Marco Rubio

Rubio the Average American

NY Times investigations paint Rubio as pretty average, something candidates can pay millions trying to look like


Marco Rubio bought a bunch of stuff he probably couldn't afford. Welcome to America.

So The New York Times has pulled together another hit piece—this one insinuating that Rubio, who the newspaper evidently believes is the GOP front-runner, is both a reckless spendthrift and a financial failure.

The story—either clumsily or, more likely, deliberately—confuses offshore fishing boats with "luxury speedboats" and pickup trucks with SUVs to render a distasteful account of Rubio's financial life. But what we really learned is that though Rubio is not great with money, the senator from Florida has relatively modest desires, considering his fame. And his story features the kinds of struggles that middle-class voters often face when juggling bills, family and their investments.

Rubio, The Times tells us, made a series of decisions over the past 15 years "that experts called imprudent." Rubio stacked up "significant" debts before his big payday. And he "splurged" on "extravagant" purchases after securing his $800,000 advance in a book deal. He has a "penchant" for spending heavily on "luxury items," such as a boat in Florida, and he also leased a 2015 Audi Q7—after receiving that sizable advance.

It didn't end there. The Rubios went nuts with an "in-ground pool"—instead of a cheaper aboveground model—a "handsome" brick driveway, "meticulously manicured shrubs" and "oversize windows." At the same time, Rubio—one of the poorest senators, according to the Center for Responsive Politics—also carried a "strikingly low" savings rate, the newspaper points out. And his inattentive accounting methods lost him more money.

As far as the politics go, The New York Times could not have done Rubio a bigger favor. Convincing voters that you're one of them typically takes millions, a fabulist tale about your upbringing and maybe a Chipotle stop or two. Convincing them that you have empathy for their situation is an even more formidable task. But Rubio is now you. As Christopher Hayes tweeted, "starting to think Rubio has some plant in the NYT and these supposed 'hit-jobs' on him are false flags made to make him look sympathetic."

The question is: Does any of this really matter to voters?

I'm typically uninspired by candidates who pretend to be like me or, even worse, are anything like me. I'm terrible. I wouldn't trust me with anything too serious, and I probably wouldn't trust you, either. So when I do vote, my decision is driven by the ideological outlook of a candidate or, as is far more often the case, how much I detest the ideological outlook of the rival candidate. Whether that candidate is a billionaire or spends spare time helping orphans with autism in inner cities or shovels his own snow does not matter. People with compelling ideas and the right temperament for the job can emerge from any facet of society.

But I realize many Americans disagree. They distrust elites. They desire candidates who understand them. Rubio certainly has something that neither Mitt Romney nor George W. Bush could muster: a non-theoretical grasp of how a child of working-class parents can find success in America.

So there really is nothing inherently inappropriate about the media's scrutinizing the fiscal lives of candidates. If you're going to run for president, there's no reason voters shouldn't be curious about your past conduct and choices—especially in an age when politicians have few qualms about involving themselves in your personal choices. The problem with the New York Times investigation is not so much that it's a transparent attempt to paint Rubio as an unfit candidate but that the paper exhibits an ugly double standard in coverage.

Listen, some folks make $100,000 trading cattle futures their first time out of the gate, and others have to take on mortgages and wait years for any profit.

Which reminds me. Watching fans of Hillary Clinton's attacking Rubio for his fiscal failings should be a comic experience. That's not because Clinton is preposterously wealthy for someone who has accomplished so little. It's because Clinton got her hands on gobs of cash in a truly detestable manner. Not only has she peddled her influence but also that influence was bought with the success of someone else's name. If 2016 pits Rubio against Clinton, it won't pit a guy who has trouble balancing a checkbook against a prosperous and talented woman. It'll be a race that pits a person whose greed and corruption go back decades against a guy whose dream, according to The New York Times, is a fishing boat and a nice car—the kind of items that even average Americans regularly covet.


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  1. Honestly, they have a lot of fucking nerve worrying about the mote in a Republican’s eye when they’re largely giving a pass to the beam in their unindicted candidate’s eye.

    1. By breaking the email story and twisting the knife for days just as she was about to formally announce?

      1. Ah, so the Times has called for her indictment for the several felonies she’s almost certainly committed? I retract my criticism. Perhaps the Fourth Estate isn’t dead yet, after all.

        1. And don’t even get me started on how often the New York Times has righteously criticized Clinton for basically destroying Libya against the advice of the Pentagon and Robert Gates.

          Although in fairness, Obama’s gross incompetence was partially at fault there, according to this quote from Robert Gates:

          “It got so bad during internal debates over whether to intervene in Libya in 2011 that Gates says he felt compelled to deliver a “rant” because the White House staff was “talking about military options with the president without Defense being involved.””

          So Obama hangs out talking with Hildog and various administrative assistants about attacking Libya without actually bothering to get the Pentagon on the phone. Man, does he run a tight ship.

          1. You can’t seriously expect the NYT to indulge rightwing bullshit fantasies. I’m saying it has a bias toward politicians’ scandals, even if they aren’t real (and yes I’m referring to Rubio).

      2. Tony, just say that you support Hilary. I want to hear you say the words.

        1. Tony supports Hillary like a jockstrap supports Caitlin.

        2. I support Hillary. I supported her in 2008 before she lost.

          1. It’s not really fun if you don’t hide your shame.

            1. He would’ve gone with Mondale, but Walt isn’t sure he’s running.

      3. I thought nobody cared about Hilary’s email servers. How does the Times coverage constitute “twisting the knife”?

        1. I thought people might care.

  2. It’ll be a race that pits a person whose greed and corruption go back decades against a guy whose dream, according to The New York Times, is a fishing boat and a nice car

    Nope it’ll be a race between a woman/victim and a Teathuglican male oppressor.

    1. Absolutely, no matter who the Republicans nominate the Democrats and the media will make them out to be an evil 1%er who wants to run poor people, old people and minorities through his woodchipper.

      1. No. If it is Rubio the line will be that he is a financially irresponsible opportunist Latin guy who owns speed boats, lives in Miami and is clearly up to something shady, because Progs never engage in dog whistling or anything.

        1. Not just Latin, but specifically a Cuban… who lives in Miami… and owns a speedboat…

        2. Probably driving drunk without a license and shooting up the jobs.

      2. Is that the media’s job? I rather suspect our republic would be healthier if they reported the facts without spin, saving their political biases for endorsement time and limiting that to the opinion section.

        1. Meh, the republic was fairly healthy through about the Civil War when newspapers picked sides and made it obvious who they were supporting. And by obvious, I mean printing something on their editorial page along the lines of, “We’re Horace Greely Republicans.”

          1. The difference is in scale. Limited national reach for any media meant limited influence.

            1. Good point.

        2. I rather suspect our republic would be healthier if they reported the facts without spin.

          I’m surprised you even think that is possible, as if there is just one true set of facts for any subject.
          I’d much rather the media stopped trying to pretend to be unbiased since there is no such thing.

  3. “Daddy, why did the United States fail?”

    “It was the stupid, boy. They caught it and couldn’t get rid of it. Now go plug in your learning chip and stop goofing off.”

  4. I say again, making Rubio look like the average American is precisely the Times’ strategy.

  5. Yeah, he’s toast man. Nobody wants a president that is like them. We prefer a royal or sorceress with magical powers like making evidence disappear and inducing comas in prosecutors.

  6. He’s the frontrunner for VP nominee for sure.

  7. When Bill Clinton ran for the president the first time, one of the stories he stressed was how in touch he was, as against the elder Bush who had no idea what that new fangled cash register was. It worked. Bush looked out of touch and Clinton looked like a fresh alternative to Bush.

    Basically, the Times flipped the Clinton playbook on its head. Rubio looks like one of us and that Hillary is tired, old and out of touch.

    1. It is the typical heads I win tails you lose logic. Romney was an out of touch rich guy who just had too much money. Rubio can’t be President because he isn’t rich and had the nerve to live like a normal person and borrow money to buy things.

      The whole thing is so transparent and pathetic. If the people who read the Times were capable of embarrassment, they would feel embarrassed for the Times.

    2. That’s sort of the idea behind the speeding ticket story. You can’t write one about Hilary, because she hasn’t driven herself anywhere in decades.

      1. That’s a good response: “At least I drive my own car.”

      2. And of course Rubio getting tickets and paying them is a big deal. Obama getting hundreds of parking tickets and just never paying them or caring until he ran for President and thought it might be embarrassing was nothing and would have been racist to report.

      3. Cops can mess with 99% of the population but Hillary ain’t one of them. Even if she was driving double the speed limit, drunk, with her lights off I don’t think I’ve ever met a pig with enough balls to write her a ticket.

        1. What if she drove the car off a bridge in a drunken stupor and her passenger wound up dead?

          Oh, wait, we know the answer to that one too.

        2. No, the ticket would be written, but an in depth New York Times report would discover the cop watched Fox news, and racist tweets would be uncovered.

  8. I want more stories about what Rubio and other people did TOGETHER. Rubio and his wife together have gotten a bunch of speeding tickets. Rubio and Hitler together have….

    1. +100

      Rubio and Ted Bundy have murdered close to fifty young women…

      1. But, on the flip side, Rubio and Feynman figured out what made the Challenger explode, so he has that going for him.

      2. Rubio and Nickleback together have released 8 albums.

        1. That goes in the “con” column.

        2. Rubio and Nickleback together have released 8 albums.

          8 of the shittiest “rock” albums since Creed.

    2. I don’t even like Rubio a little bit, but this is exactly the kind of bullshit that ups sympathy for him. Even people not inclined to vote for him will see these pathetic and weak slaps at him for what they are.

      1. I re-read that article twice to make sure that it wasn’t satire.


      2. Rubio seems like a very nice man who I would not want to vote for.

        Then again, I imagine a Rubio administration would be approximately 1/10,000th as corrupt as a Jeb Bush or Hillary administration, so if Rand Paul’s campaign doesn’t go anywhere, I might have to support Rubio out of a desperate attempt to keep a Bush or Clinton out of the White House.

        1. He is not up to being President. he is too inexperienced and would get ate alive and co-opted by the beltway establishment. That said, he is an honest person and actually seems to have some contact with reality. So, he would be a thousand times better president than both Jeb or Hillary.

  9. I fail to see how his spending was irresponsible with respect to his income, both actual and projected. I see no records of him filing for bankruptcy or failing to pay his bills. He got a few speeding tickets, and he paid them. Big deal.

    Finally, you’d think that the Party of Jefferson would remember that TJ was a fiscal mess with his own finances but was the most fiscally responsible president we’ve ever had.

    1. He paid off his student loans with his book advance.

      BURN HIM!!!!


    Pelosi killed Obama trade. That is racist, straight up.

  11. We’re supposed to care about this, but not Michele Obama’s $315,000 / year “community outreach” job they created just in time for Barack’s Senate run and which was so mission critical they didn’t replace her when she left?

    They couldn’t be more transparent.

    1. Well, Obama’s finances were very similar to Rubio’s 8 years ago. I guess it is different when it is a Republican.

      1. Please don’t conflate the New York Times with all liberal thought. They also sold the Iraq War.

        1. You’re a Democrat, not a liberal. And Democrats loved the Iraq war until they didn’t until they did again.

          Leave the principled anti-war stances to liberals/libertarians and hardcore socialists. It makes it much harder to twist in the political wind and root for your favorite unprincipled centrist candidate if you don’t.

          1. The Iraq war was what radicalized me against Republicans. Since we only have two choices in this country, a fact I understand because I’m not an idiot, that forces me to support Democrats, even ones who voted for the war if necessary. Because milquetoast cowards who wouldn’t actually start a war based on lies are better than evil idiots who would. Welcome to the real world. Sucks doesn’t it.

  12. I’ve said for a while that the best ad Republicans could run against Hillary would be one that takes each and every one of her defenses at face value.

    She doesn’t know how much money she makes in a year. She doesn’t know why her investments are so profitable. She doesn’t know who gives her money. She can’t figure out how to use a cellular phone.

    Forget being in-touch with the lives of the middle class — for the past 25 years she seemingly hasn’t even been in touch with her OWN life.

  13. “Listen, some folks make $100,000 trading cattle futures their first time out of the gate, and others have to take on mortgages and wait years for any profit.”

    Well done.

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