|The Freedom Tower in Miami|
All pics copyright Headly Westerfield, 2016
Rubio made his public announcement at the Freedom Tower (not to be confused with NYC's Freedom Tower), which has great significance in Miami's Cuban community. It's known as the "Ellis Island of the south" because it was used to process the tens of thousands of Cubanos who fled Castro's regime.
However, as much as this "son of a bartender, son of a maid" played the grassroots populist at his Miami launch, Rubio may have tipped his hand towards his true constituency: the Fat Cats, who bankroll candidates hoping for some of that quid pro quo down the line. Before announcing to the general public, Bloomberg tells us:
In a private breakfast Monday morning with about 100 donors at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, he played up the yesterday-versus-today contrast.That Rubio has challenged his former-mentor, Jeb "Forget About My Brother and Father" Bush, has created a schism in parts of Florida's Latino community, which has always been fond of the former Florida governor. However, Rubio's biggest problem might be in 'Merka's wider Latin community. People remember how he first backed a path to normalization for undocumented immigrants and, when that didn't play well in the polls, reversed course. Now it appears he's in favour of creating a 2nd class of citizenship for the undocumented, which would last 10 years.
That theme serves another, more immediate purpose: It allows him to tacitly build a case against his mentor, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, without mentioning him by name. Bush's father and brother spent 12 years in the White House, and he is expected to announce his own bid in the coming weeks. Bush, 62, has been criss-crossing the country since December, trying to build an early war chest of $100 million or more.
In Marco Rubio enters fray despite sliding clout among Latinos, the Boston Herald notes:
See an entire gallery of Not Now Silly images
from the Marco Rubio Campaign Kick-Off.
Poll numbers suggest Rubio’s recent retreat from his previous support of comprehensive immigration reform is hurting him among Latinos. A member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” that drafted a comprehensive immigration reform package in 2013 that passed the Senate but stalled in the House, Rubio later backed away from his support of the measure, embracing a more conservative stance that focused on border security.
A recent poll by political opinion firm Latino Decisions stated that policy shift hurt Rubio with likely Latino voters nationwide, only 31 percent of whom have a favorable view of the senator compared to 36 percent who have an unfavorable view.
In key Latino-influence states, the numbers are more dire: In his home state of Florida, his unfavorable rating stands at 42 percent compared to a 39 percent favorability rating. In California, only 25 percent of Latinos rated him favorably, compared to 39 percent who gave him poor marks.
Rubio, the youngest candidate in the race, is trying to sell himself as a game-changer; a new candidate for the new century. However, the century will be celebrating its Sweet Sixteen by the time of the next national election. As my PoliticusUSA colleague Jason Easley writes in Marco Rubio Faceplants Into 2016 By Not Seeming To Know That The 21st Century Already Started:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told ABC News that he is thinks he can be the candidate to lead America into the 21st Century. The problem is that the 21st Century began 15 years ago.TIME Magazine tells us how Rubio intends to thread the needle of what is predicted to be a crowded GOP field:
During an interview with ABC News, Rubio said, “I think this country’s at a generational moment where it needs to decide not what party it wants in charge but what kind of country are we going to want to be moving forward. I think the 21st century can be the American century, and I believe that I can lead this country in that direction. I can help lead it there from the Senate. I can lead it there as president.”
[...] Rubio’s path to the party’s nomination relies on running a lean, upbeat campaign that blooms late, advisers say. At this stage, being a lot of voters’ second choice can be a first-rate strategy. The campaign hopes the base never warms to Bush, its romance with Walker proves fleeting and the social-conservative vote is divvied up between the various candidates vying for it. Then Rubio’s lean campaign operation will expand rapidly, and he can capitalize on his personal magnetism through the platform provided by the presidential debates. Rubio aides point to the roller-coaster GOP primary in 2012 as evidence that strategy can work.
Videos in this playlist copyright Headly Westerfield, 2016 - Feel free to repost with credit
Now that Rubio has thrown his hat into the Clown Car, the Oppo Knives will come out for him, both from the Democratic side and those in his own party. Maybe we'll finally get to the bottom of Rubio's credit card SNAFU when he was in the Florida legislature. Fox "News" reported (almost exactly 5 years ago) that opponent Charlie Crist accused him of some jiggery-pokery on the GOP dime. From GOP Credit Scandal Threatens to Halt Rubio's Momentum in Primary:
Rubio, a former state House speaker, had a party card for nearly four years and admits using it for some personal expense, but he says he personally paid American Express for non-party charges.That pesky problem went away after Rubio reimbursed the party for some personal expenses that, had he not been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, might very well have sailed through Florida's GOP Petty Cash Accountancy. No doubt this will come up again in the next 18 months.
The controversy comes at an inopportune time for Rubio who has a substantial lead against Crist in the polls and on Thursday picked up his latest high-profile endorsement, from former Vice President Dick Cheney.
On Wednesday, Rubio sent a $2,417 check to the state party as reimbursement for six flights that he said were inadvertently double-billed to the party and to state taxpayers, The Miami Herald reported.
No matter what happens, we're going to be in for a bumpy ride. With as many as 6 more potential GOP candidates against Hillary Clinton, these folks are going to have to move to the Right to appeal to the rabid primary voters. When the party finally anoints a standard bearer, they will have to, in the words of that famous song:
It's just a jump to the leftTo get your election toes'a'tapping:
And then a step to the right
Put your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
Let's do the Time Warp again!
Let's do the Time Warp again!