Florida is a low-spending state. (New York, with an only slightly larger population, spends nearly twice as much.) Economies are not easily found. Constitutionally obliged to balance his budget, Crist welcomed President Obama’s offer of federal stimulus dollars, and campaigned hard for passage of the emergency measure.

The final Obama plan granted Florida more than $15 billion over three years. That money averted radical cuts to schools and Medicaid. It saved the state from furloughing employees and raising taxes even higher. It has paid for emergency employment on roads and water projects. It has extended unemployment benefits for 700,000 Floridians — and put an extra $25 per week in their relief packets…

But here’s the most important unasked question raised by the enthusiasm for Rubio among Washington conservatives: What alternative policy should have been adopted back in the spring, when interest rates had been cut to almost zero and the economy was still collapsing? Are vague bromides about big government anything like an adequate response to the worst economic crisis experienced by any American under age 80?