If there is one thing the Republicans learned after this past election it is to put a Latino front and center, now that the Latin-American vote has become a significant swing vote in this country. Marco Rubio appears to be their man of the hour, picked to rebut Obama's State of the Union address tomorrow night. But, who is Marco Rubio?
He seems to be pretty much following the model Obama set himself for his improbable Presidential run back in 2008 by releasing his own memoir, An American Son, well in advance of what appears to be a 2016 run. Rubio has received largely favorable national press, despite not having distinguished himself in any memorable way.
The former Florida state senate leader rode on the swell of the Tea Party in 2010, comfortably defeating Charlie Crist in the Florida U.S. Senate primary, and then wisely tacked back to the middle in the general election to gain moderate support that lifted him to victory over Crist, who ran as an independent, and the distant Democratic challenger, Kendrick Meek. Rubio seems to be relatively pragmatic for a Republican, or at least knows when to pick his fights. He has opted in favor of immigration reform (an abrupt shift from 2010 when he attacked McCain on offering amnesty) and has a lenient position on student loans, having recently paid off his own student loans. On national defense and relations with Cuba, you find the same old GOP hardline views, but he will no doubt reconsider these positions in the wake of Obama's Florida victory in the general election, having won over 50% of the Cuban-American vote, by promising a more liberal view toward Cuban travel.
But, he is always quick to attack Obama, as he did back in May of 2012, when he was invited to speak at a South Carolina fundraiser. One has to expect he will temper his comments a little in the wake of Obama's victory and high favorable rating among Latinos.