Over at The Week, I write that four years from now, we will likely be inaugurating President Marco Rubio.
This is a bold prediction, and maybe it won’t come true.
But it’s, at least, an educated guess. Here’s why:
First, it seems likely the next president will be a Republican. It is very difficult for any one political party to win three consecutive presidential elections. What is more, it seems highly unlikely that President Obama will fix the fundamental problems facing our nation.
Perhaps he will continue to be special, but if history is a predictor, it will be difficult for him to accomplish much of an agenda in a second term. And even if he does accomplish some legislative items, it is unlikely he will come out politically unscathed. Even very successful 20th century presidents like FDR, Reagan and Clinton faced serious obstacles in their second terms.
Just eight short years ago, President George W. Bush was sworn in for a second term. He gave a soaring, “Wilsonian” speech about America’s role in the world. People were talking about a “permanent governing majority.” Then came Katrina and the economic meltdown.
Presidents rarely have the mandates they think they have, and events have a way of interfering with our best laid plans.
Having said that, I do believe that Obama’s re-election signals that he wasn’t just an anomaly. He wasn’t, as they said of Rocky Balboa in the movie, just a”one-shot lucky bum.” The world has changed. The voters have changed.
So while I think the public might just be ready for a Republican in four years, they will not revert to the George W. Bush-style of politician. Voters will still want to make history. Voters will still want to be inspired. And voters will still want smart and sophisticated (daresay, cosmopolitan) president.
To be sure, the GOP bench looks strong, but I give Rubio the edge because of all of this — and because of his vision and communications skills. As I write, “Chris Christie can bully and berate, but can he make the hair on the back of your neck stand up? Paul Ryan knows budgets inside and out, but can he inspire? Bobby Jindal has the best resume around, but can he make you want to run through a wall for him?”
Rubio still has a lot to prove. His immigration push is bold, but risky. His friendship with scandal-plagued Rep. David Rivera will provide challenges and obstacles to overcome. But Republicans who may feel demoralized watching President Obama’s inauguration have reason to be optimistic.
“Marco Rubio possesses not only the vision to lead, but the belief, conviction, and ability to communicate and carry this vision to broader audiences,” says Stephen Clouse, a recognized communications expert and speech coach. “That’s why he’s so different.
That’s why America will elect him the 45th President of the United States.”