On Friday, House Speaker John Boehner surprised the world by announcing his resignation from Congress. Senator Marco Rubio had the fortune of announcing that breaking news to a group of conservatives on Friday at the Values Voter Summit, and he was met by a long round of applause.
Rubio seized on that anti-Boehner, anti-establishment sentiment in his speech.
“I’m not here today to bash anyone,” the 44-year-old first-term senator from Florida said. “ But the time has come to turn the page and allow a new generation of leadership in this country.”
Only moments before, Rubio was blasting Washington’s inability to solve long-festering problems.
“These issues are so generational that people cannot help but ask, how can it be, how can it be that we sent a Republican majority to Congress and yet they’re still not able to stop our country from sliding in the wrong direction?” he told the audience.
Rubio slammed the “political class” for continuing to embrace “outdated ways of thinking” and said he realized early in his Senate term that only presidents are able to get things done — a not-so-veiled shot at GOP leaders in Congress.
“I realized that none of the problems I got elected to solve are going to be solved if we keep promoting the same people to higher and higher ranks within our government,” he said.
The activists at the summit (sponsored by the Family Research Council) cheered Rubio’s comments condemning abortion, his promise to defund Planned Parenthood, and his criticism that government policies under President Obama are hurting families.
Rubio is often seen as an “establishment” candidate by the GOP base, which is not exactly a positive, so his criticism of that very establishment should certainly help him win support.
Jon Schweppe is Deputy Director of Communications for American Principles in Action.