Remember this story? Sure you do. And now, there are follow ups to it! The New York Times has decided to put its clown-show act into overdrive with still more breathless reports about Marco Rubio’s spending habits. It seems that Rubio decided to use part of an $800,000 book advance in order to get himself “an $80,000 ‘luxury speedboat,’” and the Times seems to believe that this story confirms that Rubio is unqualified to be president of the United States.
Of course, the details of the story are significantly more boring than the Times would have you think:
. . . The 24-foot craft is really better described as an offshore fishing boat, and the price tag includes the motors as well as the base boat. I think it’s fair to say that any personal pleasure craft that costs in the vicinity of 80 grand is reasonably described as a luxury item, but it’s not exactly the extravagantly decked-out super-speedster that the Times report seems intended to suggest.
More here and here (clearly, Jonah Goldberg knows that a picture is worth a thousand words). As Noah Rothman points out–and he is not the only one to make this argument–the Times’s series on Rubio doesn’t exactly hurt the senator’s efforts to identify with the average American. Quite the opposite:
When it comes to his personal finances, no one is claiming that Rubio acted in an unethical or mendacious manner. “I’m not poor,” Rubio once said, “but I’m not rich, either.” Contrast this comment with that of Hillary Clinton who exactly one year ago today declared that she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001; a claim at odds with the fact that the former first family earned $12 million in that year alone.
Again, the pundit class is missing the likely political effect of the Times’ hit on the Rubios. The tale of a young family struggling to make ends meet and, on a handful of occasions, spending beyond their means in order to enjoy a bit of the good life is a common story. If anything, the New York Times has made Rubio more understandable to both average Americans and to those Republican primary voters who are deeply suspicious of the Grey Lady’s motives.
The New York Times seems to think that the Rubios profligacy when they were younger contradicts the senator’s present message of fiscal restraint on the macro level, but this is a tendentious contention. If anything, the Times has helped to craft a financial contrast with Hillary Clinton that will only benefit him if he were to emerge the GOP’s presidential nominee. What’s more, the impression that the talented Republican figure is the subject of reportorial persecution, even if that is an unfounded belief, will likely yield some sympathy from GOP primary voters.
The Rubios should send reporters in the New York Times newsroom a thank you card. That is, if they can afford the expense. The “newspaper of record” has done the senator’s campaign a great service.
Ed Morrissey piles on, as he has every right to do:
So Rubio spent 10% of his book advance on a luxury item? That leaves, what, $720,000 for paying the bills? Funny, no one seemed terribly interested in how the Clintons could afford to buy two expensive houses while later claiming to be “dead broke” as they exited the White House — Bill to a lucrative speaking career, Hillary to the Senate, and both to humongous book advances that dwarfed Rubio’s deal.
You know an attack on Republicans has failed when even Jon Stewart refuses to take part in it.
I imagine that within short order, the New York Times will write a story on how Marco Rubio faces toilet tissue the wrong way. Such a story would be of a piece with the other bits of “reporting” to which we have been treated.