his life story around them as a way to bring them to life. There wasn’t a question Rubio couldn’t answer, and there was not an issue on which Rubio had not prepared. I came away from that interview convinced that we had just found perhaps the most naturally gifted leader in the Republican Party of this generation.
Democrats sensed it, too. When Rubio began gaining traction against Crist, they began to panic. If they didn’t stop him in 2010, they surely thought, Rubio would one day stand at a Republican national convention and apply all of his talents on the broadest political stage and begin undermining all they done to convince Hispanic voters that their natural home was the Democratic Party. Rubio, though, was unstoppable — and last night he delivered the address yhat Democrats had feared all along.
My Dad used to tell us: “En este pais, ustedes van a poder lograr todas las cosas que nosotros no pudimos” “In this country, you will be able to accomplish all the things we never could.”
A few years ago during a speech, I noticed a bartender behind a portable bar at the back of the ballroom. I remembered my father who had worked for many years as a banquet bartender.
He was grateful for the work he had, but that’s not the life he wanted for us.
He stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room.
That journey, from behind that bar to behind this podium, goes to the essence of the American miracle — that we’re exceptional not because we have more rich people here.
We’re special because dreams that are impossible anywhere else, come true here.
That’s not just my story. That’s your story. That’s our story.
It’s the story of your mother who struggled to give you what she never had.
It’s the story of your father who worked two jobs so doors closed for him would open for you.
The story of that teacher or that coach who taught you the lessons that shaped who you are today.
And it’s the story of a man who was born into an uncertain future in a foreign country. His family came to America to escape revolution.
They struggled through poverty and the great depression. And yet he rose to be an admired businessman, and public servant.
And in November, his son, Mitt Romney, will be elected President of the United States.
Marco Rubio will be President of the United States. The only question is when. Val knew it, and then he let me in on the secret early. Now the rest of the nation knows it, too.
Bonus: Here’s my first interview with Senator Rubio in June 2009, which starts in the second half of the show.