This is, after all, a guy who sang Sinatra’s My Way at his 1998 wedding to Jeanette Rubio nee Dousdebes.
Rubio acknowledges his political drive is almost an addiction. At one point, in the depths of the 2010 Senate campaign, he was so focused on calling donors that his young son Dominick wandered away, fell in the pool and was moments away from drowning before Rubio found him unconscious.
In the Senate, Rubio writes, a member who’s up for re-election is called “in cycle.” Rubio’s not on the ballot. But he could be soon if Romney picks him. Consider An American Son partly “in cycle.”
Rubio as of late has ducked questions about whether he’d take the number-two slot on the GOP presidential ticket this year. He says he won’t interfere with the process. Before that, he suggested he wouldn’t be offered the job and might not take it.
But An American Son makes clear that Rubio probably won’t say no to higher office, considering his reaction to the Senate seat that came open in 2010.
“All it took was the availability of a high office to expose how intensely my ambition still burned,” he writes.
Rubio prefers to live in West Miami. He doesn’t linger in Washington, where he’s the only Republican Hispanic in the Senate. He’s a point-person for his party on immigration, but faults both parties over the issue.
With an eye on higher office, it’s tough at times for Rubio to acknowledge weakness or fault, which he does at times.
Where President Obama, for instance, admitted drug use in his first autobiography, Rubio is silent about it. He admits to partying in South Beach’s post-Hurricane Andrew renaissance.
A modest drinker at most, Rubio recalls one moment of excess after a 1996 Bob Dole presidential campaign event in New Hampshire. On the flight home, he got into a vodka-shot competition. He wound up vomiting on an operative in front of his first political mentor, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and current state Sen. John Thrasher.
Rubio’s campaigns focused him. Until his first run for local office, in 1998, he seems rootless.
When he was a child, his family moved around Miami and then to Las Vegas for six years. He briefly became a Mormon. He later led the family back to Catholicism and, later in life, his faith grew along with his family and political power.
The older Rubio grew, the more he seems to have regretted spending so little time with his father, Mario Rubio, who worked late hours as a bartender and died just before his son became a senator.
Rubio seems racked with guilt at times for not appreciating his dad enough, having once called him a “scab” for crossing a union picket line in Las Vegas. His dad, struggling with a bad leg and working on his feet until his last days, is the quintessential hardworking newcomer who sacrificed everything for his children.
“He drove a red 1973 Chevrolet Impala for 20 years,” Rubio writes. “He wore a Seiko watch until the day he died, even though its gold plating had worn off long before.”
Rubio is clearly the heir of his mother’s father, Pedro Victor Garcia, a quirky, funny, warm Reagan-loving, cigar-smoking, guayabera-wearing, union-loathing, bingo-playing “autodidact.” He insisted Rubio read from Diario Las Americas to appreciate his Cuban heritage and learn Spanish.