Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio Is the Anti-Rand Paul on Foreign Policy

The two Tea Party senators-turned presidential aspirants present clashing visions of American power


"And Senator Paul, as you can see, likes to suck walnuts in his cheeks." |||

Do you remember the time that the interventionist GOP establishment first sounded the alarm bell against Rand Paul? It was March 2010; Paul the inexperienced upstart was running a Tea Party-insurgent campaign against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's hand-picked home-state candidate to replace the retiring Jim Bunning, and the likes of Dick Cheney were not tolerating any loose talk about cutting military spending and being less eager to take America to war. Former Cheney aide Cesar Conda circulated a galvanizing letter of warning to people affiliated with the Foreign Policy Initiative, including directors William Kristol, Robert Kagan, and Dan Senor. Excerpt:

On foreign policy, GWOT, Gitmo, Afghanistan, Rand Paul is NOT one of us…It is our hope that you can help us get the word out about Rand Paul's troubling and dangerous views on foreign policy.

Cesar Conda went on to become chief of staff of another insurgent GOP freshman from the Tea Party Class of 2010: Marco Rubio (R-Florida), today's 2016-candidate poster boy.

Rubio and Rand Paul have been frenemies in the Senate; on the friend side, the Cuban-American rather spectacularly quoted Jay-Z and Wiz Khalifa while helping Paul out during the Kentucky senator's epic 2013 filibuster on U.S. drone policy. But where the two have clashed even before November 2010 is on an area where they now share a committee assignment: foreign policy. The battle between the two men has and will continue to be a proxy war for the internal GOP divide over how the U.S. should conduct relations with the rest of the world. Here is a sample of their past clashes:

* In October 2010, Rubio opposed cuts in military spending, while Paul supported them.

* In November 2011, Rubio quietly sought to obtain a unanimous consent vote in the Senate to hasten the post-soviet state of Georgia's entrance into NATO. Paul single-handedly blocked the vote from taking place, according to reports.

* During their dueling responses to President Barack Obama's February 2013 State of the Union Address, Rubio decried the sequester's "devastating cuts to our military," while Paul argued that "Not only should the sequester stand, many pundits say the sequester really needs to be at least $4 trillion to avoid another downgrade of America's credit rating."

* In June 2013, in the wake of revelations from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Paul introduced the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act, while Rubio defended both the NSA and congressional oversight thereof, saying "The world changed after 9/11, and it changed after Boston. It's just a struggle to try to balance our deeply held convictions of privacy and freedoms and liberties with our need to provide for national security."

* In August and September of 2013, Rand Paul led the opposition to Obama's threatened bombing of Syria and warned against arming various competing rebel groups; Rubio surprised many by opposing a Senate resolution on authorizing force, but supported arming the rebels.

* In November 2013, Rubio took a number of veiled shots at Paul in a major foreign policy address, defending foreign aid (a constant Paul punching bag), criticizing "voices [who] have used the increasing uncertainty abroad and the economic insecurity here at home to argue for it's best for America to stay on the sidelines," and dismissing "conspiracy theories sparked by Edward Snowden…. a traitor who sought assistance and refuge from some of the world's most notorious violators of liberty and human rights."

* In February 2014, Rubio and several of his Foreign Relations Committee colleagues sent a letter to President Obama urging "targeted sanctions" against Russia over its meddling in Ukraine. Paul was one of only two GOP senators not to sign, and warned his colleagues against "tweaking" Moscow.

* In December 2014, Paul attacked Rubio's "isolationist" opposition to President Obama's thawing of relations to Cuba, drawing passionate pushback from the Floridian.

* In January 2015, Rubio urged his Senate colleagues "to consider a permanent extension of the counterterrorism tools our intelligence community relies on to keep the American people safe." Paul is leading the chamber's opposing viewpoint.

* Also in January, Paul squared off against Rubio and fellow 2016 candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) about Iran and Cuba at a donor conference.

* Last month, Paul's controversial (and overwhelmingly defeated) amendment to jack up military spending was an intentional mirror to Rubio's proposed defense-hike, only Paul's had matching spending cuts to go along with it.

There are plenty of other examples as well. While Paul's exact foreign policy positioning remains a subject of intense intra-libertarian debate, Rubio's does not, largely because since the beginning of his career he has generated headlines such as "Accepting the Neocon Torch: Marco Rubio." As I wrote before their SOTU responses two years ago,

Rand Paul may be triangulating from his father and dressing up his imperial scale-back in the questionably fitting clothes of Ronald Reagan and George Kennan, but he rarely passes up an opportunity to tell Republicans that they need to cut military spending and re-think open-ended interventionism. Rubio, on the other hand, is more likely to slam Obama for not being interventionist enough.

Given that the Tea Party for the most part has studiously avoided foreign policy disputes, this contest for its sympathies is genuinely up for grabs.

NEXT: From 'I Can't Breathe' to 'Fuck Your Breath': Tulsa Deputies Show Stunning Lack of Empathy in New Video of Eric Harris Shooting

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  1. And Senator Paul, as you can see, likes to suck walnuts in his cheeks.”

    What a day.

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      This story shall the good man teach his son
      (for there are no female libertarians);
      And Saint Maximus shall ne’er go by,
      From this day to the ending of the world,
      But we in it shall be remembered-
      We few, we happy few, we band of posters;
      For he to-day that wastes his time with me
      Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
      This day shall gentle his condition
      (except Nikki, for she is the worst always);
      And gentlemen in offices now actually working
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      And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
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  2. “…dismissing “conspiracy theories sparked by Edward Snowden?. a traitor who sought assistance and refuge from some of the world’s most notorious violators of liberty and human rights.””

    Maybe the fact that Snowden was seeking asylum in these shitholes should cause US to pause and reflect.

    1. * thinks about it for a second….. *



    2. Dude, don’t you know that America, under his Holiness, Barack I Obama, is the pinnacle of all fairness and justice in the world, and that Edward Snowden had just respected the chain of command and gone through proper channels, the government could have quickly and quietly prosecuted him for revealing classified information?

  3. Rubio is a neocon leaning political hack, who once posed as a tea party candidate to get elected.

    He’d make a good running mate for the Canklebeast. Please, no more Rubio articles because who the fuck cares.

    1. Hill-dog can rape the domestic public with more laws, taxes, and regulations, while Rubio invades Iran for her.

    2. Please, no more Rubio articles because who the fuck cares.

      Well, maybe a few more to demonstrate what an utter douchenozzle (no offense to douchenozzles) he is.

  4. “The world changed after 9/11, and it changed after Boston. It’s just a struggle to try to balance our deeply held convictions of privacy and freedoms and liberties with our need to provide for national security.”

    Fuck you, you unprincipled, un-American prick.

    1. Don’t you get it? He’s struggling with it so you don’t have to. Trust him. It’s for your own good, honest.

    2. Wow – SOMEONE still lives in a “pre-911 world?”

      * gestures toward Thymirus surreptitiously *

    3. un-American

      Oh, also – RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACIST!!!11!

  5. Can a brother get some information on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, please? Jesus – alll Rand, all the time!

    how about a couple Clitdog articles on a Monday, huh?

  6. Shut up man! Paul’s war boner is just as big as Rubio’s. That’s our story and we need to stick to it.

  7. So let’s see who we’ve got so far for TEAM Red:

    Ted Cruz – Smarter-than-average, but proud member of TEAM AMERICA WORLD POLICE

    Rand Paul – Smart guy, better spoken than Ron, also a little more TEAM than Ron. At least somewhat digestible as a candidate to pro-liberty people.

    Marco Rubio – Neocon POS and party hack.

    Hillary – What difference, at this point, does it make? It’s her turn.

    1. Hillary

      Team Red?!

      1. She’s establishment team, so really should be listed with Jeb and maybe Rubio. Plus there are no Blue team options now, so it’s easier to list her among the announced.

    2. Melowese Richardson, the poll worker convicted of voting numerous times for Obama justified her crimes by pointing out that Obama has a right to be President. Her statement summed up just exactly how many on the left see politics in this nation. It’s their “right” to rule.

  8. As much as we NEED more Rand Pauls in politics, I will be happily surprised if he gets the nomination, let alone win against the criminals on the Left and their vote buying ways, but we can hope, right? …

    1. Given the fact that gun violence by private individuals amounts to a drop in an ocean when compared to gun violence by governments it’s incredibly hypocritical the way progs demand ID be shown when buying a firearm but not when voting. Such outlandish hypocrisy should also set off alarm bells concerning just how much the left has come to depend upon fraudulent and illegal votes to stay in power.

      1. i dont like gun laws. with that out of the way, voter id is a solution without a problem. without a doubt, voting in this country is intrinsically flawed. however the issue is not individual fraud voters, who are vanishingly rare, but because of incompetent vote counting and auditing schemes by partisan electoral commissions, combined with voting machines that rely on deeply flawed, insecure programming.

        tl;dr its not fake votes, its that we cant count the real votes

    1. Oh, and Julius Gaius Caesar for Rand Paul!
      Fuck the Rubicon, the Potomac is the river to cross!

  9. “It is our hope that you can help us get the word out about Rand Paul’s troubling and dangerous views” You know, at the end of the day, it would satisfying to watch the uncomprehending republicans get annihilated by Hillary.

    Sure, a Clinton presidency would not be welcomed by many of you, but no doubt that dread would be tempered by schadenfreude.

    1. Speaking only for myself:
      After Obama, Reid, Pelosi, et al., following the neo-con adventures of The Booosh, well, I have had all the Schadenfreude I need.
      Right now, I am concentrating on the question of whether or not the Republic can survive another establishment President, whether that worthy is named Clinton, Bush, or Christy. I further contemplate the weightier question of whether a Republic worthy of that name still exists to worry about.
      The only silver lining I see so far is that Bush has likely driven Christy out of the race. This seems a very small step in the right direction, in the way that I would rather be forced to eat metal shavings rather than broken glass and metal shavings.

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  11. Marco Rubio Is the Anti-Rand Paul on Foreign Policy

    I bet Marco Rubio would like to “destroy ISIS militarily.” And so does Rand Paul! Wait, maybe they’re not opposites!

  12. Rubio wants to invade and attack all nations for globalists and anti-American war profiteers…Paul is a bit more peace minded.

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  14. Can a brother get some information on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, please?

    Sure: While the Republicans are busy eating their own, Hillary wins.

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  16. Rand Paul’s America-weak foreign policy is one of the main reasons he will not get the nomination. On almost every occasion, he has been against America defending itself in this very dangerous world – in other words, he has been a typical Libertarian.

    Americans know better. We know that a strong defense, and sometimes intervention is necessary. In the modern world, waiting until they storm our beaches is too late.

  17. So: If Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio, are two sides to the question, is the compromise Ted Cruz?

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