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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Secret Valentine’s Day memo to Sen. Marco Rubio from the Strategy Office of the Republican National Committee:

Dear Marco,

One simple word sums up your unorthodox rebuttal to the President’s State of the Union Address: Genius.

Pausing in the midst of a speech that nobody would otherwise remember, lunging off-camera for a bottle of water and then slurping it like a demented hummingbird? …

Time magazine was right. You are the savior of the Republican Party.

Was the whole country laughing at you? Possibly. OK, yeah.

But was it the most unpresidential thing you could have done? No! You could have walked out with your fly unzipped (whoa, don’t get any ideas!).

Truth be told, all of us here at the RNC started freaking out when we saw you stop and take that sip.

What’s that goofball doing? we wondered. Does he think it’s a rehearsal? Doesn’t he know he’s on live TV in front of, like, 50 million voters?

But once we stopped throwing our coffee cups and kicking our garbage cans, we calmed down and thought about what you’d done.

And we finally got it, Marco — the sheer brilliance.

The water grab wasn’t really a spontaneous and awkward moment, was it? You’d planned the whole darn thing, right down to your deer-in-the-headlights stare at the camera.

Of course you did, because that’s what saviors do. They see the big picture.

The script we gave you to read the other night was incredibly lame. In fact, it was basically Mitt Romney’s stump speech for the last three years. Didn’t work for him and, let’s face it, it wasn’t going to work for you, either.

Truth is, we don’t have any new ideas in the Republican Party. Our plan was to retread all our stale old ideas through a sharp, young Hispanic dude — you! — and hope people would think they’re hearing something fresh.

Obviously, you read through the script ahead of time and realized it was a turkey. So you improvised a visual distraction, something so ditzy that all of America would instantly stop paying attention to what you were saying.

In retrospect, it was the best thing that could have happened to our party. Thanks to you, Marco, nobody’s talking about that moldy little speech. They’re talking about you jonesing for that water bottle.

The video clip has gone totally viral. On YouTube you’re getting more hits than that adorable piano-playing hamster!

Here at RNC headquarters we’re receiving thousands of emails and tweets, including some from GOP donors who haven’t yet grasped the subtle cleverness of your “message.” Which is:

Yes, Sen. Rubio is really thirsty. The whole country is really thirsty!

Thirsty for a new direction, a new vision for the future.

We’re still ironing out some wrinkles, but you get the idea. You’ve struck gold, Marco, and we’re on it.

(Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Readers may write to him at: 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132.)

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com

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