Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dangerous Marco Rubio

And he may just be the next senator from Florida.

There’s a lot of buzz around Marco Rubio these days. Justifiably so. He is running against the Establishment’s candidate Charlie Crist. He delivers stirring speeches and holds the support of the so-called Tea Parties. He’s charismatic and as a Cuban-American, he is a diverse face the Republican Party desperately needs.

He waxes about individual liberty and free enterprise. These topics gave him cheers at CPAC. But there is more to Rubio than this. What so many of his admirers may or may not realize is that Marco Rubio is exactly what the Republicans want in order for them to put a different face on their big government machinations.

He is Hispanic, which is a plus, and even though he is not (yet) the Establishment’s candidate, he does not represent any meaningful change from the status quo from early 21st century Republican politics, only more passionate delivery.

Last October, I first highlighted some troubles with Rubio in “Compassionate Conservatism Revisited?” where Rubio expressed support for a Republican version of a nanny state:

“I thought that of all the candidates, [Mike Huckabee] did the best job of connecting how the people’s social and moral well-being cannot be separated from their economic well-being.”

I also noted that one of Rubio’s political mentors was two-term governor Jeb Bush, who is portrayed in Robert Crew's recent monograph, “Aggressive Conservatism,” as a strong-willed and secretive executive who did not hesitate to stretch the authority of his office to achieve his goals. Sound familiar?

After Rubio delivered his speech at CPAC last weekend, he should give true conservatives and libertarians more reason to worry. Not only does he toe the Bush-Huckabee line of compassionate conservatism, he also makes clear that he follows their foreign policy as well:

“Americans are also looking for clear alternatives on the issues of national defense. . . . there is no greater risk to this country than the risk posed by radical Islamic terrorists. Let me be clear about something. These terrorists aren't trying to kill us because we offended them. They attack us because they want to impose their view of the world on as many people as they can, and America is standing in their way. We need to make it unmistakably clear that we will do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to defeat radical Islamic terrorism.

“We will punish -- we will punish their allies, like Iran -- and we will stand with our allies, like Israel. We will target and we will destroy terrorist cells and the leaders of those cells. The ones that survive, we will capture them.”

This is a startling part of the speech. But let’s break it down.

Let me be clear about something. These terrorists aren't trying to kill us because we offended them

This is a repackaging of the unreflective cliché, “They hate us because we’re free.”

By saying “Let me be clear,” Rubio wants to assure us that there is no alternative explanation to why terrorists hate us. We did not offend them. It would be preposterous to think they could be offended that the U.S. supports Israel unconditionally against the Palestinians, props up corrupt regimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia, militarily occupies lands that Muslims consider holy, and whose foreign policy results in thousands of dead Muslims.

They attack us because they want to impose their view of the world on as many people as they can, and America is standing in their way.

Okay, they attack us because they want to impose their view of the world on us. There is a case to be made for that, but aren’t we currently engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan because we want to impose our view of the world, democratic republicanism, on the Muslim world? We obviously don’t like the idea of living under an imposed Islamic caliphate, so why should we believe that traditional Islamic societies would want to live like secular Westerners especially if it was forced on them?

We need to make it unmistakably clear that we will do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to defeat radical Islamic terrorism.

This comes directly from the playbook of the Israel Lobby: bait Iran, stand with Israel, and stay in the region for hundreds of years if necessary against vaguely defined "radical Islamic terrorism."

Meet Marco Rubio: Bush Republican.


Oso said...

Excellent post. RP couldn't have said it better!

Carl Wicklander said...

Thanks for the compliment, Oso! Glad you liked it.

Jeremiah Whitmoore said...

Top notch Carl! We can't afford to spread western liberal suicide via jihad and reduce the national debt. So much for Marco's fiscal conservatism.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I have some problems with your essay. While it is nice to say that Islam is a great religion, it is a terrible society. I don't want to become involved in long lasting fights for society; I also subscribe to a modified version of the Truman Doctrine. If we don't help, who will?

I have trouble with saying that the world is OK to fend for itself. I was involved in a Truman Doctrine war and it was ill advised. But does that mean all are? Someone has to be the defender of democracy. That said, it's a very thin line about where we go in. I don't care to set out that line, but on a case-by-case basis it's worth exploring. There is no bright line about involvement, but I hate to institute a bright line against involvement.

Carl Wicklander said...

Thanks, Jeremiah.

And so much for his fiscal conservatism, indeed! People see what they want to see in this guy and he's bad news.

Carl Wicklander said...

Law and Order Teacher,

I'm afraid you might misunderstand me a little. Maybe I can clear it up a little.

I'm not saying Islam and Islamic societies are great. Actually, I think the opposite. To make a sweeping statement about them I would call them oppressive and brutal. They have histories and religions very different from our own. Western values are not smoothly transferrable and they're certainly not transferrable through military action.

They have values that don't accept minorities and minority religions. The ancient Christian population of Iraq has nearly vanished because conservative Islam has taken precedence, making life for Iraqi Christians extremely dangerous.

I'm also not against all military intervention altogether although it may look that way. It's just that I can only support the ones that are likely to produce the fewest unintended consequences.

In a vacuum, getting rid of Saddam Hussein was great but a civil war erupted when an oppressed population was suddenly unchained and that civil war may just re-start after their upcoming elections.

Democracy (or rather, a constitutional republic) is great, but it works best for us based on our history and traditions. The idea of a democracy or republic is a western idea that we've had over 2000 years to use and adjust. Countries in the Muslim world have almost exclusively been ruled as dictatorships. Surgically implanting democracies in unstable parts of the world with no history of accepting them looks a lot more like the French Revolution than the American Revolution.

Thanks for the comments and concerns. I would like to write more but I am pressed for time.

All the best.

Teresa said...

My question is: What country does the rest of the world go to and look to first, to intervene in other country's problems or help out?
They usually come to the United States when in need and when they need some type of national defense. So, we have been looked to and maybe inadvertantly made the "world policeman" by the rest of the world.

The main problem conservatives have with George W. Bush was his massive overspending, so for Rubio to follow both Jeb Bush and Huckabee is a good thing. All of these people do represent conservatism- freedom loving principles, limited government, a strong defense, free-market principles, pro-life, and for freedom of religion.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Thanks for your clarification. Your points are as usual, well taken and cogent. I agree with your characterization of the transplanted democracy in countries that would have trouble culturally assimilating them.

I would however, make the point that all countries deserve the right to self-determination, a natural right. Interventions that allow this to occur may, and I say may, be worthwhile.

Democracy is messy and not every country can sustain a republic. After all, we have a problem doing so and we're the reigning pros.

Thanks as always, for the discourse.

Carl Wicklander said...


It's understandable if other countries of the world want our help militarily but that doesn't require us to provide it. To say that we have been inadvertantly made the world's policeman suggests that we are not sovereign over our affairs.

If we do intervene somewhere in the world it must be in accordance with our national interests, not just because there is a wrong going on somewhere. Doing the latter opens the gate for a flood of unintended consequences.

Carl Wicklander said...

Law and Order Teacher,

Thanks for your comment and I appreciate your sentiment.

While democracies can be messy I see interventions as making them messier. I follow what John Quincy Adams said of America:

"Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.

But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

Law and Order Teacher said...

Interesting quote from the author of the Monroe Doctrine, huh? I contend that JQA was the best Secy of State in history, although he was what might be called a limited expansionist. Florida, the borders of the Louisiana Purchase were in his sights. Good find on the quote.

Chris W said...

Great post Carl.

One problem is that the country is looking for something different and will willing to latch on to politicians like Rubio, Palin and a host of others that give great soundbites about how they are different than the hoard currently occupying DC, but in reality they are just more of the same.

We need more libertarian choices like Rand Paul, Gary Johnson and others to get this country back on the right track.

Oso said...

Thanks for reading and responding to my RP post.Both your points about the Fed IMO are correct (power to create such a mess + printing $ rather than raising taxes funding war)and I'd missed them both.

I also realize I'd erred in my example of how Austrian School economics would have been disastrous if implemented immediately following the Lehman collapse;my intent was to portray it as extreme but in hindsight the inference drawn is that the policy itself is disastrous.

I would have done better to have pointed out that had AS policy been in effect almost certainly there'd have been no bubble, if for no other reason than no Greenspan/Bernanke to gum up the works.

Carl Wicklander said...

Thanks, Chris W.

And you're right. People like Rubio and Palin have good moments but they're not really for change. They just use the same talking points that got Bush elected. You and I both know there is something better out there.

Carl Wicklander said...


Don't worry about your errors. I know you were just trying to be objective. It's just good to get people talking about the Austrian school and thinking outside of the box economically.

TAO said...


Here is what I want to know...

How do we put the "Genie" back in the bottle in regards to the stupidity, thats all I can call it, of our current economic policy?

I realize that we cannot continue down the path we are on but I cannot figure out how we can change directions in light of the reality of the stranglehold that Wall Street has on our financial system.

I was hoping that by "Hope" and "Change" that we would see some sanity in economic policy...but so far we are still along ways from the shore of sanity.

Oso said...

I'd like to echo what Tao wrote.
Following the burst of the bubble and its effects I KNEW, I KNEW there would be meaningful reform. To see that pretty much the Too Big To Fail idea has prevailed and nothing of note has occurred, with Obama occasionally muttering "Fat Cats" or trotting out Paul Volcker but doing nothing substantive-I concur we are far from the shore of sanity.

Maybe Obama could toss us his Nobel Prize to use as a life preserver.

Carl Wicklander said...

Tao and Oso, I know what you mean. I probably didn't have the amount of hope you guys did in Obama, but I thought that things might, just might get a little better, even if it was just in foreign policy. The Nobel Prize was a farce for a war president.

But in all honesty, I don't believe there will be any real change, not just rhetorical "change," until after the dollar collapses, there's a REAL depression, or some other catastrophic event. Other than that, the Democrats and Republicans are just going to fight over words and kick the can in the same direction.

TAO said...


Let me be honest...when I voted in 2008 (for only the third time in 32 years (one republican, one democrat, and one anti bush vote) I went in to cast my vote...for Ron Paul.

But then I thought about it and I realized that the pendulum was out of whack and that we were going to suffer some really rough times and I figured that Obama could restore some stability. I figured that with the economic collapse we would have anger and social upheavel and I figured that I black liberal democrat would be able to counter balance that.

So I voted for Obama instead.

So, I basically voted for Obama because I figured a black guy would clean up the mess that all the old white guys created...

I personally think the teabaggers are a staged event...that will quiet down after a while.

Truthfully, we are on the path we are on and I cannot see how, with all the special interests and their control of the two party system how anything can change....

We are kind of like the dinosaurs....we are too stuck in our ways to adapt to a new reality.

But I am going to send Rand Paul to the Senate...I did go to one of his presentations at WKU where he discussed healthcare reform...and I could have clobbered him but I kept my mouth shut...he definitely sees things from a doctors perspective.

I do think his campaign slogan should be "I am NOT in McConnell's Pocket!" :)

Oso said...

Tao and Carl,
To clear my name :) I didn't vote for Obama,I voted for Paul in the primary (in California a registered independent can vote either primary) and Nader in the general election. I couldn't vote for a war supporter.

I got caught up election night, the people here in Oakland were driving up and down the streets, partying and honking their horns so my youngest and I got in the car and joined the celebration. For all of one night I believed in the guy. The following day he picked Rahm Emmanuel for his Chief of Staff and I jumped off the bandwagon.

I think I sprained both ankles when I landed and probably my brain too!


So, OSO...

That leaves on basic fundamental question that those claiming to be conservatives need to figure out:

If both of us are more than willing to consider libertarianism then why do we detest what passes for conservatism today and what is it about republicans that we find so apalling....

Oso said...

(Carl please excuse us for this sidebar)

Here's my take. When I comment on many conservative blogs, I get an ideological response.

Example if I A)criticize Obama's obeisance to Wall St and his support of the bailout,expecting some concurrence or

B)oppose balancing the budget, expecting some pushback-I get the same response:

Govt is always bad, Obama is a socialist, ACORN Van Jones etc etc

I don't mean the Hard Core right sites, I mean the ones who think of themselves as independent and who are critical of GWB.

When I comment on Liberal sites,excepting the Herbalteabaggers who deify Obama I'm in general agreement with most of their positions.

What I enjoy about Carl's site is he is truly conservative, he listens to what I write and offers a considered response to my comment rather than an ideological response. His ideology (not presuming to speak for you Carl, just to make my point) may be the same as many other independent conservatives but he tailors his response to fit a specific issue rather than a one size fits all response.


You know OSO...

Some of us are looking for solutions.....its pragmatism not ideology.

I believe the solutions lie 'outside the box' and sadly, everyone is too entrenched in their ideology to even consider anything other than the party line...

Carl Wicklander said...

Thanks, Oso.

One of the reasons I continue blogging is to have a discourse on issues. The fact that people like you and I can come to some form of agreement, even if it's only on foreign policy or a general anti-corporate stance, it should be fostered.

And it's just being respectful of free speech. You took the time to read my blog and construct a comment. You deserve the same.

When I started this blog a couple years ago, this was kind of a combination of discourse, time-killing, and a little bit of partisan bickering. I like to think that the basic format has changed a little.

For me, to do otherwise is to accomplish nothing. It's not that I don't have a huge list of gripes with Obama, it's just that I don't see the point of airing them when I already have no intention of voting for him.

For the most part, I don't even care about the Democrats. As far as I'm concerned, they follow their platform better than the Republicans. If conservatives want to be mad at somebody, I suggest we should be mad at the Republicans for screwing up so badly and giving us the Obama administration.

Just for the record, I considered voting for Nader in 2008. I don't have much use for his agenda but I do respect him as a principled man of the Left.

Thanks for the visit, Oso. It's always a pleasure!


You know Carl, I have said the same thing you say...

That the conservatives need to protect their ideas from the stupidity that is conservatism and I get told that I 'bait' people...

The reality is that liberalism did not destroy conservatism...conservatism did.

Give tax cuts under the quise of creating jobs all the while increasing spending...and then gripe about Democrats being tax and spend...

Seems to me that taxing and spending IS the most fiscally sound policy.

Deregulating the financial system but leaving Fannie/Freddie/FDIC in place....THAT is an obivous formula for disaster...

Hey, if you are going to let the gamblers gamble then don't give them your credit card...

Don't lecture me about getting government out of my personal lives and then have absolutely no problem with using government to protrude into the lives of others...

Lets find alternative energy sources and lets conserve because I am tired fooling around with the stupid crap in the Middle East...

Pretty simple, pretty conservative, and yet I am a leninist!

You just gotta love it!

Carl Wicklander said...

It seems that we've really lost what the terms "liberal" and "conservative" mean to the point that I don't think defining either term really matters. I basically classify myself anywhere between classical liberal and traditional American conservative.

I may be wrong, but I think the last time I labeled my philosophy in this blog was last summer when I referred to myself as a "seemingly anachronistic conservative" in my critique of Mark Levin's book. It's not anachronistic to me, but the mere suggestion that the government's spending on the military should be curtailed has come to mean, shockingly, "liberal."

When Republicans are in power, "conservative" tends to take on its European meaning of defending the status quo and the ruling regime. When Republicans are out, then government needs to be corralled and bound by the chains of the Constitution, but the GOP is burdened with the big government gene, too.

Sometimes I get the feeling that many well-meaning rank-and-file Republicans really believe that big government, after respites under Reagan and Dubya, was re-inaugurated on January 20, 2009.

I suspect the Tea Party movement, or tea baggers as you like to say, is not staged and is genuinely passionate, but when push comes to shove, they won't rebel against the GOP. New York, where there was already an apparatus in place for them to follow, the Conservative Party, is the only sort of place that could house that sort of rebellion.

Scott Brown, who should have been unacceptable as a "conservative," got the rousing support of the Tea Parties and exposed it as a sham.

Short of some cataclysmic event, we are probably without hope of any change.

Oso said...

Carl and Tao,
At times cynicism takes over and I then become almost certain that the moneyed interests control everything and the office of president is little more than a decoration. He can support/oppose small things like stem cell research but can't change the big money/empire level policy.

Analogous to how much power a student body president has in a high school.

I'm not talking conspiracy stuff, I don't mean a cabal of wealthy people behind the scenes. Rather I mean massive parasitic moneyed interests, interconnected webs of investors and funds and people (think James Baker or Kissinger)in and out of govt whose influence extends beyond any official position.

It really makes me think there's little hope of change;maybe the best that can come out of it is they might not want things to degenerate too far or it cuts into profits.

Daryl said...

Fantastic post and great insights. There is definitely continued problems for the GOP if even its non-establishment candidates are actually establishment candidates.