Marco Rubio’s American Dreams

I finally got around to reading American Dreams, Marco Rubio’s campaign book. Earlier this year, I endorsed Marco Rubio. I’d reviewed the candidates and concluded that Rubio was best candidate for president this cycle. But I wasn’t inspired. Nor did I expect to be, that’s not what kind of guy I am.

I expected it to be a typical political book, I’ve read dozens of them. Even Obama’s. (Confession: Dreams From my Father was pretty good. Audacity of Hope boring though.)

On the cover of his book is the Rubio who I recognize as a political talent but who comes off as a glib prepackaged politician. He’s grinning away with a nice sky background. He’s wearing a red politician’s tie and a tasteful light blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up in some kind of “ready for action” symbolism. Hands on his hips. Nice watch. Wedding ring prominent. I don’t know what that bracelet stands for but I’m going to guess it’s some kind of political statement.

And then I started reading the book. I’m on the third page of the introduction, and he’s talking about his grandfather’s life and struggles as a disabled man in Cuba, and his family’s move to the US. It’s inspiring stuff. I’m going to quote one paragraph:

It is easy for those of us who were born and have lived our entire lives in the United States to fail to appreciate how unique our country is . But people like my grandfather knew. And if we listen, they remind us of something important.

Happy Thanksgiving. Those aren’t tears in my eyes. It must be raining. Inside. Or maybe it’s the onions. Yes, that’s right, it must be the onions.

The rest of the book is chock full of conservative policy ideas. Ideas on the sharing economy, on college, on retirement. I don’t agree with all the ideas, but I’m refreshed by the fact that he is coming up with bold plans, rooted in free market principles. That’s the nature of reform conservatism. There’s also a whole chapter devoted to the importance of the family. This surprised and impressed me, with both his desire to and boldness in confronting this important issue.

On the inside back cover is a different photo of Rubio. Black and white, with a more serious expression. This is Rubio the conservative thinker, the Rubio who thanks several reform conservative thinkers in the acknowledgments. He also mentions several senators by name, on both sides of the isle, and one congressman. Paul Ryan, then the revolutionary Budget Chairman, and now Speaker of the House. A new reform conservative movement, headed by Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan, is indeed something to look forward to.

Marco Rubio, you’ve inspired me. I’m not used to this feeling. People have told me they’ve got this feeling from Ronald Reagan. My whole political life I’ve been cynical, picking whichever candidate is least bad. For the first time I have a candidate who I am proud to support.

I hope I don’t get disappointed.