Republicans who are eager to repair the party’s battered image among Hispanic voters and unseat President Obama next year have long promoted a single-barrel solution to their two-pronged problem: putting Sen. Marco Rubio on the national ticket.
The charismatic Cuban American lawmaker from Florida, the theory goes, could prompt Hispanics to consider supporting the GOP ticket — even after a primary contest in which dust-ups over illegal immigration have left some conservative Hispanics uneasy.
But Rubio’s role in recent controversies, including a dispute with the country’s biggest Spanish-language television network and new revelations that he had mischaracterized his family’s immigrant story, shows that any GOP bet on his national appeal could be risky.
Democrats had already questioned whether a Cuban American who has voiced conservative views on immigration and opposed the historic Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina justice, could appeal to a national Hispanic electorate of which Cubans are just a tiny fraction but have special immigration status. And Rubio’s support in Florida among non-Cuban Hispanics has been far less pronounced than among his fellow Cubans.
That ethnic calculus was further complicated by records, reported by The Washington Post last week, showing that Rubio had incorrectly portrayed his parents as exiles who fled Cuba after the rise of Fidel Castro. In fact, their experience more closely resembles that of millions of non-Cuban immigrants: They entered the United States 2 1/2 years before Castro’s ascent for apparent economic reasons.
Marco Rubio is a freshman senator from Florida. He’s not running for any office at the moment. Ideologically he’s a mainstream conservative. So why is the media giving him so much attention?
He’s young, good-looking, Hispanic and Republican.
In the WaPo article they recycle two slime jobs. The first concerns his parents. Were they exiles or immigrants? Who cares? They came to the U.S. ten years before Marco was born Do you know all the details of your parents’ lives ten years before you were born?
The second slime job involves his brother-in-law. When Marco was a teen his older sister’s husband got busted for drug trafficking. Marco was not involved in any way. So why does the media keep bringing it up?
It’s a preemptive strike to Palinize him and keep him off the ticket. Florida is a swing state and Rubio could push it into the GOP side next year. His presence on the ticket could help cut into the Democratic hold on Hispanic voters. And he’s from the south and his conservative credentials are rock solid, which could be important if Romney is the nominee.
Shouldn’t the media wait until he’s actually the nominee to try and take him down?