Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke predicts Marco Rubio's political future.
Despite all his blustering about making a run for the Oval Office, Florida Junior Sen. Marco Rubio has no shot. Next week, Miami's onetime Republican golden boy will release his second book, American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone, which covers his first term in the U.S. Senate. It was supposed to be a springboard for raising his presidential profile.
But Jeb Bush, by announcing he might run for president, and Barack Obama, by normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba, have torpedoed Rubio's bid before the book even hits the shelves. Rubio is trying to play it cool now that the former Florida governor has all but assured that the Bush family is back in the game.
"If I don't run, it won't be because Jeb is running," Rubio told the New York Times last weekend. "Maybe if you're going to run for county commissioner or to be on the Mosquito Abatement Board or something like that, you may not want to run against a friend of yours."
Rubio has the star power to beat candidates like former congressman Kendrick Meek and ex-governor Charlie Crist. But he has no shot against his mentor, Jeb. Even if Bush opts out of running, Rubio is on the wrong side of Obama's decision to negotiate a truce with Cuban President Raúl Castro. As a result, Rubio would lose Florida to a Republican candidate like U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who praised Obama's move.
By siding with the largely irrelevant Cuban-American hardliners who never want the Cold War to end, Rubio is going against the growing majority of younger Cubans who want to try something new with Cuba. A recent poll of 400 Cuban-Americans conducted for the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, and the Tampa Bay Times shows that 64 percent of Cubans born in the United States agree with Obama's decision. The president won the Hispanic vote in Florida in 2012 because more Cubans want to end the embargo.
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Rubio's presidential aspirations are over.
Tune into Luke on The Andy Slater Show every Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. on Miami's Sports Animal 940 AM.