Faithful Gawker readers and generally literate Americans already know Marco Rubio is a mouth-breathing spoiled moron who will not be president. But do they know the glorious ways in which he illustrated his crass ineptitude and cynicism this week? Let us count them:
1. Rubio’s top donor paid Rubio’s wife $54,000 a year for a part-time job running a “charity” that gave away a mere $250.
Everybody in the political world knows that Rubio’s presidential candidacy—and his private lifestyle—have been buttressed by millions from auto-dealer and ex-Philadelphia Eagles owner Norm Braman. They know that Rubio made six times the going rate for poor underfed adjuncts to teach a single class at Florida International University after Braman dropped 1oo Gs on the school.
But do they know Braman’s $9 million charitable trust paid 216 times more to Rubio’s wife Jeanette for freelance work than it paid out in charitable donations?
In an otherwise kitschy “meet the woman behind the man” profile of the Rubios last Friday—which mentioned Jeanette’s past work as a Dolphins cheerleader multiple times—Tampa Bay Times political reporter Alex Leary dropped a teeny tiny bomb:
Jeanette Rubio has eschewed the Washington scene, staying home in West Miami. In 2011, she got a job with a charity financed by Norman Braman, the former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles. They knew the job would raise questions, and it has as Rubio’s close ties to Braman, who has funded his political career and employed him as a lawyer, are exposed.
Records show Mrs. Rubio was paid at least $54,000 for her part-time job in 2013. The charity’s IRS forms show it gave out only $250 that year despite having assets exceeding $9 million. The charity spent nearly $150,000 in air travel.
Indeed, that IRS form shows that on Jeanette Rubio’s watch, the Braman trust did more stock trades—at least 266—than it gave away in dollars. Those trades included 250 shares of Conoco Phillips, 419 shares of Eli Lilly, 226 shares of Glaxo Smith Kline, and 829 shares of Bristol Myers Squibb, for a profit of $276,099. The trust also spent $149,237 on “misc airplane trips for charitable purchases.” The only charitable purchase it performed was a $250 donation to a breast-cancer research fund. Unless, of course, you count as charity the $54,000 Jeanette got for her part-time job—a salary that’s about 25 percent higher than the median household income where the Rubios live.
“To succeed in life, you don’t just need skills and a good job,” Rubio writes in his bestselling American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone. “You need to have values like hard work, discipline and self-control.” Apparently, his surefire plan for economic opportunity involves everyone finding a millionaire to finance his family’s lifestyle.
2. Rubio’s plan for a youth-focused “New American Century” is to scare the shit out of everybody.
Here is an actual tweet from Rubio’s campaign account:
The New American Century looks an awful lot like the Republicans’ Old American Century, minus any pretense to subtlety. This is how Rubio hopes to brand himself as the youthful voice of his party. This is how the youth have responded:
This was a damn sight better than Rubio’s gambit last night, attempting to draft off of the publicity from Mad Men’s series finale:
Yep, nailed it.
3. Nothing makes us feel safer than the staying hand of an idiot who can’t string together two coherent sentences about the Iraq war.
What kind of a loser Republican do you have to be to go on Fox News and get nailed for flip-flopping on the war? That’s not a rhetorical question. It has an answer, and the answer is Marco Rubio:
On March 30, Rubio went on Fox’s The Five and was asked “Was it a mistake to go to war in Iraq?” He answered:
No I don’t believe it was. The world is a better place because Saddam Hussein doesn’t run Iraq.
On May 13, Charlie Rose asked Rubio: “After finding out there were no weapons of mass destruction, would you, if you knew that, had been in favor of the Iraq invasion?” He answered:
Not only would I not have been in favor of it, President [George W.] Bush would not have been in favor of it, and he said so.
“Senator,” Chris Wallace asks Rubio in the Fox News clip above from yesterday, “isn’t that a flip?”
It’s hard to describe Rubio’s babbling discomfort at that question. Just watch his response, part of which is:
Based on what we know now, a lot of things—based on what we know now, I wouldn’t have, you know, thought Manny Pacquiao was going to beat [Floyd Mayweather] in that fight a couple of weeks ago.
Well, nobody really thought that before the fight... though they might have hoped. Similarly, nobody with multiple operative brain cells before the Iraq war really thought the WMD argument wasn’t a bullshit cooked-up pretense... though they might have hoped. The “well, now that we know what we know” argument is an obfuscatory feint intended to give war hawks an out, an excuse for not defending an unpopular war in retrospect. And Rubio, who wasn’t in the Senate for the war vote, can’t even execute that shitty strategy convincingly. Because he’s an idiot. An idiot who wants to be president.
There are plenty of terrible candidates for president in 2016. Most of them are calculating, cynical liars. Most of them are smart enough to pull off that sort of cynicism. But then, most of them aren’t Marco Rubio. At least when he returns to private life in 2017, he’ll still have a millionaire on his side, because there are a lot of stupid millionaires, too.
[Photo credit: AP Images]