Tonight, Marco Rubio was given the unenviable task of responding to President Obama’s State of the Union speech. Unlike his predecessors, Rubio struck the proper tone. Rather than spend much of his speech wallowing in specific details, he chose instead to make clear why conservatives believe in limited government.

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Rubio is widely considered to be one of the front-runners for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination. His speech tonight will engage great support from many in the party because of the values that he emphasized throughout his talk. Much of his speech was directed towards the idea of limiting government. He contrasted his ideas, and those of the Republicans, with Democrats who are more concerned with solidifying the welfare state than providing the means necessary for individuals and families to aim to succeed.

Rubio spent little time on such divisive issues as abortion, gun control, and immigration. He made the case for expanding immigration by citing his own family’s history and the way that they used education to economically succeed. But then, he connected this with his broader theme: America has always been a land of opportunity; more government interference and higher taxes merely restrict this opportunity.

For programs that he believes are important, like Medicare, Rubio made the case for a more federalist approach, with states having the leeway to change policies that are not working on behalf of their people. He made the point that if the economy increased by 4% per year, we would not have to worry about national deficits, and that increasing taxes makes this goal impossible.

He then touched on a few issues that Republicans believe in. He discussed increasing our supply of coal, oil, and natural gas by making federal lands more open for exploration. He made fun of Solyndra as an example of a ‘green’ policy run amok. He argued that the tax code should be simplified, that it would become and engine for growth. He stated that we should fix illegal immigration by securing our borders and enforcing our laws. He discussed the broken educational system, and stated that parents should have more control over their kids’ education. He then blamed Obama for the debt that the government has been accruing over his term. He came out against further gun restrictions.

Rubio closed by returning to the issue of family, and how each parent wants their children to have the same opportunity to succeed that he had. All in all, it was a tour de force.