The other night on Hardball I saw a pundit pooh-pooh questions about Marco Rubio’s inability to manage his personal finances because it was “very relatable” to the electorate. I guess the assumption here is the typical American voter casts her ballot according to how closely a candidate’s biography corresponds to her own.
Via MSNBC, here’s a handy, cheat sheet regarding Rubio’s money management woes:
“The basic outline is made up of a few embarrassing elements. During his time as a Florida legislator, for example, Rubio occasionally mixed personal and business expenses, including using party money to repair his minivan, and charging $10,000 to attend a family reunion, which is legally questionable, before eventually paying the money back. He also co-owned property with a scandal-plagued colleague, failed to detail the mortgage on financial disclosure forms, and then faced foreclosure.
“There’s also the odd liquidation of Rubio’s retirement account – even after the senator received a seven-figure book deal – and the fact that he took on more than $900,000 in debt when his net worth was about $8,300.”
Okay, I get living beyond your means is as American as a bucket of fried chicken, but how many Tea Party folk fork out 10K to a family reunion? Rubio boasts ad nauseam that his father worked as a bartender at a hotel and his mother as a housekeeper in a casino.
So what’s the scoop on needing ten grand to attend a Rubio reunion? Did rich non-bartending/hotel cleaning relatives host the reunion or was it his wife’s family reunion? Where was it held, Singapore? The only family reunion I’m ever invited to is in Aiken, SC, a three-hour drive, and we’re talking potluck not haute cuisine.
Here’s what I wish I could relate to in the Rubio bio: “a seven figure book deal,” but alas, all I can relate to when it comes to Marco is his claim that his parents fled Castro’s Cuba when in fact they split under Batista. No, my parents didn’t flee Cuba; I mean I can relate to exaggerating a story for so long the embellishments become calcified into a memory that I believe actually happened. That is, I believe it until some killjoy like Judy Birdsong corrects me by pointing out the old lady twins who lived across the street from us in the story I’m telling were not in fact co-joined twins but just dressed alike and often stood very close together.*
But even though I can relate to Rubio’s “misstatements,” do I want to vote for him because he and I share a propensity to bullshit?
Same goes for Ben Carson. Someone — it may have been General Westmoreland — told Carson if he applied to West Point he would be a cinch to get in, which morphs into being offered a full scholarship (never mind that West Point doesn’t award scholarships).
Oh yeah, besides his bullshitting, I can also relate to Carson’s getting facts wrong (e.g., none of the signers of the Declaration of Independence having been in politics), but what I can’t relate to is his being soft-spoken, highly successful, and getting a 7 figure book deal.
The truth is, I don’t vote for people because they seem as fucked up as I am or whether or not it would be fun having a beer with them.
I vote for them according to how well I like their spouses.
*Obviously, Judy B can really relate to Ben Carson having herself separated co-joined twins.