Puh-leeze: Why is anyone buying this Rubio-might-have-dropped-out story?

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While the Associated Press first reported  it, I have now read the section of Marco Rubio’s autobiography revealing that Rubio once considered dropping out of the US Senate race against Charlie Crist.

“If I ran for attorney general it would be because my fears had gotten the better of me. … I made up all sorts of rationalizations to disguise my cowardice. … I had just about made up my mind. I had even written a speech announcing my decision and apologizing for disappointing my supporters. ‘Our ideas are strong,’ I intended to say, ‘but our fund-raising hasn’t been.’ Nevertheless I decided to keep my Senate campaign schedule until I announced my decision, figuring the events … were events I would have to do anyway as an AG candidate.

“I flew to Tallahassee and met two former aides … who drove me … to meet with the editorial board of the Pensacola News Journal … Brendan Farrington, the AP political reporter, came along … [During the three-hour drive,] Brendan got a phone call. I could tell it was about me. After he hung up, he apologized for what he was about to ask me. He had just gotten off the phone with a very reliable source in Tallahassee who had told him in no uncertain terms that I was going to switch races. If I admitted I was thinking about it, my Senate race would be over right then. … I was trapped, and I was angry. … In my past run-ins with Crist, I had managed to swallow my pride … Not this time. I’d had enough of their disrespect. I told Brendan I wasn’t going to drop out of the Senate race.”


Rubio, perhaps the most ambitious politician Florida has ever seen, was going to lay down? Nope, I just don’t buy it.

This is false modesty to nth degree, modesty which does not jive with the rest of the story told in “An American Son” or “The Rise of Marco Rubio”, the other book about Rubio released today.

As Jonathan Martin observes, “Rubio’s own account and especially Mr. Roig-Franzia’s effort show us an ambitious young man with an LBJ-like appreciation for the importance of cultivating political patrons. The pattern was on display when Mr. Rubio took his first law job working at the firm of a Miami-area Republican politico who would go on to become state GOP chairman (Al Cardenas); when Mr. Rubio ran for and won a seat on the West Miami city commission, thanks to the support of the popular mayor (Rebeca Sosa), who dubbed him ‘Marcito’; and when he got to Tallahassee as a state representative and ingratiated himself with two of the state capital’s most powerful Republicans (House Speaker Johnnie Byrd and Gov. Jeb Bush).”

“Ambition should be made of sterner stuff,” Shakespeare’s Marc Antony decries during Julius Caesar’s funeral speech in an attempt to change the subject from any focus on the slain dictator’s out-sized ambitions.

Just an Antony was playing his crowd false, so is Marco Rubio. He should’ve spared his readers this humble-brag story about how dark the days were while he was campaigning.

Ambition, after all, should be made of sterner stuff.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.