Editor's Note: This column was authored by Townhall Editorial Intern, Kyle Bonnell.
Marco Rubio has established himself as one of the country’s most articulate and engaging conservative leaders. Whether delivering a rousing speech at CPAC, debating John Kerry on the Senate floor, or going toe-to-toe with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, Rubio has always spoken the conservative message in compelling fashion. As it turns out, the Senator is every bit as compelling as an author. Marco Rubio: An American Son is a must-read look at the experiences that shaped one of America’s most promising young leaders.
Few will be surprised to learn that Senator Rubio was inspired by the sacrifices of his parents. Marco Rubio routinely speaks about how his parents left Communist Cuba and immigrated to the United States. In these speeches, Rubio always shares that his parents worked long hours at thankless jobs in order to provide their children with opportunities that they never had. In his book, Rubio takes the opportunity to expand on his parents’ story. We learn more about the struggles his parents endured in both Cuba and the United States than we could from a standard stump speech. By the end, it is clear why his parents serve as a constant source of inspiration to the Senator.
Readers will find Rubio’s account of his life after law school particularly interesting. It was at this point in his life that the Senator began struggling to balance his professional, political, and family life. Professionally, Rubio worked for various law firms. The partners all expected the young lawyer to put in long hours at the office. Politically, Rubio kicked off his political career by successfully running for a position as a City Commissioner for West Miami. This position would soon lead to a special election for a State Representative seat. Which would then lead to a successful run for Speaker of the House in Florida, and extensively touring the state to gather ideas for his policy book. During this time, Rubio and his wife would welcome four children into the world. Even during his days volunteering for the Bob Dole campaign, Rubio had struggled to spend enough time with his future wife. The demands of elected office, and then leadership within elected office, made it all the more difficult. Rubio felt guilty about spending weeks at a time in Tallahassee while his wife had to manage a household and four children in Miami. This struggle feels authentic, and leads to a touching moment at the end of the book.
The 2010 Florida Senate race provides the book’s most compelling material. Rubio’s Senate campaign seemingly ran into one obstacle after another. Rubio’s campaign got off to a rocky start. His poll numbers coming out of the gate were discouraging, and his fundraising was dwarfed by that of Charlie Crist. With the Republican establishment firmly behind his opponent, an opponent known for taking revenge, Rubio knew full well that he was putting his political and professional future on the line. A drubbing in the Senate race would likely make him unelectable in the future. On top of that, he was worried that making enemies from the Senate race would make it tough to retain and attract new law clients. These early doubts led to Rubio seriously considering running for state Attorney General. Fortunately for conservatives everywhere, he decided that it was more important to challenge Charlie Crist with a real conservative. Rubio intense rivalry with Charlie Crist (which dates back to Rubio’s time as Speaker of the House in Florida) added an interesting dynamic to the three-way Senate race, and leads to a few of Rubio’s funniest observations.
The rampant veepstake speculation surrounding the Senator made his autobiography a much anticipated release. Senator Rubio managed to deliver a book that more than lives up to the hype. Marco Rubio: An American Son is truly an inspirational memoir and necessary reading for all conservatives.