Quote of the Day:

My people have been slandered by The New York Times.

–Jennifer Braceras

In a very funny piece in the Boston Herald, lawyer and commentator Jennifer Braceras takes on the New York Times for its now famous report on the driving records of Senator Marco Rubio and his wife Jeannette “Heavy Foot” Rubio. You see, over an eighteen year period the senator racked up four driving infractions! His wife had thirteen. Mrs. Rubio’s transgressions include such offenses as driving 23 miles per hour in a 15 mile per hour zone.

While bad driving is a serious matter, the straining of the New York Times’ article, headlined “Rubios on the Road Have Drawn Unwanted Attention,” to make something of this thin gruel is funny. Jennifer calls the report “a shameless act of what those on the left would call a ‘micro-aggression’ against all Latinas ever pulled over for driving-while-applying-lipstick.”

Braceras writes:

Of course, being a bad driver (or being married to one) hardly disqualifies a person from public office (a-hem, Ted Kennedy). But there is no evidence that the senator is any worse behind the wheel than the average Miami driver; over 18 years, Marco Rubio had exactly four infractions.

Oh, but Rubio’s wife is a menace to society! Jeanette Rubio has had 13 infractions in the same time frame.

Now, as any mom of four kids knows, crying babies, whiny toddlers, and fighting teenagers in the back of a car are enough to make anyone get into a few fender-benders.

But Jeanette Rubio’s real crime isn’t really bad driving — it’s “driving while Latina.” (You know, like Sofia Vergara’s character on “Modern Family.”) Yes, folks, here she is: the crazy Latina who is not to be trusted with the keys to the car — let alone with the keys to the White House!

Are you beginning to sense an ethnic stereotype? As a Puerto Rican with my own not-so-great driving record, I can assure you that there is some truth to this generalization about Latina drivers. But that does not make this story worthy of New York Times coverage.

Braceras predicts more stories of this sort because Jeannette Rubio is “everything feminists hate: model-good looks, femininity, and a life devoted to taking care of her husband and four children.” She is also a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, which is likely to be an unforgiveable sin in the eyes of the press.

Of course, the prophetic Jennifer didn’t have to wait for her prediction to come true. The New York Times yesterday published a new Rubio probe—“Marco Rubio’s Career Bedeviled by Financial Struggles.” Actually, Marco Rubio seems to have been bedeviled by not having been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and thus having to struggle with the kinds of financial challenges most Americans face. I saw some instances of financial messiness on Rubio's part in the story, but I am not going to cast the first stone.

Unlike a story that reveals the shocking news that the candidate has had four traffic tickets in eighteen years, the look into a presidential candidate's finances is a respectable journalistic undertaking. We deserve to know about how he has managed his affairs. Still, the same straining to make something more than is there that one noticed in the driving story is present in the finances story: you should read the story and decide if it bothers you that Rubio, always struggling financially, used $80,000 of an $800,000 book advance to buy a fishing boat—described as a “luxury speedboat” in the New York Times.

At the time, Mr. Rubio confided to a friend that it was a potentially inadvisable outlay that he could not resist. The 24-foot boat, he said, fulfilled a dream.

As I said, a probe into the Rubio finances is a valid journalistic exercise—in fact, journalists would be remiss not undertaking such an endeavor. It is information the voter can use, though it should be put in perspective. Thomas Jefferson, who couldn’t resist building gorgeous houses he could ill-afford (Monticello was a fulfilled dream?) and left enormous debts for his heirs, was a far worse manager than Rubio. Read the Times story and decide if it bugs you that the Rubios bought a fishing boat.