Rubio’s statewide amibitions defer to Gov. Crist

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By Lou Elliott Jones

Marco Rubio is not sure which office he will be running for in 2010, but whatever statewide opportunity comes available, he is ready.

Rubio, who has formed an exploratory committee, addressed the Levy County Republican Executive Committee’s Lincoln Reagan Memorial Dinner on Friday, March 27.

Rubio’s choice of which office to seek is complicated by the retirement of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez. The Republican has announced he will not seek re-election next year and the iffyness of Gov. Charlie Crist’s plans to seek the office.

Rubio has been prepared to run for the Senate, but should Crist run, instead of seeking a second term, Rubio said he is prepared to run for governor.

That said, Rubio sounded more like the Senate candidate of his original campaign intentions. Rubio, who spent his youth in Las Vegas, Nev., moved with his family to Miami when he was in high school. He was elected to the Miami-Dade County Commission and later the state House of Representatives, where he served one term as speaker.

“We’re at an important moment,” he said. “I know a lot of politicians like to say that.” But looking to the Democratic dominated White House and Congress, Rubio asked the 60 people in attendance, “What truly is unique about America and American people?”

While there are other prosperous and free countries that have free elections, he said the three traits that separate the country and its people from others are:

Optimism — “Americans have been optimistic even when they had the most reason not to be.”

Control — “Americans believe what happens in their lives is in their control. They believe that they and their decisions will determine what their lives are.”

No class warfare — “We have never believed in class warfare.”

“All three of these are endangered by the people in control of the country today,” he said.

And, Rubio said without naming the Democrats, he believes their actions will result in America’s role in the world will be diminished, the economy will be diminished and that everyone’s lives will be diminished.

“They believe the only way to make you (have nots) more successful is to make them (the haves) less successful,” he said.

He said America’s story is pretty simple and it is why people want to immigrate to it. “It’s the place where people who want more out of life go to,” Rubio said. “That’s the reason why you never open up the paper and read that boatloads of Americans are going to Venezuela.”

He said this country is the only place where you can start a company in a garage, grow it, and later sell its stock on the New York Stock Exchange.

“The more government we have in our lives, the less we can start businesses in garages and dorm rooms.”

But big lobbyists and big business were not escaping Rubio’s attention. “The big business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supported the stimulus bill,” he said. He said it is because big business companies dominate such groups and will benefit fr9om the stimulus money. He said it puts government in the position of picking the winners and the losers in the economy.

“That’s why the dry cleaner in this community cannot get stimulus money.”

But make no mistake, he noted, he is not anti-big business. “I love Wal-Mart. Anywhere you can buy bread and a gun is a good business.

“And it’s good to live in a country where a guy can start a business and put Wal-Mart out of business.”

Rubio predicted that the country is on the verge of a great awakening.

“Richard Nixon called it the Silent Majority. These are everyday Americans upset by what they see happening. I am worried about some in our party who would lead us away from that.”

He said within the party there were some who would moderate the Republican Party to simply become the conservative wing of the Democratic Party.

Barack Obama, he said, has given him confidence that the Republican Party will find its voice again. “He’s learning a very hard lesson that the policies don’t work in the real world of Chiefland, Florida,” Rubio said.

Rubio, who once toured the state to gather information for his book, “100 Innovative Ideas for Florida”s Future,” said he is on this state tour to raise money for his exploratory effort, and to work on what government can do to encourage growth in the state.

He said the state needs for focus on renewable energy, including energy efficiency and energy diversity, to eliminate a tax code that holds back entrepreneurs and expressed his support for a FAIR tax or a flat