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Senior Correspondent

Presidential Hopefuls: Where Things Stand

Presidential Hopefuls: Where Things Stand

The New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks likes what he hears from Marco Rubio.

The 43-year-old senator, he says,  “doesn’t just speak in the ardent patriotic tones common to the children of immigrants like himself. His very life is the embodiment of the American dream,” raised by working class parents — and look where he is today!

Brooks, whom you may remember beat the drums for the invasion of Iraq, is a fan of patriotic rhetoric. It’s a best seller until the bags come home.

“Political audiences always like the patriotic rhetoric," he says. "But this year’s Republican audiences have a special hunger for it … There is a common feeling on the right that the American ideal is losing force and focus and that the American dream is stepping back from its traditional role in the world.”

And guess whose fault that may be? He suggests President Obama.

“The president doesn’t forthrightly champion the American gospel,” says Brooks. In other words, the patriotic rhetoric. Brooks adds approvingly, “Republicans seem to want their candidates for president to be drenched in the red, white and blue.”

The Republican strategy is to run against Hillary Clinton and President Obama. It may be working too well.

The Democrats are quiet  too quiet. It’s early. The election is more than a year away. Still, the party should have alternatives to Hillary. She needs to be challenged. Hillary’s been off stage too long. She needs to be sharp against younger people like Jeb Bush, to say nothing of a Marco Rubio.

As Brooks pointed out, Rubio’s “net favorable/unfavorable rating is higher than every other candidate except Scott Walker of Wisconsin. He is at the center of the party. Fifty-six percent of Republican primary voters said they could see themselves supporting Rubio even if he wasn’t their first choice at the time, which put him above every other  candidate,” according to an NBC News/Wall Street poll, cited by Brooks.

So, he says, “it’s probably right to see Rubio as the second most likely nominee, slightly behind Jeb Bush and slightly ahead of Walker.”

High time for Hillary to take on a couple of sparring partners, like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, among others.

This article originally appeared in the San Leandro Times.

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