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Opening Arguments

Let's hit on Rubio

The New York Times must think Marco Rubio is the greatest threat to Hillary Clinton, because they've come out with a series of hit pieces on him so cartoonish that even other members of the liberal mainstream media are making fun of the paper. (Here's Jon Stewart, just asolutely savaging the Times,) He has a "luxury yacht" that turns out to be a fishing boat. He has a spectacular home that turns out to be a rather modest dwelling in the blue collar neighborhood he grew up in, quite a contrast with Clinton's spacious mansion. He was crushed by student loan debt, which means he can't handle money! His wife has had a bunch of traffic tickets! And he had three himself!

As I have mentioned here, I like Marco Rubio. A couple of months ago, I even brought up the possibility that he and Scott Walker could even be the GOP dream team (whichever one ended up on the top spot of the ballot). So watching the reaction to the Times has involved a certain amount of schadenfreude for those of us on the right.

Still . . . Financial disclousre is important, as Ron Fournier of the National Journal points out in this going-against-the-tide dissent:

1. In his personal life, Rubio is a reckless spender. True, that puts him in the unfortunate mainstream of America today, and nobody should claim his personal finances disqualify him for the presidency. But this is a part of Rubio's makeup worth knowing, particularly if you're a voter worried about reckless government spending, even though you might ultimately determine he would do a better job with the people's books than his own.

2. Rubio blurs the line between political and personal finances. He's not alone of course: See Bill and Hillary Clinton. Still, profiting from public service erodes trust in the political system and exposes political leaders to corrupting influences and even blackmail . . .

f you're like me—and want to puke every time you learn of another fat cat enriching the Clintons while pressing government business—the Rubio-Braman relationship must at least make you queasy. Unless your outrage is selective and cynically placed.

Pretending the Times investigation is about a luxury boat is reductive. It's the kind of shameless spin that enables the worst instincts of modern politicians and the billionaires who own them. It's so—dare I say?—Clintonian.

He characterizes the "dismissing an important New York Times investigation" as the political equvalent of shouting, "ignore the burning forest. Check out this tree!" That my be going a bit far. The Times, in carrying the water for Hillary and trying to savage anybody who gets in her way, is not exactly covering itself in journalistic glory.

But the newspaper, despite its mischaracterizations and seemingly willful distortions, did perform a valuable service that I hope other media outlets will learn from and apply to all other presidential candidates, both Republican and Democrat. I want to know all I can about all of them, including, maybe even especially, their financial histories. I still like Rubio, but I don't want to give him a pass. It's my country he wants to run.