A respectable Republican cloth speedboat

Just one day after breaking the shocking news that Marco Rubio and his wife accumulated some 17 traffic citations over a 20 year period – and downplaying the fact that only four of them were written against the senator (One every five years!  He hardly even tried.) – the New York Times outdid itself by running a scoop (thoughtfully provided by a Clinton-allied opposition research group) to the effect that the perpetually cash-strapped Rubio had so little impulse control that he purchased a "luxury speedboat" far beyond his means.

For $80,000!

Most people of ordinary means would have to think twice before committing that kind of money to a pleasure craft, as Senator Rubio says he did.  But after some reflection, the senator plunged ahead, acquiring the boat he had long dreamed of.  (As do a great many families of ordinary means, if the South Shore of Long Island is any guide.)

It's a lot of money, $80,000, for a man whose savings the Times regards as entirely too low. Then again, it seems short of shocking, especially when compared to the $7 million that Senator (now Secretary of State) Kerry spent on his dream boat.  (Indeed, the money Kerry saved in taxes simply by mooring his yacht in Rhode Island – half a million dollars – would alone pay for Rubio's boat six times over, with enough change left to buy the entire fleet bait for a whole season.)

Senator Rubio lacks Secretary Kerry's knack for marrying rich widows, and he did not befriend any local real estate developer who, impressed with the senator's prospects, gave him a loan and then caused his wife's trust to buy an interest in the transom bait locker.  Senator Rubio has never been in a position to command $25,000 per minute to give speeches.  Nor has Mrs. Rubio ever had the authority, coincidentally, to sign away one fifth of America's uranium reserves to a grateful Russian oligarch.

So how did the profligate Rubio come up with the $80,000?  Did he take a boat loan, as most people do?  Was he so over-extended that he had to accept the assistance of a loan shark?

Nope!  He had a book deal.  The advance, $800,000, was more than enough to pay for his guilty pleasure.

Fair enough, but did the Rubio family really need such a luxurious vessel?

Readers of the Times article probably imagined some kind of power-yacht, with crew quarters aft and a salon plus three staterooms forward.  But no, Senator Rubio's dream vessel is just an EdgeWater 245CC Deep-V Center Console fishing boat.  The choice of moderately successful plumbers and small contractors all over America.

The Edgewater was the perfect choice for a family man like Rubio.  It can carry 11 people and cannot be sunk, even by the U.S. Navy.  Fill it up with water, and it still floats.  Break it up into as many pieces as you like, and each of them will float for the rest of time.  Though Senator Rubio chose relatively modest engines, even those bring the boat to plane in less than four seconds.  Its 140-gallon fuel tank is sufficient to keep the engines running at maximum cruise speed for over 14 hours.

Contrary to the hype, Rubio's "luxury speedboat" is as middle-class as a Chevrolet Impala, and not even the New York Times can make anything more of it than that.

One must ask: what are the kids who run the Times today up to here?  Four speeding tickets in 20 years?  The respectable Republican cloth coat of pleasure boats?  Is that the best they can do?

Follow Jeff Brunner on Twitter at @IconoMatCT.