Don’t bet the farm on Marco Rubio as Mitt Romney’s running mate

Several years ago, there was a publishing house that failed to recognize the potential of a certain, young cross-cultural politician in Illinois.

The rights to “Dreams from My Father” were sold to another imprint for pocket change. Once Barack Obama decided to run for president, someone made a lot of money.

But it wasn’t the company that paid Obama to write his autobiography.

Now, another cross-cultural politician has written another memoir. This time, the publisher knows a long-term investment when it sees one. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrived in Gwinnett County for his book-signing last week with a team of roadies and his own bus, with his face plastered on the side.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio signs books at Discovery Mills in Gwinnett County on Thursday. Marcelo Wheelock, Mundo Hispanico/ Marcelo.Wheelock@mundohispanico.com

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio signs books at Discovery Mills in Gwinnett County on Thursday. Marcelo Wheelock, Mundo Hispanico/ Marcelo.Wheelock@mundohispanico.com

And this is a man who’s only getting mentions for vice president?

But seriously, it was significant that, on Thursday, while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty were in Ohio, doing battle with President Barack Obama and his re-election bus tour, 41-year-old Rubio was at Books-A-Million, engaging in a little free enterprise by selling copies of his memoir, “An American Son.” (Penguin Group, $26.95)

Rubio’s defeat of former Gov. Charlie Crist in 2010, by chasing him out of the Florida Republican primary then burying him in the general election, was the first major eruption of tea party clout in GOP ranks. That the Miami-born son of Cuban émigrés brings something different to the table was evident from the hundreds of people who lined the walls of the bookstore, patiently waiting.

Young men in shirts stenciled with “An American Son — 2012 National Book Tour” hustled fans through at the rate of six a minute – a pace that was efficient, but not rude. Many of those in line were Republican regulars. State Sen. Don Balfour of Snellville waited with five books opened and ready for Rubio’s pen.

“He’s an American dream,” the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee said.

But “Where are you from — originally?” was a crucial part of Rubio’s patter. The Florida senator drew a significant number of Spanish-speakers who normally wouldn’t be seen at a Republican event in Georgia. It is this connection to Latinos – and perhaps his confession that he considers hip-hop “a guilty pleasure” — that makes Rubio so valuable to Republicans looking down the road.

Last month, as his book tour began, a TV news network declared that Rubio was not being asked to provide the documents that would indicate he was among those being vetted as a potential running mate for Republican Mitt Romney.

The Romney campaign decreed this to be untrue. Rubio himself has declared the topic off limits. But there are clues – in Rubio’s book, in a quick interview that preceded his visit to Gwinnett County, and in the general climate – that would lead one to bet that he won’t be paired with Romney on that stage in Tampa.

First, the climate: For the better part of a year, Rubio had worked in the U.S. Senate on his version of the Dream Act, an effort to legitimize the presence of young people brought here by their illegal immigrant parents. Obama’s decision last month to enact the Dream Act by executive order – which Rubio declares to be “too broad” — undercut any effort the Florida senator might make this year.

Yet when it comes to illegal immigration, Rubio has placed himself squarely at the crossroads of Republican thinking. “On the one hand, these are human beings we’re talking about. These are people – many of whom are desperate to provide their families a better life,” Rubio said last week. “On the other hand, a million people immigrate legally, permanently every year to the U.S. Our message to them can’t be, come here illegally because it’s cheaper and quicker.”

Romney took a hard line on illegal immigration during the primaries. Rubio is aimed at a judicious compromise and negotiation. Were Romney to choose Rubio as a running mate, any daylight between the two men on the issue could pose a serious problem.

Then there’s “An American Son.” As campaign biographies go, it’s not a bad read. Like Obama’s autobiography, Rubio devotes much of his book to his immigrant family’s history, and the ability he develops to negotiate among white, Hispanic and African-American worlds.

Rubio also writes about his religious journey – from Catholic in Miami to Mormon in Las Vegas then back to Catholicism, with a touch of Southern Baptist thrown in for good measure.

Rubio is generous toward the Church of Latter Day Saints and its emphasis on family values, but he allows one uncomfortable criticism to be uttered through his beloved grandfather, who attended a single service: “He told me he would never go back because he hadn’t seen a single African American in attendance.”

Six or so years ago, as Obama – like Rubio, then a two-year veteran of the U.S. Senate – was pondering whether to make a White House run, Senate Democrats urged him on. The longer a potential candidate stays in Congress, the less viable he is, they told him.

I asked Rubio if he felt the same. He said no. “The Senate is a platform to speak out against things you think are wrong, and defend things that you think are right,” Rubio said. “My focus has been to be the best U.S. senator I can be. If I can do that, then I will have opportunity to do things in the future – and maybe outside of politics.”

Which sounds like a man ready to make a long-term investment in himself.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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206 comments Add your comment

D Wright

July 7th, 2012
9:31 am

Mr. Rubio does not have the intellectual heft to be either VP or President. He is cuban american and that is why he is republican—the cubans of Florida have never forgiven JFK for the Bay of Pigs–a really great reason to be republican 50 years after the fact!! I live in Florida and resent more and more every day that my views do not matter to this senator or to our idiot of a governor . Democrats never push the other views to the side no matter how stupid they may be. Mr. Rubio is finished before he can even begin.

Centrist

July 7th, 2012
9:50 am

Rubio is destined for a more powerful political office than one of 100 U.S. Senators who simply talk and form voting blocks. VP is not a good job, except it is a better stepping stone than a U.S. Senator unless you make a fool of yourself in that job – which many have done.

If Rubio is not the VP choice this time, or even if he is and the ticket does not beat the incumbent Obama – look to see him become Governor of Florida down the road. Chief Executive of big states have considerably more clout and experience for future Presidential runs than U.S. Senators. Our current President did not have the necessary experience – only oratory skills and the compliant media.

Deb

July 7th, 2012
10:09 am

I’m not a fan of cons, but Rubio and Paul Ryan are impressive. Jindal creeps me out.

md

July 7th, 2012
10:28 am

“Democrats never push the other views to the side no matter how stupid they may be.”

Must be why they used reconciliation to cram the hc bill through……

As for Rubio burying Crist, that was a no brainer once Crist showed he had no convictions by taking his ball and going to play on his own field…….

As for Rubio as VP……I think he needs some seasoning in the senate and it wouldn’t hurt if he ran for governor…..I’m not too keen on electing Presidents where the only experience they have is writing bills and twisting arms……..a la the current guy…..but McCain had the same problem…..lifetime bill writer…….

md

July 7th, 2012
10:37 am

Oh, and as for latinos…..I wouldn’t count on them staying on the democratic plantation of dependence…..as they tend to have a high work ethic, look for them to shift to the center/right once they realize they are pulling the wagon. Then, one would be wise to remember that latinos are for the most part catholics……so their convictions/teachings may also lead them away from the left.

And could it be possible that some cuban-americans don’t like the left because they see the ultimate left leaning gov’t running their homeland?? How’s that working out for them down there??

Centrist

July 7th, 2012
10:39 am

@ md – Well thought out posts.

carlosgvv

July 7th, 2012
10:40 am

As I understand it, Mormons did not allow blacks to be members until their chief “prophet” got God’s ok.

I wonder how many people actually believe that.

Attack Dog

July 7th, 2012
10:42 am

“…Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty were in Ohio, doing battle with President Barack Obama.” Really? 1. They were like a couple of little dogs chasing a Greyhound bus. 2. Jindal has yet to make a coherent speech on public policy and Pawlenty couldn’t make it out of Iowa. 3. Speaking of Iowa and voter fraud, who won the Iowa Republican primary?

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

July 7th, 2012
10:48 am

Don’t bet the farm on Marco Rubio as Mitt Romney’s running mate

Earlier this week Ann Romney suggested they were looking at a woman as a running mate, so little Billy Kristol is floating the trial balloon that Condoleeza Rice as his bet.

But I suspect the sky will be filled with plenty of trial balloons before his selection is made.

Attack Dog

July 7th, 2012
10:50 am

Learn more about why Cuba turned left (yes too far) in the first place and you will find that exploitation and plantations does have meaning, but not the way most Dixiecrats think. Speaking of exploitation and plantations, most Dixiecrats forget their sharecropper mindset was, and still is, nothing more than tools of the aristocrats.

Attack Dog

July 7th, 2012
10:57 am

Condoleeza “Mushroom Cloud” Rice for VP? SMH.

td

July 7th, 2012
11:00 am

I would much rather see Allan West or Newt as VP but I know Romney is to conservative to make such a bold move. I do not think Rubio wants to be VP right now and agree with Centrist on his analysis.

Romney will pick a moderate Conservative with impeccable credentials and nothing the press can exploit on the personal level.

Cynthia Tucker McKinney

July 7th, 2012
11:04 am

They shouldn’t even run anyone against Owebama. To challenge him is racist. Owebama is an economic genius and the economy is going like gangbusters!! Hope and Change Baby!!!! Owebama, Owebama, Owebama, Owebama, Owebama…….

Smarts not gimmicks

July 7th, 2012
11:07 am

Will ya’ll just let “Condi” fade away. (let her make her millions on the college lectue circuit, we don’t need nor want her in public office.) That selection would be no more than token nod toward two supposedly minority groups and a eady made excuse should they lose.) She may be intelligent, but Republican party needs strong wille, well thought of and repected, managment material type that can enhance ticket for a good competive, close fight with actual possibiity of wining.

md

July 7th, 2012
11:08 am

“I wonder how many people actually believe that.”

Does it matter? We all have our own beliefs, none of which can be proven right or wrong……….

One would be wise to understand that even the guy that others think is way out there may be the only one that has it “right”……..

GaBlue

July 7th, 2012
11:10 am

If I had a farm, I’d be tending to my animals and crops. I wouldn’t bet it. As for Rmoney’s running mate selection… it would be hard for me to care any less. The fact is, there’s no way the GOP choice gets any more entertaining than last time. I don’t care who you are… that was some seriously funny stuff.

md

July 7th, 2012
11:13 am

“Learn more about why Cuba turned left (yes too far) in the first place and you will find that exploitation and plantations does have meaning, but not the way most Dixiecrats think.”

Learning about the ancient past has little to do with the present…….the cuban people were sold a bill of goods and then sold down the river…….that tends to happen when folks give up their freedoms. A bit like the recent hc bill…….now that the benevolent gov’t is in charge of holding down the costs, look for more taxes on all the bad things we do like the already enacted taxes on cigarettes and tanning beds…….those are just the appetizer………

md

July 7th, 2012
11:16 am

And I retract that statement about the past, as folks would be wise to understand why the cubans are currently a suppressed people…..they allowed the uber-socilaists to run their lives…willingly.

Attack Dog

July 7th, 2012
11:21 am

Those who forget, have convenient amnesia, or never knew their sorid past are doomed to repeat them. It is funny hearing Dixiecrats talk about freedom and wanting the country back, while the aristocrats are acting like the Wizard of Oz.

DannyX

July 7th, 2012
11:26 am

George W Bush had 6 years experience as Governor before he was elected president, how did that work out? Hint: You won’t see him on the campaign trail supporting Romney. What was Carter’s occupation before he became president?

Marco Rubio’s current approval rating in Florida is 51%, about the same as Obama in today’s Rasmussen poll, 50%

50% is the new 65%

Centrist

July 7th, 2012
11:29 am

Other than generating news cycle speculation that might get more voters involved before October, along with maybe a single state – the VP selection is meaningless.

McCain was a geriatric media hound who had little chance 4 years ago. His desperation choice of Palin probably helped him more than hurt – took the spotlight off his bumbling.

td

July 7th, 2012
11:31 am

DannyX

July 7th, 2012
11:26 am

“George W Bush had 6 years experience as Governor before he was elected president, how did that work out? ”

Better then it is working out now with the current occupier of the White House that has no leadership ability and no idea how the economy of this nation actually works.

td

July 7th, 2012
11:34 am

Centrist

July 7th, 2012
11:29 am

McCain was ahead in the polls (after the Palin selection) before he suspended his campaign to return to Washington to vote on TARP.

Attack Dog

July 7th, 2012
11:35 am

We can always ask Romney to stake us for a $10,000 bet, as long as he gives us the same deal he made with Bain. If we win, we keep the profits, if we lose, we don’t have to pay him back. What a country.

Centrist

July 7th, 2012
11:38 am

@ td – Convention bounces are short lived – McCain was thoroughly trounced. Romney will get his bounce first, then Obama’s much closer to the election with an after-glow which will probably never be overcome.

hiram

July 7th, 2012
11:40 am

I don’t understand how Southern Baptists can vote for Romney, even if the robber barons did place his name in front of the R. on the ballot. These guys are nuts.

“On March 1, 1975 LDS church president Spencer W. Kimball announced plans to build a temple in São Paulo, Brazil.

The problem of determining priesthood eligibility in Brazil was thought to be nearly impossible due to the mixing of races in that country.

After much discussion among the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on this matter, they engaged the Lord in prayer. “It was during this prayer that the revelation came. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon us all; we felt something akin to what happened on the day of Pentecost and at the Kirtland Temple. From the midst of eternity, the voice of God, conveyed by the power of the Spirit, spoke to his prophet…”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1978_Revelation_on_Priesthood

td

July 7th, 2012
11:40 am

Attack Dog

July 7th, 2012
11:35 am

Sort of like the same deal all these people made with their banks. Lets see I make $40,000 per year and I bought a $300,000 home. When the value of that home starting falling I then decided to walk away from it and leave it to the taxpayer to bail out the bank.

DannyX

July 7th, 2012
11:42 am

“Better then it is working out now with the current occupier of the White House…”

LMAO!!! &#$^ is a four letter word around these blogs. Republicans have a fit if his name is brought up. &#$^ had the lowest recorded approval rating. &#$^ had a recession named after him. &#$^ is responsible for the outbreak of a new disease that afflicted 88% of all Republicans called “Eight Year Amnesia Syndrome,” a disease td obviously suffers from!

md

July 7th, 2012
11:42 am

Even Clinton understands the underlying success and need for the Bains of the world…..one would be wise to understand the game before poo pooing it.

If Bain has to lay off 10% of a workforce in order to save the other 90%, that is a good thing…..too many focus on the 10% vs the 90%…….even the VP of the now defunct steel mill the left is always harping about stated they went in search of Bain as a potential lifeline…..not the other way around. Without corps like Bain willing to risk their capital, these corps that are in trouble more than likely just go belly up…….yep, 100% layoffs.

GaBlue

July 7th, 2012
11:44 am

md writes: “…understand why the cubans are currently a suppressed people…..they allowed the uber-socilaists to run their lives…”

Seriously? The Cubans currently plow their good fertile land with animals, and cannot grow enough food to properly feed themselves. Why? Because OUR GOVERNMENT has deemed it illegal to allow John Deere to go in and sell them American-made equipment. OUR GOVERNMENT

td

July 7th, 2012
11:44 am

hiram

July 7th, 2012
11:40 am

“I don’t understand how Southern Baptists can vote for Romney,”

Oh yes, Southern Baptist would much rather vote for a person that believes in Liberation theology and its social justice (equal outcomes) and at worst is a hidden Muslim.

Yes, we have a winner here.

DannyX

July 7th, 2012
11:44 am

Gosh Sarah was governor for 10 minutes, I thought you guys loved that. She was also mayor of Wasilla, you know that grand megalopolis.

md

July 7th, 2012
11:45 am

“Eight Year Amnesia Syndrome,”

Which seems to be a 2 way street, as unemployment under Bush was actually pretty darn good for the majority of those 8 years…..

Attack Dog

July 7th, 2012
11:46 am

I agree. 1. The House that has no leadership ability (John Boehner) and (Paul Ryan has) no idea how the economy of this nation actually works. 2. (McCain’s) desperation choice of Palin probably helped him more than hurt (him among Dixiecrats). 3. Jindal has no added value and Pawlenty wouldn’t carry his home state. 4. Rubio wrote a fictional book and spent over a year and couldn’t come up with a plausible DREAM Act?

GaBlue

July 7th, 2012
11:47 am

… (sorry, hit submit too soon) continues and embargo that punishes innocent descendents and denies a ready free-market avenue whereby American manufacturers (the few that are left) the opportunity to sell goods there that could enhance, or even save, lives.

DannyX

July 7th, 2012
11:47 am

Mitt, take our Governor Deal, PLEASE.

We beg you.

md

July 7th, 2012
11:48 am

“Seriously? The Cubans currently plow their good fertile land with animals, and cannot grow enough food to properly feed themselves. Why? Because OUR GOVERNMENT has deemed it illegal to allow John Deere to go in and sell them American-made equipment. OUR GOVERNMENT”

So you are admitting that their communist/socialist system is incapable of sustaining itself??

Thought so……..

DannyX

July 7th, 2012
11:49 am

“as unemployment under Bush was actually pretty darn good for the majority of those 8 years…..”

Yes, and the Titanic floated before it sank.

hiram

July 7th, 2012
11:50 am

td said:

Oh yes, Southern Baptist would much rather vote for a person that believes in Liberation theology and its social justice (equal outcomes) and at worst is a hidden Muslim.

Does anybody understand what td is saying?

md

July 7th, 2012
11:51 am

And Gablue…..you are aware that Cuba has free trade with many other countries around the world….right? Or does success only rely on American goods?

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

July 7th, 2012
11:52 am

as unemployment under Bush was actually pretty darn good for the majority of those 8 years…..

as the voyage of The Titanic was actually pretty darn good for the majority of it’s ill fated trip.

td

July 7th, 2012
11:52 am

md

July 7th, 2012
11:45 am

“Eight Year Amnesia Syndrome,”

Which seems to be a 2 way street, as unemployment under Bush was actually pretty darn good for the majority of those 8 years…..

We were at full employment prior to the Dems taking back over the House of Reps and the Senate in 2006.

GaBlue

July 7th, 2012
11:54 am

md,

Just wow. Actually, they do pretty much sustain themselves. They make some awesome cigars (I’m told) and export them to countries that allow their citizens to buy them.

For a country full of Worshippers of the Church of the Holy Free Market (amen!), the United States surely is hypocritical when it comes to a little island just off our coast, aren’t we? Administration after administration denies these poor struggling people — who DO work hard and make the best of what they’ve got — the chance to join the 21st century.

But hey, md, please go ahead and make it all about YOUR ideology… you know, if it floats your ego around for another hour or so.

td

July 7th, 2012
11:55 am

hiram

July 7th, 2012
11:50 am

And if you do not understand then you are just another uneducated Obama voter.

Centrist

July 7th, 2012
11:55 am

Back to the bias front – the AJC has an article about some minor Deal technical election campaign issues they want to blow up as if they were huge ethical lapses. At least the AJC admits this: “The complaints, largely based on reporting by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, accuse Deal of …”

Surely Galloway will have to blog about this to fire up his fellow partisans.

md

July 7th, 2012
11:56 am

Wonder if the Titanic had a crew that was doing everything it could to stop the Captain from changing course….. a la the denial of a certain group of people not willing to clamp down on Fannie and Freddie and the out of control nature of the housing fiasco. All one has to do is google the situation and one would realize that Bush was sounding the alarm as early as 2001…..and it all fell on deaf ears.

Attack Dog

July 7th, 2012
11:57 am

Let’s see. Which has more of an impact on unemployment, 1. Losing 750,000 jobs per month or generating 100,000 jobs per month? 2. Aristocrats sitting on trillions or spending billions under Citizens United or finding ways for Americans to be healthy? 3. State public sector austerity programs or private sector job growth? 4. Fracking or a comprehensive and publically thought out energy policy.

DannyX

July 7th, 2012
12:01 pm

“We were at full employment prior to the Dems taking back over the House of Reps and the Senate in 2006.”

And yet &#$^ is still in his self-imposed exile. I hear Romney got a restraining order against &#$^ that requires &#$^ to stay 100 miles away from Romney at all times.

Its called the “&#$^ Recession,” not the “Democratic Congress Recession.”

md

July 7th, 2012
12:02 pm

“But hey, md, please go ahead and make it all about YOUR ideology… you know, if it floats your ego around for another hour or so.”

Has nothing to do with my ideology, it has to do with THEIR ideology……you must have forgotten that the once mighty USSR was (and is) in their corner providing them with just about anything they needed……..wonder why they weren’t/aren’t a powerhouse economy with all that firepower at their disposal………

It’s the system silly………communism(socialism) requires total control from the top down…..

Maybe you have noticed that the biggest communist country on the planet had to turn to quasi capitalism to pull themselves out of the dark ages.

Your little scenario only works if one were to believe that cuba has been cut off from the rest of the world and that is just not true…….

DannyX

July 7th, 2012
12:04 pm

Hey md, why don’t you Google ” &#$^ zero down payment”