Liberals Fear Marco Rubio

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A Hillary Clinton match-up with Marco Rubio is a scary thought for Democrats,” The New York Times reported May 22.

Liberals with bylines are frightened too, hit pieces in the Times and The Washington Post indicate.

Marco Rubio has gotten four traffic tickets since 1997, the Times reported June 5. One every four to five years may be below average for Florida. So reporters Alan Rappeport and Steve Eder beefed up their story by adding in the 13 tickets his wife got.

What bearing does Jeanette Rubio’s lead foot have on her husband’s fitness for office? The Times’ shady move promptly got the ridicule it deserved.

“Taken together, Marco Rubio and Napoleon conquered most of Europe,” tweeted John Ekdahl.

“Taken together, Marco Rubio and Pontius Pilate agreed to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ,” tweeted Steve Klein.

No one was injured in the incidents cited by the Times. Neither Rubio was ever charged with drunk driving. Way back when, the Times editorial board didn’t think driving off a bridge and leaving his mistress to drown should disqualify Sen. Ted Kennedy from the presidency, which makes this hit job all the more lame.

Sen. Rubio withdrew $68,000 from his retirement account to replace a busted refrigerator and air conditioning unit and pay private school tuition for his four children, the Post reported May 20. This “desperate financial maneuver” has “drawn fresh attention to a long-running problem during his political career: his struggles with money,” wrote reporter Sean Sullivan.

Mr. Rubio had student loans, a second mortgage on his home in Miami, lost money on a house he and another lawmaker bought in Tallahassee, the state capital, after he was elected to the legislature, the Times reported Tuesday.

Mr. Rubio paid off his student loans and mortgages with proceeds from a book advance. But he also, frowned the Times, “splurged on an extravagant purchase: $80,000 for a luxury speedboat.”

This was a fishing boat neither luxurious nor speedy that would fit in Hillary Clinton’s swimming pool. The Times described the Rubios’ 2,700-square-foot home in the working-class suburb where he grew up as if it were akin to Ms. Clinton’s mansion.

“There is nothing opulent about their home, but it is warm and bright and simply decorated,” said Politico after a 2012 visit. “In the driveway sits the senator’s black pickup truck that he uses for weekend errands.” In its first hit piece, the Times described his pickup truck as a “sports utility vehicle.”

The subtext of these stories — that this beaner can’t manage money — was made explicit by Harold Evensky, “a longtime financial adviser who reviewed Mr. Rubio’s public financial disclosures at the request of the Times.”

“This was someone that was living financially dangerously,” he said. Mr. Evensky donated to Barack Obama’s campaign, which the Times didn’t mention.

It’s evident the Times and the Post could find nothing of substance to criticize in Sen. Rubio’s past. That they published these nothingburger hit pieces anyway is a sign of desperation.

And of cluelessness. Swathed in the Beltway bubble, the Times and Post evidently had no idea how Americans outside of it were likely to respond.

Mr. Rubio — unlike, say, Hillary Clinton — hasn’t gotten rich from “public service.” He spent his own money, not that of the Saudis or the taxpayers. He drives his own truck, runs his own errands.

Most middle-class Americans struggle with debt, get traffic tickets. Many lost money when the subprime mortgage bubble burst. What they take away from these hit pieces is that Marco Rubio is a lot like them.

The smears boosted his fundraising, created sympathy for him among Republicans, making it more likely they’ll nominate the person Democrats fear most. The fail has been so epic that MSNBC talk show host Chris Hayes suspects the stories were planted by Mr. Rubio’s staff.

Other GOP contenders are green with envy. What can they do, they wonder, to get the Times and Post to smear them? 

Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.

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