Marco Rubio, a Fortunate Son

Marco Rubio titled his autobiography An American Son. It's a good read. It's apparently his own work, and it reflects well on him. I read a couple of Kasich's books, Every Other Monday and Stand for Something, and all I learned is that Kasich's a golf nut who has learned some incredibly important things about life on the golf course.

Rubio is a family candidate. His paternal grandfather quit school for work at eight, was orphaned at fourteen, and in middle age was widowed with seven children between four and sixteen. They were left on their own while he scratched out a miserable living on the streets of Havana, with Marco's father and Aunt Georgina getting their own jobs at nine.

The maternal grandfather was the son of middling Spanish immigrants to Cuba, and was able to get an education only because polio left him partially disabled. This man, Pedro Victor Garcia, is responsible for the political education of Marco Rubio. In 1980 Marco was nine, living in Las Vegas, and took an interest in the Kennedy-Carter fight for the Democratic nomination. His grandfather -- Papa -- quickly set him right. While his parents were at work, Marco sat at the feet of this Cuban immigrant, listening in Spanish, learning the virtues of free market capitalism, Ronald Reagan, and the United States of America. Papa believed in the great man theory of history, and assured his grandson that Reagan was a great man who would destroy the communists. Marco decided he believed in the great man theory as well, and dreamed of being one himself, leading an exile army back to Cuba to overthrow the Castros.

To me, this was the most important thing I learned about Rubio. I became a conservative at a young age from reading books and magazines. Marco got it straight from his Papa. It's not just in his mind, it's in his heart, in his blood. This, along with everything else I learned in this book, convinces me that Marco Rubio is the real deal.

In high school Marco was interested in girls, football, and having a good time. He was more successful with the ladies than on the gridiron, but in college got serious and finally graduated from law school with honors.

He's a practicing Catholic who has also attended Protestant and Mormon churches, and feels comfortable in them all.  Most of his football buddies were black, and he's at ease around black people. Marco's "musical" taste is all in his mouth and he's a fan of rap. 

Marco dated his wife, Jeanette Dousdebes, from the time he was 20 and she was 17. After they were married she decided she wanted to be a Miami Dolphin cheerleader, and he encouraged her. He got free tickets, and liked telling people in the stands that that hot babe, down on the sidelines, was his wife. To me, this shows a lot of masculine self-confidence.  If my hot young wife wanted to be an NFL cheerleader I'm not so sure I would have been as supportive.

They've got four young kids, and like most political wives she puts up with a lot. He's out there on the campaign trail, or in the legislature, flashing those pearly whites and being a rock star, while she's home with the kids. The only reason she puts up with it is because she's crazy about him, and she believes in him.

At a low point in his 2010 campaign against sitting Gov. Charlie Crist for the Republican nomination to the Senate, he was offered a way out. Nobody who knew anything about Florida politics thought he had a prayer. Crist had everything:  the governor's office, money to burn, endorsements, and the political skills of an old pro. And the attorney general's office was available. It was a natural stepping stone to the governorship. It would be a piece of cake. He could breeze to a victory, and be poised for statewide office in a couple years while still in his 30's.  He decided to do it. The Senate race was too much, Crist was too hard to beat, and he didn't think he could pull it off.

Then Jeanette told him if he quit he was a cono, a pussy. This was very much against her self-interest.  He was seldom home, always on the campaign trail. If he ran instead for AG he could cruise to an easy victory, and spend vastly more time with her and the kids.  But she was the one who told him to man up.

He's a fortunate son, and a lucky man.

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