I've spent a lot of time with politicians, so it would be fair to assume that my proximity would increase my cynicism about the process, the people, or both. As the saying goes, no man is a hero to his valet – and political consultants are the valets of the modern American political system.
But I've gone the other way. The more time I've spent with men and women in office and running for office, the more I've come to respect the extraordinary pressures they are under and the very personal pain inevitable in a public life where there often seems to be no public space. Unless you have been through it or seen it up close, it's difficult to imagine.
For Congressman and Senators, politics can often feel like a lot of hard work, with little reward. It’s not surprising that many are deciding to walk away.
But some react differently. Take Florida Senator Marco Rubio. He seems to have decided that just being at the Senate prom isn’t enough, that if he’s going to put up with the brutal hours, the public hammering and sweat and tears required to be a successful politician, he’s going to take on the Big Issues that brought him there in the first place.
That’s led us to a remarkable moment in American politics. A junior senator who is considered a future star of his party is taking the lead on an issue that offers almost no foreseeable political gain with the party's base.
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