The first Republican presidential primaries maybe more than three years away, but yesterday’s opening of CPAC appeared to be the first real contest of the 2016 presidential race. Time Magazine‘s Zeke Miller described the “back-to-back pairing” of Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla, “as the most significant matchup of the annual conference.”
“The two men -Paul age 50, Rubio just 41- laid out divergent visions of an inclusive Republican Party,” Miller reported. “Rubio called for a focus on economic opportunity and a muscular role overseas. Paul called for a reduction in the size of the U.S. government at home and abroad.”
The Washington Examiner‘s own Byron York reported out a similar story line, writing about Paul and Rubio, “One was biting and challenging, the other smooth and reassuring. One stressed fundamental change, the other continuity”
Paul, York says, was the candidate of change. “The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered. I don’t think we need to name any names, do we?” Paul said in a reference to Sen. John McCain, R-Ari. “The new GOP, the GOP that will win again, will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and personal sphere.”
No issue better illustrates Rubio’s connection to the failed Republican Washington establishment than his embrace of President Bush’s last great policy failure: amnesty for the millions of illegal immigrants currently in the United States. He is currently working with McCain on another immigration bill right now.
In contrast to his free enterprise rhetoric, however, Rubio’s immigration plan is just a continuation of the crony capitalist policies that so compromised Bush’s big government compassionate conservatism. As The Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney notes today, Rubio’s immigration plan includes a permanent guest worker program that allows farmers to inflate their workers wages by offering something no other employer can: a path to citizenship.
Rubio’s embrace of crony capitalist policies that enrich mega-agribusiness is not new. He has long been a protector of the sugar subsidies of the sugar cane farmers that help bankroll his campaigns.
Do conservative activists want to go back to the big government compassionate conservatism policies of Bush and McCain? Or do they want to explore the libertarian path being paved by Paul?
From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Senate Democrats would increase taxes — and the national debt
Tim Carney: Should farmers be authorized to pay farmhands in citizenship
Michal Conger: Michigan governor appoints bankruptcy lawyer as Detroit emergency manger
Philip Klein: Rubio tells a story, Rand Paul talks principles
Byron York: Will GOP’s new vision be shaped by Paul or Rubio?
Conn Carroll: Is losing the House the best way to dismantle Obamacare?
In Other News
The Washington Post, Grand jury investigating Sen. Robert Menendez: A federal grand jury in Miami is investigating Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), examining his role in advocating for the business interests of a wealthy donor and friend, according to three people aware of the probe.
The Wall Street Journal, Employers Blast Fees From New Health Law: Employers are bracing for a little-noticed fee in the federal health-care law that will charge them $63 for each person they insure next year, one of the clearest cost increases companies face when the law takes full effect.
The New York Times, Republicans Are Divided on Proper Role for U.S. Abroad: A new generation of Republican leaders is questioning the approach of an aggressive use of American power abroad as a policy imperative and a political advantage.
The Columbus Dispatch, Rob Portman reverses stance on gay marriage, says son is gay: Sen. Rob Portman has renounced his opposition to gay marriage, telling reporters from Ohio newspapers yesterday that he changed his position after his son Will told him and his wife, Jane, that he is gay.
The Washington Post editorial board says the Senate Democrat budget “deepens Democrats commitment to an unsustainable policy agenda.”
Think Progress highlights a new Brown University study purporting to show that the Iraq War Cost U.S. $2.2 Trillion, Claimed Nearly 200,000 Lives.
Nate Cohn says liberals should not worry about Obama’s plunging popularity … yet.
Noah Glyn on why Medicare Part D successfully came in under budget.
Eli Lehrer says Republicans should become The Party of Prison Reform.
Michelle Malkin calls nationalized Common Core education standards a Trojan Horse.