Or see that he sleeps with the fishes, I don’t care which:
Rubio has long been at the top of nearly everyone’s vice presidential short list — and with good reason. Rubio could help deliver the key swing state of Florida, and as the first Hispanic vice presidential nominee he would give the Romney team a fighting chance with Latino voters. His humble roots and compelling personal narrative could help blunt the class warfare attacks President Obama will surely level at Romney this fall. Rubio is telegenic and a dynamic speaker who can fire up crowds and generate desperately needed enthusiasm for the GOP ticket. He is beloved by the Tea Party, and he could help Romney win over the conservative grassroots (who are still wary of an “Etch a Sketch” nominee). In short, if you were to design the perfect running mate for Romney, you would come up with Marco Rubio.
So Rubio should have the VP slot locked up, right? Not if the Great Whisperer has anything to say about it. In recent months, a whispering campaign has spread in Washington suggesting that Rubio may look good on paper, but he cannot “pass vet” for the vice presidential nomination. The whispers became more audible last October following a hit piece by Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia, who accused Rubio of deliberately “embellishing” his family history by saying that his parents arrived in the United States after Castro took power when they, in fact, arrived during the Batista years. (I pointed out at the time that the story offered zero evidence that Rubio intentionally misled anyone).
Then in February came the revelation that when Rubio was 8 years old and living in Las Vegas, his family was baptized into the Church of Latter-day Saints and attended a Mormon church for a few years before returning to Catholicism. Rubio’s detractors pounced, ridiculously arguing that this disqualifies him from serving as Romney’s running mate, because conservatives would never accept an “all Mormon ticket.”
Rubio also faces the lingering inquiry by the Florida Commission on Ethics into a 2010 complaint that he misspent campaign contributions and abused his perch as Florida House speaker to gain a teaching position at Florida International University. Rubio calls the charges “baseless” and politically motivated and recently demanded the commission close out its investigation.
The Post’s Chris Cillizza writes, “We hear whispers that his time in the state legislature could be mined by a good opposition researcher.” And this month, the National Journal downgraded Rubio’s position on its vice presidential power rankings because, it claimed, Rubio “skated into office without much of his past being vetted in the media. That would change in a hurry if he’s tapped for the vice presidency, and coming four years after Sarah Palin had such trouble adjusting to harsh scrutiny, that’s a very real concern for some Republicans. After all, Tallahassee has its own secrets.”
I quote the oracle Rush: they tell you whom they fear. They fear Sarah, they feared Herman Cain, and they fear the hell out of Marco Rubio. Like weasels, you never want to corner a Democrat: when threatened, they get really nasty.