The Spectacle Blog

Rubio’s Muddled Message

By on 12.4.13 | 5:41PM

Yesterday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) crossed the pond to speak at London’s Chatham House. The speech he gave was intended to honor our “special relationship” with the Brits, while rationalizing a more muscular approach to global engagement.

In the Q&A portion, Rubio sought a via media between the GOP’s hawks (e.g. McCain, Graham, Christie, etc.) and doves (e.g. Paul, Amash, etc.) by declaring the polar paradigm outmoded. In the senator's words, “talk of hawks and doves is 20th-century Cold War language that no longer applies.” Huh.

Writing at The American Conservative, Daniel Larison shelled Rubio’s assertion that “the Iraq war was a vitally important achievement” in Anglo-American relations, after floodlighting the senator’s hollow moderation. Isaac Chotner, at the New Republic, was fascinated by the senator’s flips, flops, and vacillations. Put plainly, Rubio’s a hawk in dove’s clothing, his hesitancies notwithstanding.

Consider his record of armchair interventionism: Rubio supported the U.S. mission in Libya, celebrates misadventure in Iraq, and voted to send aid to post-coup Egypt. Sure, he voted against therapeutic strikes in Syria, but only after clamoring to arm the rebels.

Remember, Rubio’s decision to vote against bombing the Assad regime was purely political. After favoring interference, he realized he needed an image adjustment after the slow-motion failure of his immigration reform bill. At least he’s smart enough to know when not to align himself with a Democratic president’s bad ideas.

Well, here’s my advice to the gentleman from Florida:

“If you’re seriously considering a 2016 bid (and given all the foreign policy speeches, you must be…), and you’re planning to pursue political expedience, please recognize reality. The U.S. public’s support for foreign intervention is at a 50 year low. So says Pew Research, on the same day you called for more muscularity. In other words…we’re more reticent now then after Vietnam. That’s bad timing. Now, it’s not too late to change course, but that might mean ditching the guys who are doling out all the bad advice.”

Just my humble opinion.

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