Rubio Paves GOP’s Future With Romney’s Policies

Since President Obama’s re-election, Republicans have distanced themselves from Mitt Romney and sought to revamp their brand, calling for immigration reform and more more moderate positions on women’s health and reproductive rights. Some top Republican advisers even pressed the party to “address the core issue of middle class economics with innovative ideas.”

But policy makers have been reticent to moderate their proposals, ignoring voters’ support for key aspects of President Obama’s agenda. House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) opening offer to address the so-called fiscal cliff mirrored his 2011 position and Romney’s plan to find new revenue by closing tax loopholes and deductions. Congressional Republicans advanced an immigration bill they defeated before the election and won little praise from Hispanics, who criticized the measure for limiting legal immigration.

And on Tuesday night, at the Jack Kemp Foundation Leadership Award Dinner, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is seen as the future of the Republican Party and a potential presidential candidate, sought to lay out a blueprint for the party moving forward. But he too reached for the policies of the past to lay the road to 2016, echoing policies Romney proposed, campaigned, and ultimately lost on. Here is a comparison:

The New GOP Is The Same As The Old GOP
TAX REFORM RUBIO: “We should keep rates low on everyone…Simplify our tax code by getting rid of unjustified loopholes. And generate new revenue by creating new taxpayers, not new taxes.” ROMNEY: “There are alternatives to accomplish the objective I have, which is to bring down rates, broaden the base, simplify the code and create incentives for growth.”
EDUCATION RUBIO: “We need to allow charter schools and other innovative schools to flourish. The key to that is empowering parents. Parents should be the ultimate decision makers on where their children go to school… All our parents should be able to send their children to the school of their choice.” ROMNEY: “For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted…To receive the full complement of federal education dollars, states must provide students with ample school choice.”
GOVERNMENT RUBIO: “Big government is not effective government. Big government has never worked. The promise of more government as the answer to all our problems is easy to sell. But when it is put in practice, it fails every time.”

ROMNEY: “What we’re seeing right now is, in my view, a trickle-down government approach, which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams. And it’s not working.”
HEALTH CARE RUBIO: “People should be able to buy a health care plan that fits their needs and budget, from any company in America that is willing to sell it to them.” ROMNEY: “I’d just assume not have the government telling me what kind of health care I get. I’d rather be able to have an insurance company. If I don’t like them, I can get rid of them and find a different insurance company. But people make their own choice.”
ENERGY RUBIO: “American innovation has now given us access to massive new deposits of oil and natural gas, making America the most energy rich country on the planet.” ROMNEY: “America is blessed with extraordinary natural resources, and developing them will create millions of good jobs – not only in the energy industry, but also in industries like manufacturing that will benefit from more energy at lower prices.”

Greg Noth contributed substantial research for this post.