A key argument is developing between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and it raises the question: What did the GOP learn from George W. Bush?
An interesting and somewhat unexpected argument is beginning to take shape in the context of the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary between the two most prominent Tea Party Senators running for the nomination – Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. It is compelling because it demonstrates a real gap in terms of vision and priorities, but also because it speaks to very divergent views of the lessons of George W. Bush’s presidency, and how those lessons ought to be applied to the role of a future Commander in Chief.
It was technically Marco Rubio who fired the first shot – responding to Ted Cruz’s rising poll numbers with a series of ads slamming him for joining with the ACLU and others (er, supermajorities of others) to pass the USA Freedom Act, thereby weakening the NSA surveillance Rubio values so much and views as essential to protecting the homeland. From the NYT:
“With help from an allied group that is airing television ads in Iowa, Mr. Rubio is seeking to raise doubts on the right about Mr. Cruz’s toughness on national security — a potentially fatal vulnerability, should Mr. Rubio succeed, amid heightened concerns about terrorism. More quietly, he is trying to muddy the perception that Mr. Cruz is a hard-liner on immigration, asserting that Mr. Cruz supports “legalizing people that are in this country illegally.” … Mr. Rubio has taken to tying Mr. Cruz to liberal lightning rods like Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and the American Civil Liberties Union, claiming that Mr. Cruz worked with them “to harm our intelligence programs.” Or that Mr. Rubio is portraying Mr. Cruz as a hypocrite on immigration who backs “a massive expansion” of green cards and of the work visas for foreigners with college degrees and specialized skills.”
The ads and attacks led to an interview from Ted Cruz with Bloomberg – an interview he chose to do as opposed to saving these lines for the next debate stage, which is a notable development in itself. In this interview, he took dead aim at Rubio’s foreign policy, criticizing it from a perspective that painted it as irresponsible hawkishness without thought for the result. Note this portion from Cruz:
“If you look at President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and for that matter some of the more aggressive Washington neo-cons, they have consistently mis-perceived the threat of radical Islamic terrorism and have advocated military adventurism that has had the effect of benefiting radical Islamic terrorists,” he said… “In my view, we have no dog in the fight of the Syrian civil war,” he said, arguing that Rubio and Clinton “are repeating the very same mistakes they made in Libya. They’ve demonstrated they’ve learned nothing.”
What Did You Learn?
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