Regular commenter Redwald asked about our opinions of Marco Rubio as a potential presidential candidate. I don't know about anyone else, but these are my thoughts:
1. There are things to like about Rubio. It doesn't do him justice to say he is an excellent speaker. He is funny when he talks about his kids and really moving when he talks about his parents but all those generational themes are tied into a coherent and powerful message about the ethics and policy implications of political responsibility. A lot of politicians take this approach ("I went into politics so that my children could blah, blah, blah..."), but Rubio does it better than anyone I've ever seen. Rubio showed impressive strategic patience after Crist went the independent route and the polls for most of the summer showed Crist leading. Rubio didn't opportunistically change his policy positions after the Gulf oil spill. He showed confidence that as people heard his message they would come around. Rubio was pretty honest about Social Security reform and he still won in a swing state with an outsized population of retirees. Rubio presents his differences with Obama as being high stakes but his criticisms of Obama never come across as malicious, petty, or personal. He projects a kind of mental and emotional stability that serves an ideological politician especially well.
2. If Rubio ran for President, loads of Democrats would attack the freshman Senator for inexperience. This would give most of us plenty of opportunities to practice hypocrisy. I'm not sure that the right question to ask is whether Rubio would pass some minimum standard for experience (my answer? sure!). I think a better question is what kind of experience (and other qualities) will maximize the chances that a Republican presidential nominee will get elected and mobilize enough public support to work with Congress to implement the policies we need. The main domestic policy challenges for any conservative politician in the coming decade will be to get the deficit to a sustainable level without imposing crushing tax increases (which isn't necessarily the same thing as no tax increases), and reforming our health care system in a more free market-oriented direction. Trying to do either of those things will be really scary to much of the public. Having a Republican presidential candidate with a record of cutting government spending during the Great Recession while keeping public services at an acceptable level would go a long way to defusing inevitable Democratic scare mongering about killing Granny. This is a place where the kind of experience is a lot more important than the volume. Even a first term governor like Chris Christie has some of this kind of experience (though Bobby Jindal and especially Mitch Daniels have more), while a second term senator like John Thune doesn't.