Tag: Marco Rubio

Barack Obama’s Career Bedeviled by Financial Struggles


Obama DancingWASHINGTON — For years, President Barack Obama struggled under the weight of national debt, unsustainable entitlements, and a trillion-dollar stimulus borrowed against the value of his country totaling hundreds of billions of dollars. But in 2012, financial salvation seemed to have arrived: A large Asian government offered him another series of loans.

In that year’s campaign speeches, Mr. Obama, a Chicago Democrat, spoke of his prudent plan for using the cash to reduce deficits, expressing relief that the nation was on a “path to recovery.”

But at the same time, he splurged on an extravagant purchase: Trillions for a “luxury” health care plan, records show. At the time, Mr. Obama confided to a friend that it was a potentially inadvisable outlay that he could not resist. The cradle-to-grave control of taxpayers, he said, fulfilled a dream.

Marco Rubio’s Boat vs. John Kerry’s Boat


Marco Rubio once bought a fishing boat and the New York Times is on the case. Fresh from their scoop that the Florida senator had four (FOUR!) speeding tickets in the past two decades, the Gray Lady has revealed his shocking financial record.

“For years, Senator Marco Rubio struggled under the weight of student debt, mortgages and an extra loan against the value of his home totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.” (Boo, poor people! — ed.) “But in 2012, financial salvation seemed to have arrived: A publisher paid him $800,000 to write a book about growing up as the son of Cuban immigrants.” (Boo, rich people! — ed.)

First Best Second Choice


2015-04-22T095637Z_2_LYNXMPEB3L0E5_RTROPTP_4_USA-ELECTIONIt was hot yesterday in Palo Alto. Well, mid-to-upper 80s with little in the way of a breeze, which may sound laughable depending on where you’re reading this. But it felt downright Dante-esque here in Northern California given that most of our May seemed overcast and unseasonably cool. I won’t take the coward’s way out and blame the heat for this evergreen story — vice-presidential speculation. What got me thinking about it was this story on Jeb Bush’s presidential staffing hires — specifically, the surprise choice of Danny Diaz as campaign manager.

About Diaz: he was a senior advisor on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign and, four years before, a deputy communications director on John McCain’s campaign. But here’s what got my attention: Diaz has also worked for New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (here is he tweeting about her back in 2014). And if you want to play the veepstakes guessing game, Martinez is worth a wager for at least three reasons:

1) Outreach. Jeb Bush is bilingual; he won’t back down on immigration reform. His kick-off speech next Monday will be at the Kendall campus of Miami Dade College, thus highlighting a theme of minority aspiration (last fall, 71% of credit-seeking students at Miami Dade were Hispanic and 17% were black). Should Bush receive his party’s nomination, Martinez and her compelling biography (nation’s first female Latina governor, former prosecutor, daughter of a Texas deputy sheriff) would seem a natural fit.

The Failed Presidential Candidate Employment Agency


shutterstock_245961226June having dawned, we’re beginning to get a decent sense of what the (enormous) GOP presidential field is going to look like. By my tally, we’re probably going to end up with approximately 15 relatively prominent candidates. That’s four sitting governors — Christie, Kasich, Jindal, and Walker; four former governors — Bush, Huckabee, Pataki, and Perry; four sitting senators — Cruz, Graham, Paul, and Rubio; Santorum, the lone former senator; and the two who’ve never held elected office, Carson and Fiorina. I know everyone’s focused on how you get all these people onto one stage, but I’ve been thinking about another dynamic: there are 14 people in that group who aren’t going to be the Republican nominee. What do they do next? Here are my thoughts for each of these candidates should they fail to win the big prize. Add yours in the comments.

Bush — Make gobs of money? True, there’ll be an open Senate seat in Florida next year with Rubio choosing not to run again, but most former executives don’t relish time in the legislative branch — and it’s not clear how much cachet Bush still has in the state given that he’ll have been out of office for a decade at that point (especially with Florida’s high population turnover). Given his record as governor, Bush probably would’ve been at the top of any Republican president’s list for Secretary of Education — but, given how closely identified with Common Core he’s become, I doubt that’s necessarily true anymore.

Carson — Even in these early days, it’s become clear that Ben Carson probably should not be in this race. His penchant for gaffes and his ability to get tripped up by even rudimentary policy questions likely augurs a campaign that will end in embarrassment — which is a real shame, because Carson is immensely accomplished and has lived a great American life…just not one that needs to culminate in a presidential bid. Given his rise from childhood poverty in Detroit to the commanding heights of the medical field, he provides an incredible example for young African-American men throughout the country. If he placed his focus there — perhaps starting an organization that was a more conservative equivalent of Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program — he could do an immense amount of good.

Sorting the Republicans’ 2016 Kingdom


29pataki-sub-2-superjumboThe GOP presidential field continues to swell like Elvis’ waistline in the 1970s. Former New York Governor George Pataki jumped into the fray on Thursday, a day after former Pennsylvania Senator and 2012 contender Rick Santorum made his intentions known.

Does either candidate stand a chance of making it all the way to the nomination?

Don’t bet on it. Pataki is the longest of long shots – he cut crime rates and taxes during three terms as head of the Empire State, but he’s also a Roosevelt Republican and social liberal. Santorum was the surprise winner in Iowa the last time caucus-goers voted. But this time around, it’s a far more crowded field.

Member Post


Bonehead Random Reporter:  Do you seriously believe that gay marriage is a threat to mainstream Christianity? Sen. Marco Rubio:  Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee  for President has said that people are going to have to change their deep-seated religious beliefs.  The are people out there who think you should lose your business for refusing […]

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Of Men and Mars and Maine — and Mainstream Media


20veeck_1A special thanks to the good folks at nationalpastime.com for unearthing this tidbit: on yesterday’s date in 1959, Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veeck arranged for four midgets, all dressed up as space aliens, to be helicoptered onto the playing field at Comiskey Park — the joke being that they’d arrived from another planet to help the ChiSox’s vertically-challenged double-play tandem of Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio. Actually, the joke was on baseball that year: the “Go-Go Sox” made it to the World Series, air-raid sirens and all.

It’s the same Bill Veeck who gave baseball its first exploding scoreboard and fans a chance to manage a game — and, while running the Cleveland Indians, integrated the American League.

Speaking of alien life, there’s the question of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and his presence in the Democratic field — namely, is he the victim of a biased media that gives his candidacy the same odds as life on Mars?

2016: Do Looks Matter?


130916112847-29-missamerica-0916-horizontal-galleryOver the course of the next year, you’re going to hear plenty of theories as to what guarantees victory in a president election.

For example, there’s the matter of candidates’ height — the premise being that the taller contender always wins. A few years ago, researchers at Texas Tech took a look at this and decided there was something to it — something having to do with voters and their primordial instincts.

The problem is that “caveman politics” hasn’t held up in the Information Age. In 2012, Mitt Romney was a shade taller than Barack Obama. In 2000, Al Gore stood higher (and sighed louder) than George W. Bush. Bush also was lesser in physical stature in 2004 (4-1/2 inches lower than John Kerry), but again he debunked the theory.

Bolton’s Swan Song


BOLTONIn something of a surprise (given that few Republicans have taken a pass), former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton declared yesterday that he won’t run for president, begging the question of which Michael Bolton song best describes a courtship that won’t be: 1) “A Time For Letting Go”; 2) “I’m Not Ready”; 3) “Nowhere To Run”; 4) “You Don’t Want Me Bad Enough.” At least the late Tom Dewey can rest in peace — he’s the last GOP presidential nominee to have sported a mustache, as does Bolton. Dewey’s last run was in 1948; there hasn’t been a presidential nominee with facial hair since then.

Bolton’s announcement continues what amounted to “foreign policy week” for the Republican hopefuls. That includes Marco Rubio outlining a approach that at least one conservative writer likened to the Truman Doctrine, Jeb Bush continuing to clarify his 20/20 hindsight answer on the Iraq invasion, plus Chris ChristieTed Cruz and Rand Paul all piling on Bush.

If that sounds like a lot of bodies in motion . . . well, it is. About enough to fill a 40-man baseball roster.

Trump and No Trump Bidding


TrumpThere was plenty to take away from this weekend’s Freedom Summit in Greenville, South Carolina, which featured nearly a dozen Republican presidential candidates (here’s a tick-tock of the day’s proceedings from a local publication). Such as:

1) Hawks. Maybe it has something to do with South Carolina (the first shots of the Civil War were fired in Charleston Harbor). Republican after Republican took the stage — and took the opportunity to demonstrate some good old-fashioned rhetorical saber-ratting. That would include former Texas Governor Rick Perry (“Terrorist armies must be defeated by strength, not words”), Florida Senator Marco Rubio (“Have you seen the movie Taken, with Liam Neeson? . . . We will look for you. We will find you. And you will kill you”). Noticeably missing: native son Lindsey Graham, maybe the most hawkish of the GOP contenders, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who’d like to declare war on ISIS but otherwise has a complicated foreign-policy message.

2) Jeb Jabs. Jeb Bush wasn’t in Greenville (he was up in Virginia, giving a commencement speech at Liberty University), but he didn’t go unmentioned. After describing a humble existence as the son of a pastor and a part-time secretary, there was this zinger from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: “From our family, we didn’t inherit fame or fortune, what we inherited was the belief that if you work hard and you play by the rules you can do and be anything you want.” Remember this line when the field gathers in mid-August for its first en masse debate. Will Walker take direct jabs at Jeb? If you were advising, which would you recommend as the smarter strategy: for Walker to build up his argument as a blue-collar champion, or to try to portray Bush as an over-privileged blue-blood? Or both?

Top Presidential Disqualifiers


shutterstock_106049342The great unwashed have been polled by WSJ/NBC, and have spoken. The top three traits causing voters to be uncomfortable or have reservations about a president candidate are: 1. No previous elected experience (excludes Carson and Fiorina) 2. A leader of the Tea Party movement (excludes Cruz and possibly Rubio); and 3. No college degree (excludes Walker).

While I haven’t been able to dig up the methodology on this poll — and I suspect Democrats are over-sampled, as usual — I believe these results are instructive. The most favorable traits among the general electorate are for an African-American or a woman, which verifies my speculation that Hillary picks up six points just for being a woman, the way Barack Obama picked up six for being African-American. It also tells me that Americans are enamored by what identity politics says about them way more than they are interested in improving the country. I think that’s sad, but true.

The poll also indicates how hung-up the country has become on credentials, and how badly damaged the Tea Party brand has become. There’s also something deeply disturbing about the state of the nation’s moral compass that “corrupt” doesn’t even register as a category. That may be a flaw in the poll or, perhaps — as long as your team wins — it doesn’t matter if your candidate regularly sells her influence to the highest bidder <cough>Hillary Clinton<cough>. Hard to tell without more information.

On Immigration, Three Pathways to the Nomination


F7660Houston, Texas, once played a special role in American presidential history. It was there, in October 1960, that then-candidate John F. Kennedy addressed a group of Protestant ministers on the separation of church and state — a necessity, JFK’s camp believed, in order to lay to rest anti-Catholic concerns.

Houston was back in the news this week, again for something that overshadows the election. The drama this time: Jeb Bush appearing before a gathering of Hispanic evangelicals and laying out his stance on immigration reform.

What the meeting demonstrated: Bush’s strength and vulnerability on the topic.

Rubio, on Substance (Kinda)


RubioWhen Rand Paul announced his presidential candidacy last week, I broke down the speech here so that our readers could get a sense of his actual policy goals. As I noted at the time, Senator Paul’s remarks deviated somewhat from the norm in their specificity (for a good discussion of some of his policy proposals, check out Reihan Salam and Patrick Brennan in the inaugural episode of the Wonky Town podcast). That fact was only underscored by Marco Rubio’s announcement yesterday, in which he hewed much closer to the traditional model of going easy on policy details.

Now, Rubio’s no slouch when it comes to the nuts and bolts of governing. Indeed, he’s enthusiastically embraced a lot of the ideas coming out of the “reformicon” camp and it’s hard to argue with his record of policy entrepreneurship in Florida. That said, he’s also a much more talented speaker than Paul (and, for my money, anybody else who is, or may end up in, the GOP field), so he presumably knows that an announcement speech is not the time to do an on-stage scoring of your budget plan. I expect we’ll see a lot more details in the future.

Rubio’s Miami announcement speech was, for the most part, a rhetorical exercise (and a pretty fine one at that), but there was one section in the middle of the speech that gave some sense of his policy agenda. Granted, it’s a laundry list, but, as part of my effort to keep you in the loop about our candidates’ actual agendas, here’s the text:

And Rubio Makes it Three


GOP-2016-RubioAnd then there were three . . . Republicans running for the presidency, now that Marco Rubio has made it official. Three senators, each yet to complete a first term in Washington. Three first-time presidential hopefuls, all from states well below the Mason-Dixon Line. And three gentlemen with decidedly different ways of introducing themselves to America.

First there was Texas Senator Ted Cruz, preaching faith and social conservatism at Liberty University (video here). Then along came Kentucky Senator Rand Paul with a meandering treatise on libertarianism and party outreach (video here). And now Rubio (video here).

About his kickoff, Monday night in Miami, and what it means to the GOP field.

New Video, New Campaign, A New Hillary?


Under the guise of how to keep an idiot in suspense, I spent a good part of my Sunday waiting for Hillary Clinton’s much-anticipated Twitter announcement.

And then it came – surprise! – John Podesta, her campaign’s senior advisor, issuing this email to Mrs. Clinton’s fan base: “I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me – it’s official: Hillary’s running for president. She is hitting the road to Iowa to start talking directly to voters. There will be a formal kickoff event next month, and we look forward to seeing you there.”

Rubio Makes it Official


shutterstock_180970304 (1)From the New York Times:

MIAMI — Senator Marco Rubio of Florida told his top donors Monday that he was running for president in 2016, becoming the third Republican to officially enter the contest.

Mr. Rubio will make a formal announcement Monday evening here, when he is expected to present himself as the embodiment of generational change who can unite the Republican Party’s factions and offer economic solutions for the 21st century.

Handicapping the Republican Presidential Hopefuls


shutterstock_121492783The biggest issue with the current crop of Republican presidential candidates rests in the one characteristic they all share: that they are all politicians. Okay, so Dr. Carson is no politician, but he’s not a viable candidate, either. Let’s start with Jeb Bush. He used to be the most conservative of the Bushes, but he traded that in for what I’m sure he believes is practicality. It’s not. It’s not even compromise. It’s weakness. The media senses it, and they cheer for him. DocJay is right: Jeb is Hillary’s mark and nothing smacks more of politics than the Bush Dynasty.

Scott Walker is a fighter, no doubt, but his hands are still stained permanently with the ink of taxpayer dollars. In his short life, he’s been a politician… and nothing else. Chris Christie was a prosecutor before he immersed himself in politics. If there’s one thing nearly as disqualifying of politicians as politics, it’s the practice of law and — worse yet — the practice of law on the government payroll. Private practice is narrowly qualifying, but double-damn on those who cash a government check. And while Christie never had my vote, he earned my contempt when he wrapped his beefy arm around our President, seeking favor after disaster.

Rand Paul is an MD, an Ophthalmologist. So far, so good. His experience in politics is limited to the Senate but — in spite of his sometimes surly demeanor — his pedigree makes him yet another politician, yet another political legacy. And with this legacy comes the scent of his father’s kookiness. Ted Cruz is yet another lawyer, the former Solicitor General for the state of Texas, though he spent several years in private practice. As with Rand Paul, his first elected office is the US Senate.

Rubio Speech Drops Hammer on Anti-Israel President


If Marco Rubio keeps talking like this, he’ll be the GOP front runner before we know it.

Two days after Benjamin Netanyahu’s big victory in Israel, one day after Obama’s peevish reaction, and on the same day the White House stated that they foresee “terrible days” for Israel ahead, Rubio spoke up. In 15 minutes, Florida’s junior senator vivisects Obama’s Israel policy before dispatching it once and for all into the depths of hell.

An Age-Appropriate Republican in 2016?


shutterstock_180967037I had a column in the Sacramento Bee last week posing a simple question: is 2016 an opportunity for the GOP to break with its recent pattern of presidential nominees and go instead with a candidate in his or her 40s? My thinking:

— A party that started out by choosing relatively young nominees (California’s John C. Fremont was all of 43 when he became the first Republican presidential nominee in 1856; Abraham Lincoln, next up in 1860, was 51), has gone gray. Mitt Romney was 65 when he lost to President Obama in 2012. Before him: John McCain, age 72; George W. Bush, age 54; Bob Dole, age 73. That’s an average age of 66 — or, roughly the midway point between George H. W. Bush, age 64, and Ronald Reagan, age 69.

Now, the Democratic numbers: Barack Obama was 47 in 2008; John Kerry, age 60; Al Gore, age 52 in 2000; Bill Clinton, age 46 in 1992. That’s averages out to 51.25 years.

The Ides Have It


tumblr_mji45nGw2l1r7sitbo1_1280Yesterday was the Ides of March, which leads us in one of two directions: 1) Watching the so-so 2011 political thriller of the same name, featuring George Clooney and Ryan Gosling (why does fictional politics — Ides of MarchHouse of CardsBob Roberts — involve Pennsylvania lawmakers of dubious morals?). 2) Or, given the events on this date in ancient Rome, pondering the intersection of statesmen, their supposed friends, and the wielding of knives.

Which leads us to the current goings-on between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Technically, it’s not a political backstabbing. Or even a shiv in the ribs.