DC Download: A GOP identity crisis

(LIN) — Very sneaky, Republican Party.

We see what you did there with the GOP response to the State of the Union address, putting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio front of America.

He made it very clear early on in his response two things: He’s an outspoken minority and he can relate with the middle class.

He told the story of his parents immigrating to America, working multiple jobs to give their children an opportunity to accomplish their dreams.

“I still live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in,” Rubio explained. He also said he’s only recently paid off his student loan debt of $100,000.

It’s a valiant effort, really. Rubio is much more relatable as someone who faces middle-class issues. And Rubio is a fresh look to the Republican Party, much like President Barack Obama was when he emerged as a rising star for the Democrats.

The last time a GOP heavy-hitter tried to relate to working class Americans was the case Ann Romney made for her husband’s Costco shirt collection.

Rubio doesn’t look or sound anything like Romney, former President George W. Bush or Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

But is this attempt at reconnecting with Americans good enough?

The Republican Party is suffering for a sad case of identity crisis at the moment and seems to be trying all of the “quick fix” solutions without rebuilding a strong foundation.

Although he was immortalized on the cover of Time Magazine as “The Republican Savior,” Rubio has a long way to go to put swagger back in the party.

Who else is there to look to, though?

Outspoken New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie? He’s certainly a fresh voice within the party, and has fantastic approval ratings, but he may not be willing to leave his post as governor to fill a national role.

Or maybe Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who’s the same age as Rubio and whose parents are also immigrants? Jindal had a chance to set himself apart in 2009 in the same GOP response, but fell flat with an uninspiring speech.

House Speaker John Boehner, who couldn’t bring himself to stand or applaud during much of the president’s State of the Union address?

In recent history, some Republicans have been known for comments like “legitimate rape,” demanding a birth certificate from Obama, needing to reference binders of women for hiring purposes and claims that 47 percent of Americans feel entitled for the government to take care of them.

Election 2012 was not a graceful or eloquent moment in time for the GOP, and a lot of damage control needs to done to address the party’s tone, platform and strategy.

As long as the Republican Party is remembered for gaffes and blunders, every new approach to relate to Americans will look like its throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.

The GOP doesn’t need a savior, it needs an overhaul.

 

DC Download is a week-in-review featuring the latest news from Capitol Hill published every Friday. Get the latest political news at  onPolitix.com,  and join in the conversation on  Facebook  and  Twitter.

 

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Nicknamed the “Sunshine State,” Florida has a population of over 18.5 million people. Major cities include the capital of Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami and Pensacola.
 
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