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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22:  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (C) speaks during news conference with America Online co-founder and member of the President's Council on Jobs & Competitiveness Steve Case (L) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) at the U.S. Capitol May 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. Cas and the senators held a press conference to unveil the bipartisan Startup Act 2.0.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Beneath the handsome exterior lies the sensitive soul of a poet.

the national interest

Marco Rubio, Flopper

Marco Rubio is hurt and deeply wounded by President Obama’s criticisms of Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. "Obama goes straight for the argument that his opponents are bad human beings, bad people that don’t care about the plight of other Americans,” said Rubio yesterday. “I think that’s deeply unfair.” To be sure, Obama always takes care to note that he considers Romney a patriot and a decent person but one who has merely drawn the wrong lessons from his business experience. But Rubio is a sensitive soul.

He seems to be especially sensitive about any criticism pertaining to wealthy individuals, or to public policies benefitting them. In 2010, Rubio boldly stood with the largest financial institutions in opposition to a financial tax, to protect taxpayers from future bailouts. For this, some commentators and members of the opposing party criticized Rubio. He found the experience terrifying, writing:

I have been subjected to vicious attacks from Democratic party operatives, liberal bloggers, and even some in the media. …

This is life in Obama, Reid, and Pelosi’s America, where not only is free enterprise attacked, but so too is anyone who dares to defend it.

Only in this socialist hell created by Obama must Americans with right-wing economic views suffer the horrors of public criticism from political opponents.

Rubio had barely recovered from this harrowing episode when, last summer, when Obama called for the elimination of tax loopholes for corporate jets. Rubio was frightened and upset:

“Quite frankly, I am both disappointed for our country and shocked at some of the rhetoric,” he says. “It was rhetoric, I thought, that was more appropriate for some left-wing strong man than for the president of the United States.”

This seems to be a Rubio motif, and quite possibly his most important role within the party other than being Latino. Rubio is a flopper. He takes dramatic public offense at any argument from the other side that violates his belief that high-income Americans should enjoy high levels of prestige and deference to their public policy goals. Basically, he’s Mike Krzyzewski’s ideal politician.

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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images