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Marco Rubio is an attractive Senate candidate

Marco Rubio, who's running for Senate in Florida, is often mentioned as a rising star in the Republican Party. Because I think the modern Republican Party's agenda would be disastrous for America, I'm glad to hear that the Republican Party's rising stars don't think inflicting their agenda on the country should be high on their list of priorities:

Not long ago, Jim DeMint, a Republican senator from South Carolina, summed up the purity side this way: “I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.” And when I asked Rubio recently which current senator he most admires, he said DeMint.

That's change I can believe in!

By Ezra Klein  |  January 11, 2010; 8:32 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Next: Bad framing on the excise tax


The Florida political puzzle is that Obama managed to carry the state last year.

The legislature's become like something out of Oklahoma or South Carolina, as exemplified by the incoming Senate president Mike Haridopolos.

One odd exception to the state's conservative politics is the legislature's recent support for the modest existing commuter rail service from Palm Beach County to Miami, for a new commuter system centering on Orlando, and for high speed rail from Orlando to Tampa. A fluke?

My guess is that this year's voting will be dominated by senior citizens terrified at the notion that health care reform will destroy their Medicare.

Should there be a serious hurricane, there will be a homeowner insurance crisis with political consequences.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 11, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

If only the Republicans were principled in supporting Free People. They seem to be more focused on ensuring people are free to inflict their beliefs on others. I actually see all three principles as being compatible with a Democratic candidate.

The first belief seems sort of harmless- "limited government" is sort of a tautology, no one really wants "unlimited government". The conflict is in where you set the limit. I suppose the point of saying it is that you want less government than we have now...seems like there are areas where we want that to be true (spend less on health care, war, payments to $GS etc.)

Free markets certainly seem better than the alternatives as well, unless someone has devised a better method than a market for setting the price of something or thinks that they can somehow get around the problems of unanticipated consequences in trying to control them. I know we want to control the economy using's just not possible.

Posted by: staticvars | January 11, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"If only the Republicans were principled in supporting Free People".

In every case, it's a matter of priorities. Many Republicans, and certainly most conservatives, think individuals should be free of onerous taxes and government regulations, especially in regards to private property or running a business. And they don't generally believe in unlimited freedom for individuals in these areas (i.e., no regulation, no taxes), just much more freedom in these areas than liberals or Democrats.

On the other hand, Republicans and conservatives generally don't think that people need more freedom in regards to choosing who they marry or what kind of recreational drugs they take (this is not universally true, of course; Bill Buckley conservatives are pro-legalization, or decriminalization, for example).

Taken to the next level, I think desires for outcomes for both sides of the ideological spectrum are nearly identical, but disagreement on process (and facts on the ground) are so profound it seems to the opposite side that the other side wants the destruction of the planet or the destruction of the American economy or a horrible healthcare system that kills people, when in fact both sides want a robust economy (but perhaps not at the expense of such terrible inequality of wealth) and clean air and water (though perhaps not at the expense of a huge increase in taxes).

I think a belief in the abstract of limited government and free peoples in something compatible with almost all political candidates. A belief in free markets is compatible, in the abstract, with most of them. It's the details that make the difference. By limited government, do we mean we want the government to not regulate banking, but to do warrantless wiretaps? Or do we mean we want to close Gitmo, but threaten folks who don't have health insurance with jail?

Politicians and pundits love to speak in generalities: "We want Americans to be free to live their lives!" and "We want the poor to be taken care of! We want everybody to have decent healthcare!" It's the specifics, where the rubber meets the road, that creates most of the tension.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 11, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

well if it's a Monday morning discussion of free markets, and the talking heads who love them, allow me to point out that we've lately witnessed the captains of finance recoiling in horror away from free markets.

Without governance, it seems, every free market will work to produce top dogs, who will then work to shutter the markets from any further competition.

A commenter made the lovely remark over at Simon Johnson's blog one day, that the free market had in fact tried to operate, in the meltdown, to weed out the insolvent banks, but of course that was the last thing anyone wanted.

Posted by: rosshunter | January 11, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@rosshunter Hmm...lots of people wanted the bad banks to be broken up- and still do. We now have Fannie and Freddie running around, the government buying just about all MBS at least through March, and whatever sort of zombie Citibank is now. Bush II had the chance to do it, and he blew it. Moral hazard reigns supreme when the government starts to intervene.

Posted by: staticvars | January 11, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

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