Thursday, December 03, 2015

No "Proof" Rubio's As Filthy As Everyone Who Follows Him Knows He Is


Looks like today's theme was GOP infighting. It seems hardly worth talking about who's fighting with the Jebster any longer-- last I looked his poll numbers were barely above the margin of error anywhere-- but this just published new book by Buzzfeed politics editor McKay Coppins, The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party's Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House, isn't noteworthy because of Jeb, but despite him. The bits meant to encourage some marketing interest for it was that Jeb's campaign is sitting on a lot of salacious stuff, much of it "unprovable," about Rubio's not-very-conservative moral fiber and character. (This 550-plus page book on Rubio's many faults isn't nearly enough.) No, this is about a "career-ending secret" and the collapse of his "pristine political brand" (sex).

Every single publication that ran with them was sure to mention something along the lines of "these rumors are completely unsubstantiated." For several years before Mark Foley (R-ID) was outed for having sex with underaged congressional pages-- officially for naughty e-mails-- and for several years before Larry Craig (R-ID) was outed for sex with random men in public toilets, every time anyone wrote what was well known about these two-- that Rep. Foley was chasing (and catching young men) and that Sen. Craig was blowing males in transportation hub restrooms-- a wail from the right would arise that none of it was true. But it was. And so is the garbage on Rubio.

There were no photos of Larry Craig with his mouth around any of his trick's penises nor any of Mark Foley transporting young sons of GOP campaign donors across state lines for a little harmless statutory rape and there are no photos of the rollicking good times at the Tallahassee Party House co-owned by Rubio and his sidekick/legislative consiglieri, David Rivera. But the house was filled with free-spending lobbyists, cocaine dealers and hookers.

The Vox headline is funny-- A new book claims Jeb Bush's allies have spread sex scandal rumors about Marco Rubio-- so never to be mistaken as gossip about Rubio's peccadilloes but rather about the nasty accusations from the Bush Machine, which everyone already knows is scurrilous and ruthless. But, of course, it is about Rubio's extracurricular affairs and whoring around-- the lady lobbyist in Tallahassee he was schtupping and then helped get an abortion and the 2 children Rubio has (stashed in NY) with a different ex-Dolphins cheerleader than his wife, the ex-Dolphins cheerleader. Jeb has made sure everyone knows that the rumors are out there, well-known to a cowardly press, and that the Clintons have them and that they will come out. That's added to the chicken-without-a-head demeanor of the party establishment in terms of dealing with the Trumpfian interloper.

"Completely unsubstantiated" or not, the Rubio rumors have been around for years and there are too many witnesses for them to ever go away, although Rubio, of course, always denies that and Rivera is banking on a presidential pardon one day for his related and unrelated life of crime.
Since there's no evidence that these rumors about Rubio have any truth to them, the mainstream press has tended not to mention them in print. But a whisper campaign like this could well lead GOP elites to be hesitant to fall behind Rubio for fear of a looming scandal.

McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed News provides a glimpse into this process today, in an excerpt from his new book The Wilderness. According to Coppins's account, Rubio's team has fought to bat down two rumors that are particularly persistent: one involving an affair, and another that Rubio is "hiding a secret second family." Coppins reports that allies of Jeb Bush tried to prevent Rubio from running in the first place by "circulating the rumors anew among donors and politicos," and that they "tried to convince a number of influential figures in political media that they had the goods on Rubio."

...Indeed, there are also many reasons to doubt these particular rumors (besides, of course, the fact that they're simply anonymous gossip). Rubio won a hard-fought Senate race in 2010 against the governor of Florida, and is now facing some very well-funded opponents in his presidential bid. Allies of Charlie Crist [a notorious closet queen who was not looking for a mudslinging contest], Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz were all surely eager to dig up whatever dirt they could find on Rubio, and likely spent lots of money trying to do just that. Yet so far they've come up with nothing that we know of. Coppins also writes that Rubio's top aide, Terry Sullivan, paid a political research firm to investigate the rumors, and the firm "determined that they lacked concrete evidence."

Still, as with the unsubstantiated affair rumors that helped derail Kevin McCarthy's bid for speaker of the House, the mere existence of this gossip plays a role in the GOP race behind the scenes. Look at this slide from a Bush campaign presentation to donors, which was obtained by David Catanese of US News in October-- and note the last bullet point in particular:

Again, no evidence presented for that last bit, just shady allusion that there's something out there! Since Bush's own campaign is looking so beleaguered, he and his allies could well see rumor-mongering about Rubio as his last chance. (Bush spokesperson Tim Miller denied to Coppins that the campaign had spread the rumors.)

But overall, when watching the race it's worth remembering that the conversations GOP power players are having as they weigh whom to fall behind aren't public. Though it's highly unlikely that they know anything about Rubio that we don't-- again, if there were any actual evidence backing up these rumors, we'd probably know about it by now, or will very soon-- whispers and gossip could well weigh on their decision-making process.

UPDATE: Is Rubio Bonking A DC Lobbyist?

It was pretty well-known that Rubio was screwing a Tallahassee lobbyist when he was Speaker of the corrupt Florida House of Representatives. But now a couple of rightwing, pro-Cruz sources (1, 2, 3) are floating the story about Rubio humping a Republican DC lobbyist/hooker. There's no proof, of course-- but when did Republicans ever need any proof of anything to go crazy?

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