Though Rubio is popular among Cuban-Americans, they constitute only 3.5 percent of Hispanics. His conservative immigration positions will be a hard sell among Mexican-Americans, by far the country’s largest Hispanic population.
When I look at Rubio, I see a charismatic speaker whose actions contradict his words. He supports English-only legislation even as he campaigns in Spanish. He champions limited government, yet supports reauthorizing E-Verify, which would require employers to clear, through a national database, every person who applies for a job.
And although Rubio says that Americans need to live within their means, he has had trouble doing so. Last year, The Wall Street Journal inferred that his financial troubles are “epic,” and he nearly lost one of his homes to foreclosure. He is hardly the best spokesman for the Republican message of fiscal discipline.
Rubio has been compared to President Obama, another relatively young politician who quickly became a rising star within his party. Unlike “No Drama Obama,” however, Rubio seems to attract controversy.
As speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, he was dogged by allegations that he used his GOP credit card for personal expenses. In August, he spoke at the Reagan Library and set off a firestorm of criticism when he said that programs like Social Security “weakened us as a people.”
He is feuding with Univision, the country’s largest Spanish-language television network, because he claims they pressed him for an exclusive interview – in exchange for dropping a story about his brother-in-law’s 1987 drug arrest. The network flatly denies it offered a quid-pro-quo. Rubio never appeared; the story about his brother-in-law was aired.