arco Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida, is widely seen as a potentially strong contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Because of his Cuban background, many within the party see him as the ideal candidate to make the Republican Party more appealing to Latinos. At the same time, he has the type of support from the conservative base that Mitt Romney can only envy, with the Tea Party fueling his sudden rise in Florida politics in 2010, when he handily defeated former Gov. Charlie Crist in their race for the Senate. And Rubio himself has hardly been shy about his ambitions — Romney had hardly left the stage before Rubio visited Iowa, which traditionally holds the first contest of the presidential primary season.
Rubio is also just 42, and his youth was reflected in a recent interview with GQ in which he revealed that his three favorite rap songs are NWA's "Straight Outta Compton," Tupac's "Killuminati," and Eminem's "Lose Yourself." Indeed, Rubio may be the first major Republican politician to confess his love for Niggaz With Attitude, a pioneering gangster rap act that created a nationwide stir in the late 1980s with songs describing cops getting killed and beaten. The irony of a potential standard-bearer for the GOP — whose base has only grown whiter in recent years — embracing music by angry young black men was not lost on commentators. The New Yorker's Alex Koppelman, altering NWA's lyrics slightly, captures the oddness of it:
Straight outta Miami, crazy motherfucker named Rubio, from the gang called Cubans With Attitudes— Alex Koppelman (@AlexKoppelman) November 19, 2012
When I'm called off, I got a sawed off—squeeze the trigger, Charlie Crist gets hauled off— Alex Koppelman (@AlexKoppelman) November 19, 2012
However, Rubio's love of rap doesn't necessarily mean he's a model of progressiveness. In a nod to his Christian base, Rubio declined in the same interview to estimate how old the Earth is, saying, "I'm not a scientist, man." Some Christians believe the earth is only 6,000 years old, and Rubio presumably didn't want to go there. "Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll able to answer that," he said. "It's one of the great mysteries."
Scott Galupo at The American Conservative thinks Rubio might have done himself a disservice with that pander:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Why is American internet so slow?
- What would a U.S.-China war look like?
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The GOP must try to win over African-Americans
Subscribe to the Week