Senator and presidential hopeful Marco Rubio has been subjected to added media scrutiny lately, and for no legitimate reason.

Many will recall that the New York Times ran an article on June 5 reporting on the Rubios’ traffic violations. The couple racked up seventeen violations (four for Marco and thirteen for his wife, Jeannette) for reckless driving. They aren’t the pinnacle of safe driving, but they haven’t hurt anyone.  While I don’t think any writer worth their salt has an answer for why that was a story, this was only a part of the Times’ fascination with the Rubios. Later that same week, they released this headline: “Marco Rubio’s Career Bedeviled by Financial Struggles.”

In their piece, Steve Eder and Michael Barbaro claim that “Mr. Rubio entered public life in a deep financial hole of his own making” and provide examples of the “imprudent decisions” that landed him there. Of these decisions, his student loans were the bulk of his debt.  How dare he get an education without the proper funding!? Certainly nothing any of us have experienced, right?  Right?

They received a statement from Sen. Rubio: “Like most Americans, I know what it’s like for money to be a limited resource and to have to manage it accordingly,” stating that their goal has “not been to become wealthy. It has been to provide for our children a happy upbringing and the chance at a great future.” The rest of the piece piles on the accusations that the Rubios are poor money managers, thereby implying that he would make a poor manager of the government’s money.

This fallacy went down pretty quickly, however. Even liberal comedian Jon Stewart spent five minutes of his show “asking ‘how is this front-page news’ and calling it ‘inconsequential gossip.’” When it was revealed that Rubio used a portion of his book deal to pay off his loans, Stewart quipped: “You bastard! Paying off law school loans? How dare you. At long last, Senator, have you no sense of insolvency?”

Stewart’s comments are right on target.  In a country where class division on the basis of finance is an inevitable part of political campaigning, Rubio should be thought of as being on the side of those who’ve been put down, either by the egregiously expensive university system or by the engineers of the financial crisis. But, because he’s on the political right, he’s portrayed as just a bad money manager who will run the country into further financial ruin.

Stewart’s tongue and cheek attitude also took over Twitter with the new hashtag “#RubioCrimeSpree” where people would post mundane crimes to add to the Rubio family’s rap sheet. Here a just a few as seen on Michelle Malkin’s site, Twitchy:

 

And finally, his campaign team’s account took a break from work to join in on the fun:

The real shining star in all of this has been the Rubio campaign. Eliana Johnson of the National Review wrote a piece documenting how the campaign didn’t “quibble with any of the specifics,”but instead turned this whole story into a huge asset.  (You can read their response here.) In the ever-expanding pool of candidates, Rubio’s income is on the lower side, but it makes “him a more relatable candidate. The attacks, they say, even make Rubio look like a victim of snot-nosed elites.”

The liberal media may have further inspiration for going after Rubio: they’re scared. In a June 17 article from Politico, a new poll suggests that Rubio is the Republican’s strongest opponent to Clinton in the swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania. Nick Gass, the author of the article, breaks down the numbers:

By a count of 47 percent to 44 percent, Sunshine State voters said that they would support Clinton over Rubio in a hypothetical presidential matchup. Just 42 percent backed Jeb Bush, compared with 46 percent for Clinton in that hypothetical matchup, with both responses within the margin of error.

The election cycle isn’t in full swing yet, with more candidates announcing everyday, but in these early stages, seeing who is going to be able to take on the left is crucial in preparing for the primaries over the next year.

Seeing a major outlet like the New York Times run such a silly hit piece this early in the campaign should make supporters of Marco Rubio’s candidacy feel very, very good about his chances.