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A Wise Latino Man: Marco Rubio as the Anti-Sotomayor

5:25 PM, Jul 14, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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On the surface, Marco Rubio's campaign against Gov. Charlie Crist for the Florida GOP 2010 Senate nomination looks increasingly quixotic. Crist recently posted a $4.3 million fundraising haul in the second quarter--more than ten times as much money as Rubio took in during the same period.On the surface, Marco Rubio's campaign against Gov. Charlie Crist for the Florida GOP 2010 Senate nomination looks increasingly quixotic. Crist recently posted a $4.3 million fundraising haul in the second quarter--more than ten times as much money as Rubio took in during the same period. It seems that Crist's campaign has been flooded with contributions from the estimable old white-haired-dude caucus, to borrow a phrase from Paris Hilton. Meanwhile Rubio's supporters try compensate for their lack of money with their abundance of enthusiasm by doing things like jumping out of airplanes with Rubio bumper stickers plastered to their bodies. But, as Patrick Ruffini argues, you'd be wrong to get the impression that Rubio is simply tilting at windmills:

ask presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney how far early, high dollar bundler support got them. Or Virginia Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe on how much a 10-to-1 cash advantage is worth. Underfunded candidates like Rubio don't need more money now. The need an argument. A bulletproof argument from a plausible candidate is worth tens of millions of dollars in any primary, overwhelming a financial advantage of any magnitude.

An argument Rubio's got. He has a record as an ideas-driven conservative reformer and promotes an authentic alternative agenda to what the Democrats in Washington are selling. Crist doesn't. He has taken his cues from the Democratic party on a range of issues, from the stimulus and cap and trade to immigration and abortion.

With the nomination hearings of Supreme Court appointee Sonia Sotomayor this week, Rubio is looking to draw a sharp contrast between his vision of the role of the judiciary and that of Crist's. Racial diversity has been one of Crist's primary concerns when making judicial appointments. As the Palm Beach Post recently reported, Crist "spurned a state commission's six nominees for the appellate post in December, saying the roster lacked diversity and asking the commission to reconsider three black judges." On July 2, the state's high court ruled that Crist's move was unconstitutional.

Crist drew fire from the right last March after he nominated Judge James Perry to the state supreme court instead of a conservative. The Florida branch of Planned Parenthood hailed Crist's appointment as "Great news!" "We have a very diverse state and I think it's important that our court understands all the perspectives that make Florida a beautiful place to live," Crist told the AP in March after appointing Perry, an African-American.