What a ridiculous quote from Chris Ingram in Alex Leary and Adam Smith’s profile of Marco Rubio

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I’ve never understood what Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith sees in non-consultant Chris Ingram. I get that they run into each other at the Bay News 9 studios, but that doesn’t explain why Smith turns to Ingram again and again for his opinion.

Reading Smith’s Sunday profile of Senator Marco Rubio’s brand, Smith (I won’t blame Alex Leary, who shares a byline with Smith on this story, for including a quote from Ingram), includes this ridiculous quote from Ingram:

“It’s almost like he’s the Backstreet Boy of American politics, a Hollywood creation of what a model political candidate should be,” said Chris Ingram, a Republican communications consultant from Tampa who has been critical of Rubio. “He has to deliver on the hype, but from a P.R. perspective, it’s textbook.”

Putting aside the question of exactly to which Republicans Ingram is a “communications consultant”, I want to explain why this quote is wrong on so many levels.

First of all, Ingram dates himself by referring to the Backstreet Boys. The Boys  were at the height of their popularity fifteen years ago — about the time Ingram still had hair on his head.

Second, it doesn’t make sense to compare someone to a singular Backstreet Boy. No one who still thinks of the Backstreet Boys thinks of them in an individual capacity. What would have made sense, if Ingram is dead set on comparing a US Senator to a teen heartthrob, is if he had referred to someone like Justin Bieber.

Third, the Backstreet Boys were not a Hollywood creation. Hollywood refers to movies and television, Chris, not music.

Fourth, those who say things like “from a P.R. perspective” are the same kind of vacuous ‘communications consultants’ who use their hands to put words into air quotes when speaking.

Fifth, and most important, comparing Marco Rubio to the Backstreet Boys, Justin Bieber or any other “Hollywood creation” is plain ol’ silly as Rubio has never been considered the model political candidate. His is one of the most unique brands in contemporary politics, hence his popularity. 

Like I said, I really don’t understand what Smith sees in Ingram.

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.