The last few years haven't been kind to the Republican party, writes David Brooks in the New York Times, but he thinks the rise of two 40-something leaders is poised to change that. In a column headlined the "Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio Moment," Brooks labels Rubio the most likely nominee. Coupled with Ryan's election as House speaker, that would put the pair of them in prominent spots heading into the election—"a pretty excellent outcome for a party that has shown an amazing tendency to inflict self-harm." Most of the column is spent praising the 44-year-old Rubio, whom Brooks calls a true "child of this century" when contrasted with other candidates spouting stale formulas.
"He understands that it's no longer enough to cut taxes and say bad things about government to produce widespread prosperity," writes Brooks, adding that Rubio is focused on problems such as technology putting people out of work and globalization bringing down wages. His anti-poverty programs are his "biggest departure" from traditional GOP beliefs, writes Brooks, including wage subsidies to encourage people to take entry-level jobs. "In a year in which many candidates are all marketing, Rubio is a balance of marketing and product," writes Brooks. He and Ryan would make "the wonkiest leadership team in our lifetime," and "that's a good thing." Click to read the full column. (Read more Paul Ryan stories.)