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.