Marco Rubio came to Louisville this week and made it very clear: he and Rand Paul do not agree on all foreign policy issues.
In a soaring speech on the University of Louisville campus, Rubio made the case for American military might around the world, vowing that the U.S cannot “retreat” from international conflicts, must encourage democracy and continue spending money overseas aimed at bolstering the country’s image. He didn’t mention Paul by name, other than when he corrected a questioner who thought a speech he delivered recently called for the elimination of the Department of Education.
“I actually think that was your other senator’s speech,” Rubio said as he flashed a grin, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sitting stoically behind him. [POLITICO]
As I have been corrected many times by readers, Rand Paul's foreign policy and that of his father is not so much "isolationist" as it is "non-interventionist". I'll let you decide if there is a significant difference in those two descriptions, not from the dictionary definition but from what the Paul crowd says.
In the meantime it appears that Rubio, recognizing that Rand has made some very good politicial moves recently, needed to make it clear that there is plenty of light between the two of them as they both scramble for attention in advance of the 2016 GOP presidential primary.
Both are considered to be looking at a run for the White House. Rubio was the early favorite of one TEA party faction on the Hill, but Rand has coalesced an entirely different TEA party movement behind him through his father's network and his own growing favor among the "liberty" and old "Goldwater" factions of the GOP. In addition, Rand has adopted a far more populist approach than Rubio has been able to demonstrate.
But Rubio's comments about foreign policy might cost him with the TEA party. Such comments are often castigated as those of a "neo-con" and a throwback to the policies of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, the "pre-emptive" strike and nation building, regimen changing adventurism that many credit for having broken the bank of the federal treasury.
“We can’t solve every humanitarian crisis on the planet, we can’t be involved in every dispute, every civil war and every conflict,” Rubio told a concert hall filled with young adults and middle-aged Kentucky voters. “But we also cannot retreat from the world. It’s not that America will continue to function as the world’s police officer. The problem is that like anything in the world: If you pull back from it, a vacuum will be created.”
Rubio added: “The alternative to U.S. [engagement] on the global stage is chaos.” [POLITICO]
Rubio might be on a bit of thin ice with the TEA party bunch for some of the things he said in Louisville, but one thing is clear, he's not afraid to pick a fight in the other guys backyard.