There are several solid reasons for Arizona conservatives to support the candidacy of Marco Rubio as the Republican presidential nominee in 2016. Standing out in the field of candidates, Rubio is an inspirational figure, a gifted communicator, a proven fighter, and perhaps of even greater importance, a humble leader who can publicly admit when he is wrong.
First of all, Rubio’s inspirational personal story is engaging. He came to America the hard way, a son of immigrant parents. Especially important to the border state of Arizona, he also came to America the right way. His family worked hard, sacrificed, and achieved the American dream. In a culture which seems to be overly concerned with handouts, it is indeed inspirational to hear the story of a simple, immigrant family, committed to achieving personal success through old fashioned hard work.
In addition, Rubio is uniquely praised as a gifted communicator. Many of the candidates can give speeches and use fancy words, but Rubio has a natural ability to communicate with his audience. He has made it his mission to communicate a positive, forward-thinking vision, with an amiable presence, educated content, and even a twinkle in his eye. He communicates the uplifting message of “peace through American strength” in an optimistic, appealing manner. He is a strong advocate for education and he opposes Common Core standards. These skills undoubtedly enhance Rubio’s overall electability, as most conservatives still remember the sting of defeat when a certain senator from Arizona was unable to capture America’s attention in quite the same way during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Also, unlike many politicians, Rubio is unafraid of a battle. He is a proven fighter. Some other candidates have also shown a feisty side, especially Carly Fiorina, yet Rubio’s record stands out for his ability spar over issues. Again, much to the regret of conservatives in 2012, Mitt Romney seemed more concerned with being Mr. Nice Guy and cowered from criticizing President Obama on important issues. Rubio has spoken widely of his disapproval of the “failed liberalism” of Hillary Clinton and has been unintimidated to criticize President Obama. Conservatives are looking for the voice of an unafraid fighter to capture their sentiment, to take on their battle.
Finally, of the utmost value, Marco Rubio is a humble leader who can admit three little words most politicians seem unable to utter: “I was wrong.” After taking heat from conservatives for his stance on immigration and amnesty, Rubio humbly uttered these very words to the audience at CPAC on February 27, 2015. He unashamedly stated that he realized the “one size fits all bill didn’t work.” Rubio also acknowledged the desperate need for border security prior to implementing changes to the current immigration system. Of specific importance to Arizona conservatives, Rubio affirmed at CPAC that “border security is the only way forward.” In light of constant political maneuvering, it is refreshing to see a candidate embrace honesty and admit mistakes. Rubio’s humility connects him with humanity and exudes natural leadership, the kind of leadership people will flock to follow.