Let’s give The New York Times some credit right off the bat: its newest attack on Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is substantially more newsworthy than the fact that he racked up four traffic tickets in two decades — but not by much.
“For years, Senator Marco Rubio struggled under the weight of student debt, mortgages and an extra loan against the value of his home totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars,” reads the Times’ lede to a piece entitled “Struggles With Finances Track Marco Rubio’s Career.”
The piece goes on to document Rubio’s financial struggles ever since he graduated from law school with nearly $200,000 in debt in 1996. Gosh, how could voters could relate to someone who struggles with student debt and mortgages and gets speeding tickets? (RELATED: Surprise! NYT’s Embarrassing Rubio Hit Piece Came From Democratic Super PAC)
Perhaps the Times’ concern about Rubio’s bad financial standing would be more believable if we didn’t just have a presidential election where the Republican candidate was excoriated for being too rich and making decisions that were too financially sound. Romney was a heartless bastard for cutting jobs to keep companies afloat and putting his money overseas. Rubio is an impulsive scofflaw for buying a $80,000 speedboat to reward himself after a $800,000 paycheck.
Even liberal journalists like Vox’s Matt Yglesias didn’t see what the fuss was about, chalking the piece up to “oppo” research.
The NYT has taken to publishing some awfully odd oppo about Marco Rubio.
— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) June 9, 2015
To be sure, there are some parts of the Times piece that ought to give Rubio supporters pause. Many of the tricks the Rubios used to stay financially afloat, such as his wife working for a billionaire donor, sound– dare I say– Clintonian.
But most of the time, the Times comes across as deaf to the struggles of the millions of Americans in debt. Rubio’s $150,000 in student debt after seven years of schooling is written off as a “financial hole of his own making,” a perspective oddly missing from Saturday’s Times op-ed urging graduates to default on their loans. Little credit is given to the notion that Rubio’s finances may be where they are in part because he’s donated $150,000 to charity. (VIDEO: Rubio: ‘Ridiculous And Absurd’ To Believe In Constitutional Right To Gay Marriage)
The Rubio campaign, for its part, hit back at the “elitist” New York Times in an angry rebuttal on its website. But don’t be fooled; the Rubio campaign is thrilled. The Times has simultaneously united conservatives in defense of the Florida Republican and demonstrated that, despite having no less than five reporters actively trying to discredit his campaign, the best arguments against Rubio really are unbelievably lame.