WASHINGTON - Florida Senator Marco Rubio gave a Republican response to the President’s State of the Union address that will likely only be remembered for the awkward lunge toward, and audible gulping of, a bottle of water. However, the context of the speech proved quite revealing of the state of Republican thought.

Sen. Rubio is running for President. He has not made that official yet, but it is a mere formality at this point. This was his chance at an introduction on the national stage. As a consequence, his speech had to be something that in principle all Republicans can get behind; something that would cause him no trouble in primary season three years from now.

So here is what we now know about today’s Republican party: they believe in magic. Republicans want to base policy on their beliefs about how things ought to be, not with respect to how things actually are. For these guys, facts are something that can be wished away.

For example, Rubio cited Obamacare as a policy meant to help the middle class that instead ends up hurting them. He supports this claim by saying that people are losing their existing healthcare, that small businesses aren’t hiring, or are even laying people off, and that workers are being moved to part-time in order to avoid giving them health benefits.

Let’s be clear; Obamacare will not be fully implemented until 2014. Anyone who is making hiring or firing decisions today is not doing so because of the Affordable Care Act. Ditto that for making people part-time, which has been going on for decades. It is reprehensible, but nothing new, and not at all about a law that hasn’t gone into effect yet. Similarly, health insurers have been kicking people off their rolls whenever it was deemed profitable for years. Anyone losing coverage now is a victim of business as usual in that industry. When Obamacare comes online, that will be illegal, and hence will no longer be standard practice.

Rubio and the Republicans don’t want to acknowledge any of the above, because those are facts. They want to believe that Obamacare is going to be a job-killer, so they keep repeating it in the hopes that it will come true.

Rubio’s speech could yield a hundred more examples of the same type of thinking; not by accident, but by design. Just as surely as Republicans want to believe climate change is a hoax, they want to believe that the only things holding the economy back are taxes and regulations. It doesn’t matter to them that these ideas simply aren’t true, they can push for policies that pretend they are, and just keep ignoring the contradictory facts afterward.

Pinocchio got to be a real boy because he so badly wanted it to be true, right? That kind of thinking might make for entertaining fairy tales, but public policy ought to be based on something more substantial than wishing upon a star.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Gossom and do not reflect Results Radio, Townsquare Media, its sponsors or subsidiaries.