Sunday, January 25, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Rubio’s sip was no fatal slip

navarrette column sig

By
From page A9 | February 17, 2013 |

SAN DIEGO — Here’s a thought that Republicans should find as refreshing as a cool drink of water: Marco Rubio drives liberals crazy.

The Florida senator had an awkward moment while giving the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Rubio had just taped his remarks in Spanish, before giving his speech live in English. This marked the first time someone had given the response in two languages. So he was doing double duty. Naturally, his throat got parched, and he reached for a bottle of water. It was human and funny.

Yet, while Rubio laughed off the incident in media interviews the next day, liberals won’t let it go. It’s all they’re talking about, and this gives away how much they fear the guy.

The way those on the left react to Rubio – a possible 2016 presidential hopeful – goes beyond the resentment they feel toward Latinos who embrace conservatism. Those folks are always an annoyance to the left, which says it believes in freedom of expression – at least in theory. But in practice, the only thing it wants to hear minorities express is a full-throated allegiance to liberalism and the Democratic Party. After all, where would all these high-achieving minorities be without the generous support of liberals for life-altering programs such as affirmative action?

Yet in the case of Rubio, the usual hostility toward Hispanic Republicans seems to be only the starting point. Marco isn’t just defiant. He’s dangerous.

Take it from former White House adviser Van Jones. During an appearance on CNN, Jones said that Democrats “dodged a bullet” when Rubio took that sip of water.

“People can chuckle today,” Jones said of those on the left. “They’re going to be worried about this guy tomorrow.”

No doubt. What Democrats need to worry about is that it won’t be so easy to portray this Cuban-American son of a bartender and hotel maid as a symbol of privilege. Many middle-class voters can identify with Rubio’s journey, and feel good about the fact that the American Dream is alive and well. And, if Rubio does run for president, the problem that plagued Mitt Romney – i.e., his inability to relate to everyday Americans – probably won’t be issue. Not only that, the 41-year-old is an attractive candidate and an excellent communicator.

“Rubio is dangerous for Democrats,” Jones said. “I’m so glad we’re talking about him and that we’re joking about him because right when he reached for that water bottle, he was reaching an emotional part of the speech which he stepped on.”

Jones centered on the last 90 seconds of Rubio’s remarks, which he said were extremely powerful. As he put it, Rubio “is to the heart what Paul Ryan is to the head. . . . This man can connect emotionally.”

Connecting was what Rubio’s remarks were all about. In focus groups, voters of all colors and backgrounds said that they could relate to Rubio, and felt he understands their fear and frustration over a fragile economy, a weak job market, and a national debt of more than $16 trillion. This was a message Rubio hit hard during his remarks.

“Mr. President, I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich,” he said. “I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors – hard-working middle-class Americans who don’t need us to come up with a plan to grow the government. They need a plan to grow the middle class.”

And what about Rubio’s ability to connect with that one group that can make or break the GOP’s efforts to reach out to Hispanics – Mexican-Americans in the Southwest?

Let’s see. Rubio’s parents were Spanish-speaking immigrants (not refugees, as with many other Cubans who come to the United States). They worked hard in menial jobs and emphasized education as the way for their children to live out their dreams. Rubio entered politics, challenged the power structure as an underdog and triumphed against long odds. Sound familiar?

Now, in the Senate, he is scolding fellow Republicans for taking a tone on immigration that has been intolerant, insensitive and inconsistent with conservative principles. And despite resistance from the radical fringe of his party, he is standing his ground – and communicating his message, not just in English but also in perfect Spanish.

Oh dear. It’s enough to drive Democrats to drink.

Ruben Navarrette is a columnist for U-T San Diego. Reach him at ruben@rubennavarrette.com.

Ruben Navarrette

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • BobFebruary 17, 2013 - 11:48 am

    "this gives away how much they fear the guy." I think that hard-core, old-style Republicans may fear him even more than the Democrats will. He would mark a great departure from what has become traditional for the GOP.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Nursing students take next step in higher education

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Friend seeks justice for 1982 Vacaville homicide victim

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Solano GOP welcomes address from King niece

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Scientists think Earth doomed: I disagree

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Biggest Little Car Show returns for 31st year

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Solano Safety Net Summit set in Fairfield downtown

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

Wine, chocolate pairing comes to downtown Benicia

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Local gas prices dip below $2 a gallon

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Be heart smart all year long

By Gerald Bourne, MD | From Page: C4

Kindergarten Readiness Roundup enlightens parents

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Weather for Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Crews respond to residential fire

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
CHP seeks witnesses to I-80 crash

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Saudi monarchy transition a real economic concern

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
City seeks input on downtown plan

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7, 2 Comments

Suisun City police log: Jan. 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 22, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Privatized housing tenants to feel BAH pinch

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Jan. 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Airman with Fairfield tie completes training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
It’s a hoot hanging out with owls at this Tokyo cafe

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

School: Sea otter conceived in wild is 1st born in captivity

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Man searching by plane finds body of missing son off Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Kia recalling nearly 87,000 Fortes because of fire risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Elon Musk’s SpaceX drops lawsuit against Air Force

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California’s public-worker payroll increased post-recession

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Avian flu confirmed in commercial turkey flock in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Boy, 13, arrested in fatal stabbing near Los Angeles school

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Abortion opponents express renewed hope at SF rally

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Company seeks rights to names of iconic Grand Canyon lodges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police: Man shot his family, killing 3, then killed himself

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Tens of thousands protest after president resigns in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Thousands march against socialist president in Venezuela

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Expert says King Tut mask can be restored after epoxy used

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Obama to cut short India trip to pay call on Saudi Arabia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
1st attempt to lift fuselage of crashed AirAsia plane fails

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

Plea for return of stolen statue

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Not all police are bad

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
 
.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

The gift of a new beginning

By Dalia Adams | From Page: C3

 
Mennonite group to build houses in tornado-damaged town

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Yearbooks bring Jewish, Catholic groups together

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscope Jan. 25, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

My dad can’t get over the bad first impression of my boyfriend

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Mariel Hemingway working on memoir and young adult novel

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jonathan Franzen to appear at BookExpo America

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

2 Williams sisters, 2 Madisons into 4th round at Aussie Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Hall of Famer Ernie Banks mourned in sports world and beyond

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Thompson’s record 3rd quarter leads Warriors past Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Belichick on deflated balls: ‘We try to do everything right’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

25 years of trying to get it right

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Sharapova, Bouchard into quarterfinals at Australian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Abdullah leads North to 34-13 win over South in Senior Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
As Brady, Gronk know, pre-Super Bowl injury talk always big

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP Interview: Selig says MLB could expand internationally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Could Super Bowl be Lynch’s finale in Seattle?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sherman, Seahawks take the trash-talk lead over Patriots

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s surgically repaired hip on mend

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Buckeyes celebrate their title at Ohio Stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Carroll, Belichick excelled after failing the first time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Luck-led Team Carter vs. Romo-lead Team Irvin in Pro Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Explains: The Pro Bowl, unlike any other All-Star game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Matt Kuchar stumbles in, gives away Humana Challenge lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
For streaking Atlanta Hawks, it’s all about the balance

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Upstart wins $400,000 Holy Bull at Gulfstream

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Mischief Clem wins California Cup Derby in photo finish

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

World Cup of Hockey tournament set for 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Hometown report: Bowling

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

Ashley Wagner wins 3rd US title with record-setting scores

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Weber’s 108.5-mph blast gives him hardest shot at NHL skills

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Jimenez, Mediate share lead in Champions Tour opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Grace wins Qatar Masters by 1 stroke

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Sports on TV for Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

Anheuser-Busch to buy craft beer company

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Higher standard deduction, other breaks for older taxpayers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Booking a trip to the ER on your smartphone? It’s a breeze

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Recalls this week: cleaners, fitness machines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Tiny Cokes: Less guilt means more money for makers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
First Look: Apple’s HomeKit could help smarten up your home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

.

Obituaries

Thomas Clark

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sheila Margery (Smith) Luxenberg

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Don Johnson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics