Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
For the first time ever the minority response to a State of the Union address will be delivered in both English and Spanish. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been selected to give the Republican response. From Maimi Herald:
Marco Rubio won’t just give the Republican rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.
The Florida Senator will give two.
One in English. Otro en Español.
It’s the first time such a high-profile speech will be given in two languages by the same person, and it’s a sign of how crucial the Rubio has become in the GOP efforts to draw more Hispanic support and rebrand the party.
The move is gimmicky, but it is a powerful example of how quickly the political calculations within the Republican Party have changed. Just a few months ago the party was led by a Presidential nominee who supported so called “self-deportation.” This year the person selected as the public face of the party is a Hispanic senator who will probably use his bilingual response to the State of the Union to advocate for the bipartisan immigration reform law he is writing.
The GOP has finally gotten that unless the party does better with Hispanics they are politically doomed for a generation. The next few months will tell us if the Republicans think a few symbolic gestures is all they need or if they can actually deliver some real policy improvements.