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credit: newyorktimes

credit: newyorktimes

Senator and Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio scares Democrats to death. How can we know this with certainty? Their media subsidiary has been attacking him with breathless stories implying horrific wrong doing and corruption. But isn’t that a good thing? Exposing corruption on the part of politicians? We report; you decide.

I first wrote of The New York Times’ initial salvo in the sliming Rubio campaign in Marco Rubio: Out Of Control Lawbreaker. In that article, we learned that since 1977, Marco Rubio has received four traffic citations! That’s right; it’s shocking! In 18 years, Rubio has received an average of .22 citations a year! But wait; there’s more!

Of those four citations, two were dismissed! And even worse, Mrs. Rubio, who has no connection to politics whatever, got 13 citations in 18 years; less than a citation a year. And even worse, the Rubios dared to hire a lawyer, and got eight of those dismissed! And the most outrageous fact of all? They paid for those citations with non-taxpayer money! The NYT also added one additional salacious fact: Mrs. Rubio is a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader! 

The horror.

In Marco Rubio: He’s Not Rich I reported that the NYT did it again, and that Rubio really didn’t have much money, had a lot of debts, including huge college loans (he’s an attorney; law school is a bit pricey), and worked hard to make enough money to pay some of them off. To normal people, that would sound pretty, well, normal, and something less than scandalous, but there’s more!

credit: politico.com

credit: politico.com

Using some of the proceeds from a moderately successful book he wrote, Rubio went absolutely berserk and bought a “luxury speedboat!” That’s right. A luxury speedboat; in Florida! It turned out that the “luxury speedboat” was actually a pretty common 24-foot fishing boat, but I’m sure he intended to buy a luxury speedboat.

Want to be really shocked? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Rubio gave $60,000 to charity and refinanced his modest suburban home. I’ll wait while you recover.

By all means, take the links and see just how corrupt and depraved Rubio and his speed demon, former cheerleader wife are.

But now comes The Washington Post, to provide yet another vital public service in a 2200+ word article titled How Marco Rubio turned political star power into a soaring personal income, the WaPo breathlessly chronicles Marco Rubio’s hard work and careful personal and political relationship building and acumen into an increasing income. In other words, he worked hard and has accordingly earned financial rewards as a result.

Wait a minute: doesn’t that sound kind of–you know–American? The whole “work hard and make a better living for your family” sort of thing? What’s that called…? The American dream? Yes. That’s it: the American dream. For a son of Cuban immigrants, that sort of behavior would seem to be just the sort of thing honest immigrants want to come to America to achieve, and Democrats are all about immigration, particularly illegal immigration, but Rubio’s parents were legal immigrants, and Rubio is a native-born American, so apparently he doesn’t count.

Here are some examples of the horrors recounted by the WaPo:

Marco Rubio was 28 when he was elected to the Florida legislature. He was about to become a father and was struggling to balance the financial demands of a growing family with his political aspirations.

About a year and a half after taking his seat in Florida’s part-time legislature, Rubio got a financial boost, accepting a job at the Miami law firm Becker & Poliakoff for $93,000 a year. Although Rubio was a lawyer by training, his colleagues quickly recognized the advantage of having a charismatic, high-energy politician in the office.

‘It was as simple as saying, ‘Marco, who should I call in this place about this issue?’  recalled Perry Adair, a real estate lawyer in charge of the firm’s Miami office, where Rubio worked from 2001 to 2004. ‘Marco knew the staff everywhere. He had been in politics all his life.

Let’s review: Rubio worked hard, and made a modest income for a man with four children living in a high cost of living state like Florida. He had good connections that his employers valued. Well no wonder the WaPo was suspicious! Let’s continue:

credit: washingtonpost

credit: washingtonpost

Rubio’s annual income grew from about $72,000 when he was elected to the state House in 2000 to $414,000 in 2008, when his two-year speakership ended, according to financial disclosure forms and interviews with Rubio campaign staff members.

About 80 percent of his total income during his tenure in the state House came from Florida law firms that lobby state and local governments, according to a Washington Post analysis of state financial disclosure forms. Much of the rest was his legislative salary, typically about $29,000 a year.

Let’s review again: Over nine years, Rubio managed to increase his salary from about $72,000 dollars a year to $414,000 dollars. And how did he do that? Giving speeches for a half million dollars to companies that got favors from the Secretary of State? Nah. He made 80% of it working as a lawyer, and the rest as a Florida legislator. The WaPo doesn’t mention the proceeds of his book.

Somehow, I’m not seeing even a hint of corruption here, but let’s continue with the WaPo and see what crops up:

The bulk of his private-sector income during his Tallahassee years came from his employment at Broad and Cassel, one of Florida’s top law and lobbying firms, which hired Rubio at $300,000 a year in 2004, months after he secured the support from his House colleagues to be in line for the speakership.

Why would one of Florida’s top law and lobbying firms want to hire Marco Rubio? Surely there must be something underhanded going on?

When Marco was hired at Broad and Cassel, he was in line to become the first Cuban American House speaker in Florida history’ Harris added. ‘That gave him an enormous profile, along with some very marketable experiences and qualifications.

Oh. The WaPo tried to make hay by suggesting that other Florida legislators didn’t make as much money as Rubio:

Harris said it was ‘impossible, and frankly irrelevant’ to compare salaries of state House speakers in a part-time legislature in which members have a broad array of financial backgrounds.

‘Some were millionaires before they were ever elected,’ Harris added. ‘Others, like Marco, started with significantly less.

Sounds non-suspicious to me, but obviously suspicious to the WaPo. Why else might a big law firm be interested in Rubio?

Johnnie Byrd, who was House speaker several years before Rubio, explained the difference, noting that he was a ‘country lawyer’ working for a small firm in a small town while Rubio opted for a big firm with political connections.

‘My memory of Broad and Cassel is that they were a really rapidly rising firm at that time,’ said Byrd, who said he supports Rubio’s presidential bid. ‘They were one of the big firms in Florida that was doing a lot of government work.

Oh. So a big, rapidly rising law firm doing substantial government work might think it a good thing to have a capable and well-connected Cuban American lawyer and Speaker Of The House working for them? If you think about it, it almost makes sense.

The WaPo provides a few former legislative colleagues who were obviously jealous of Rubio’s rising income, but strangely, no evidence, or even a suggestion, of any shady dealings. Why, Rubio didn’t even invest $1000 and get $100,000 in return on some shady investment! And then, Rubio made even more:

In 2001, Rubio met Alan Becker, a former state legislator building a lobbying and law firm. Becker offered Rubio $93,000 to join his firm. [skip]

Becker, in an interview, said he hired Rubio to work on zoning and land-use issues. He said he knew that Rubio, focused on the legislature, would have limited time for the firm.

‘I was paying him accordingly,’ Becker said. ‘If he was devoting 100 percent to the law business, he would have been paid more because he was worth it.

Eventually, a bigger firm, recognizing his ability and value to their bottom line, made Rubio an offer he couldn’t refuse: they offered to double his salary.

I had been in difficult financial straits when Alan Becker had offered me a job, and I was indebted to him,; Rubio wrote. ‘But I couldn’t afford to refuse the financial security the Broad and Cassel offer would provide.’

Rubio described his circumstances at the time: 33 years old and the sole earner in his household.

‘I had a mortgage, student loans and other debts, and we lived paycheck to paycheck,’ he wrote. ‘We had outgrown our two-bedroom home in West Miami, and my salary at Broad and Cassel would make it possible for us to buy a bigger house and settle some of our debts.

But the relentless watchdogs of public integrity at the WaPo exposed Rubio’s blatant non-corruption:

Broad and Cassel was known for its real estate, litigation and government relations practice.

But Rubio’s role, aides said, was non-political. He was prevented by law from lobbying. The firm’s offer letter to Rubio, dated June 18, 2004, forbade him to introduce legislation that would affect the firm or its clients. The letter also mandated, in accordance with state laws, that Rubio’s salary would not include any money the firm received from lobbying.

Instead, the son of Cuban immigrants was brought on board largely to help the firm diversify its mostly white, male Miami office.

See what I mean? Rubio is obviously hopelessly corrupt! And that bit about hiring Rubio for diversity reasons? Outrageous! Hey, wait a minute! Don’t Democrats just love all that diversity stuff? Oh. Right. Rubio is a Republican, so he doesn’t count. Sorry. I forgot.

But surely Rubio and this law firm were engaged in something underhanded? No honest Hispanic lawyer would want to be involved with such people?

Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz, a lawyer recruited to the firm, said she had been reluctant to accept a long-standing offer but changed her mind after hearing Rubio’s pitch. Over lunch, she recalled, Rubio acknowledged that Broad and Cassel had not kept pace with Miami’s economic and ethnic transformation. But he said the firm would be a good home for an ambitious young lawyer. ‘He said it would be a great state platform’ to build visibility and a client base, said de las Cuevas-Diaz, now a partner with Holland & Knight.

As he became speaker, Rubio still made time to talk with the lawyer he had helped recruit.

‘I find it incredible that it didn’t matter what was going on — when I said I needed something, he was always available,’ she said.

See? See?! The firm was so evil it was a good place for ambitious young Hispanic lawyers to build a solid career, and Rubio was so evil he was actually kind to a young female lawyer he recruited. The bastard!

Oh, but the WaPo wasn’t done. They really got the goods on Rubio. He managed to supplement his income $69,000 a year:

In 2008, during his final months as speaker, Rubio’s income rose yet again — this time the result of a new teaching job at Florida International University, a large state school in Miami. The part-time position paid Rubio $69,000 a year.

There he goes again! Using his increasing stature as a legislator and prominent attorney to make money marketing his skills. Why that’s, that’s…American!

Marco Rubio And His So-Called "Family" credit: communitytable,com

Marco Rubio And His So-Called “Family”
credit: communitytable,com

So, to sum up, Rubio went to law school, worked hard and made himself a valuable commodity, was well-liked and respected in the state legislature and in his chosen profession, managed to succeed as an author, lobbyist, teacher and consultant, and was well compensated in return, which compensation was necessary to provide for a large and growing family.

Damn. That still sounds really…American. There just doesn’t appear to be anything sinister in it.

By all means, if you can stomach it, read the entire WaPo article. It’s standard Lamestream Media fare, with insinuations of sort of, kind of, maybe not really wrong doing, on Rubio’s part, but it’s written in such a way that if you hate any Republican, or are by nature jealous of the hard work and success of others, it would allow you to dislike Rubio. Not that such people need a reason or evidence.

What is entirely missing from the article is any evidence of even so much as legal, but perhaps slightly unethical dealings by Rubio. Even the WaPo can’t bring itself to stoop so low as to lie that much. This article is not a Clintonian “you can’t prove I did anything illegal because I shredded all the evidence” trope by Rubio.

credit: thewrap.com

credit: thewrap.com

The WaPo’s article is, like the two NYT articles before it, very much a non-story, a hit piece that can’t land a single blow because Rubio is a genuinely nice, smart and hard-working guy who made his money the old fashioned way: he earned it.

Full disclosure: I have no relationship with Rubio, and I distrust him because of his previous public immigration stances. I suspect that if he becomes president, he’ll give away the immigration farm. Unfortunately, he’s not much different than most of the Republican candidates or any of the establishment Republicans in Congress.

Rubio appears to be the real thing: an honest, smart, attractive, well-spoken and capable politician and solid, decent, industrious American. Oh yes, and he’s no fan of the Cuban communists. If he’s elected, that part of Mr. Obama’s “legacy” is in danger.

Marco Rubio scares Democrats to death.