Marco Rubio - a blast from the past
As Mitt Romney has moved into “presumptive nominee” status, the focus has shifted to whom he might choose to be his running mate. The conventional wisdom states that Romney would pick someone to his right, in order to shore up support from conservatives who distrust him. While it is still only April, the name that I see popping up the most is Senator Marco Rubio from Florida.
It’s not hard to see his appeal to the Republican base. Rubio is a child of Cuban immigrants. He is charismatic, smart, and attractive. He has a beautiful family, has connections to both Protestant and Catholic churches, and speaks openly about his faith. His positions are largely in line with the conservative base - strongly pro-life, anti-ObamaCare, and hawkish on foreign policy.
But for those of us hoping the Republican Party can take a new direction, Rubio poses a number of problems. As Jason Pye blogged earlier this week, Rubio proudly declared that George W. Bush was a “fantastic President”. One has to seriously question what exactly he thinks was fantastic about Bush. Was it his wild spending and vast expansion of government in the form of Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind? Perhaps it was the unnecessary Iraq War which cost thousands of lives? Or maybe it was his mistreatment of prisoners? It’s troubling that Rubio considers these things “fantastic.”
Even more troubling, Rubio takes the hawkishness of the Bush years to entirely new levels. Fellow UL blogger Kevin Boyd posted in his blog about Rubio’s foreign policy speech on Wednesday in which he laid out his agenda for an aggressive, massively interventionist policy that considers no part of the world immune from American action. In Rubio’s vision, practically any foreign engagement can be considered valid if it affects America in some way, no matter how indirect. Not only can we not afford this, but Iraq and Afghanistan have clearly taught us the dangers of an arrogant foreign policy that seeks to mold the world to our desires.
It’s clear then that Marco Rubio represents not only a return to the failures of Bush 43, but in fact a doubling-down on some of the worst parts. Making him his running mate would be a signal from Romney that he really has no intention of ruling any differently than the last Republican President. This is something many suspect, but choosing Rubio would confirm it. If Romney has any desire to move the GOP away from the Bush years, he cannot choose Marco Rubio.