For a second, the email with a message about Marco Rubio stopped me in my tracks—I always read emails top to bottom to middle for some reason. I saw ‘Jeb Bush’ and had the phone in my hand, dialing Rubio’s campaign. Waiting for an answer, I saw what my speedy eyes missed. “Jr.” The former governor of Florida’s son is endorsing Rubio. And I realized this is probably one of those politically discreet signals politically savvy types enjoy—the Bush fam will probably follow Jr.’s path. And I must say this was a classic campaign tactic, the equivalent of an attention-grabber common in print direct mail, most excellently employed.
Here’s the official statement from Jeb Bush, Jr.:
"Today I would like to let you know that I will be enthusiastically supporting my friend Marco Rubio for his bid for the United States Senate.
Florida and our country are at a crossroads. Not only in our economic life, but in who we are as Republicans.
My choice was a simple one: Marco Rubio represents the best in what our Party should strive to be and who it must engage – he is young, conservative, and believes in the principles of our Founding Fathers, that individual freedom and liberty are what makes our country great and always will.
Marco Rubio is a candidate who can help to bring our Party back on track by reaching out to our youth, entrepreneurs, Hispanics and those who believe that if you work hard enough, anything you dream can be achieved. With Marco, we have a great opportunity to elect a true conservative and a greater obligation to elect a man of principle."
The message concluded with a link to Rubio’s website where you can contribute.
Rubio’s is actually one of the more interesting narratives of the 2010 elections. By pushing ahead with his candidacy, Rubio is bucking not only the state party but a number of national politicos. Rubio’s commitment also symbolizes a clash between country-club Republicans and the grassroots. Erick Erickson, of Red State note, founded a group at Facebook whose members have committed to give ‘Not One Penny to the National Republican Senatorial Committee’ because a number of conservative faithful viewed early cheerleading for Gov. Charlie Crist as both premature and rude. Rubio declared his candidacy while Crist was still waffling.
If Rubio gets media time, especially if he gets time on TV, he’ll draw votes. The son of Cuban exiles, Rubio still lives blocks from his parents in South Florida. He’s a nuts and bolts conservative who focuses on two words that are magic for any real conservative: tax reform. If you see him speak in person, you’d have to be brain dead to miss the fact this is a guy who can take it to the top as long as he treads political waters carefully.
Whether the popular former governor of Florida will follow his son’s endorsement by issuing his own is hard to tell. The Political Ticker blog at CNN says it’s likely former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will also endorse Rubio. State and party leaders in the GOP might want to take note. The grassroots and the Webroots are serious about Rubio, and serious about regaining control of a party many believe strayed far from its mission, and in doing so, lost heavily in elections.
Bush son on board for Rubio; signal to the GOP by Kay B. Day