Last week, Politico reported that Jose Mallea, Senator Marco Rubio’s former 2010 Senate campaign manager, was backing former Governor Jeb Bush and would be hired by Bush’s Right to Rise PAC to do some “Hispanic outreach” for the former governor’s expected 2016 presidential campaign.
Mallea, who also helped Rubio win his 1998 West Miami Commission race, believed that Rubio would make the better Senator and was more prepared to be Senator than Charlie Crist in 2010. But Mallea doesn’t believe that his friend Rubio is ready to be president of the United States of America.
The decision in terms of who’s going to be a better president and who’s ready to be president — that wasn’t hard… It was a no-brainer for me.
Mallea’s statement has got to sting Rubio un poquito (Espanol for ‘a little’).
But Mallea is not alone in backing Jeb over “Marquito” Rubio.
Fellow Cuban-American and pro-pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens members of Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R), have already stated their support for a Bush presidential run.
Freshman Congressman Carlo Curbelo (R) is also expected to back Bush once he announces, but that would come as no surprise either.
Back in the 2010 Senate race in Florida, all three of these individuals backed then-Republican Charlie Crist over Rubio.
Curbelo even served as one of Crist’s surrogates, bashing Rubio on several occasions during that contentious Senate primary race, leaving a very bad taste in Rubio’s mouth.
Rubio did not forget about Curbelo’s actions, and it showed during Curbelo’s 2014 congressional race, when Rubio refused to help out the former lobbyist and Miami-Dade School Board member until the very end of the campaign.
Jeb Bush is loyal to a fault which would explain why he still enjoys significant support among Florida’s political operatives, donor base, and many elected officials.
Florida Speaker of the House Steve Crisafulli (R) as well as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) have already thrown their support behind Bush, as many more of their colleagues are expected to do the same in the coming months.
On the other hand, Rubio is not considered to be as loyal as Jeb, and this has reflected upon him through the actions of a few political operatives he has chosen to surround himself with.
Even before Rubio won his 2010 Senate race, a huge rift has existed within “Marco World.”
Rubio’s 2010 campaign was divided between his loyal staffers and the “three amigos,” better known as his consulting team.
Oh, and we can’t forget about the fourth Johnny-come-lately member of the team that was brought on to lead Rubio’s election night festivities, who is considered to be the biggest persona non grata of the bunch.
After Rubio was elected, some of Rubio’s most loyal staffers were left out to dry, and that left many friends and soon-to-be former staffers questioning Rubio’s loyalty.
Over the past several years, there have been several non-reported instances of forced resignations within Team Rubio, as well as major infighting between Rubio’s consultants and remaining loyalists, including some of Rubio’s top financial backers and supporters.
When you have a large handful of these loyalists and donors complaining that Rubio’s consultants (especially the balding and vertically challenge ones) have disrespected and outright insulted them, then you have a significant issue on your hands that could eventually boil over into the presidential campaign.
Look, no one is questioning Team Rubio’s ability to promote and properly message the Senator’s presidential campaign, just their tact and blatant disrespect and disregard for anyone they feel threatens their pocketbook.
But while Rubio may have to do some spring cleaning to make nice with many donors and supporters, this reason alone, including his misstep on immigration reform, does not make Rubio any less ready to be president.
Both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are ready to be president, there is no question about that. But is Jeb one of those politicians from “yesterday” that Rubio speaks about?
Remember, during their days together in the Florida Legislature, Jeb Bush himself handed Rubio a sword that many believe symbolized the passing of the proverbial conservative baton, instantly crowning Rubio as his replacement and the future of the Republican Party.
Regardless of how this all works between Rubio and Bush, it will be very interesting and entertaining to see which of the many other Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio loyalists will publicly support one of the two amigos over the other.
Open microwave oven, insert bag of popcorn.