Matt Lewis

Rubio shows Republicans how to talk about the ‘buried’ middle class

On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden slipped up and said the middle class had been “buried the last four years.”

Republicans, predictably pounced. The RNC held no less than 10 conference calls Wednesday to discuss it. (And that doesn’t count Gov. John Sununu’s Tuesday evening call.)

Almost every Republican chose to talk about it the same way. They generally saw this as an opportunity to jab Biden for being gaffe prone — and to talk about how bad President Obama has been for middle class Americans.

But Sen. Marco Rubio, once again, demonstrated that he knows how to talk about economic issues in a more persuasive manner.

This is how Rubio opened his call today:

One of the things that’s distinguished America from the rest of the world is vibrant middle class. Every country in the world, unfortunately, has people who live in poverty, and every country in the world has rich people, but one of things that’s allowed America to grow to be prosperous is a vibrant middle class, and people who have risen from poverty into the middle class. I think that’s one of the characteristics of our countries economy that we can never lose.

And yet over the last four years, the middle class in America has been buried. Now those are not my words, from a partisan Republican, those are the words of the Vice President, who said that yesterday. (Emphasis mine.)

This is short, but I think it illustrates a larger point.

Rubio transcends the economic argument by demonstrating how a declining middle class impacts the American Dream.

The moral case for free markets is bigger and more inspirational than mere money or statistics or theories. And he explains it! — Rubio doesn’t skip past his vision for why a thriving middle class is important, as if everyone knows what’s in his head. And that’s a key here. (Yes, he later bashed Obama, too — but that happened after establishing the premise.)

It doesn’t matter if conservatives have the better ideas if they can’t explain them in an eloquent and compelling manner. Rubio is able to do this, and among Republicans, that puts him in the vast minority.