Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio is being talked about quite a bit as a likely presidential candidate for 2016.
The word among many Republicans is that Rubio’s is among the faces of the new wave, the next generation, of genuinely “conservative” politicians.
As is all too typically the case nowadays, the word is a lie.
Presumably, a conservative in contemporary American politics is an advocate of “limited government.” A “limited government,” in turn, is a federalized or constitutional government, a government within which the vast majority of rights belong to the states. A proponent of “limited government,” that is, does whatever he can do to reduce the size and scope of the national government.
Thus far, Rubio doesn’t come close to satisfying this description.
Arizona is a state that has suffered to no end from illegal immigration, a problem visited upon it by the federal government’s refusal to enforce its own immigration laws. When the ravages of immigration reached crisis proportions, Arizonans passed Senate Bill 1070. This measure empowered the state’s law enforcement agents to remedy the federal government’s dereliction of duty.
Rubio opposed it. In fact, he likened Arizona to a “police state” for allowing officers to ask those suspected of being here illegally for documentation.
Rubio argued for permitting illegal immigrants the opportunity to pursue a college degree. He also contended that they should be able to pay “in-state tuition” rates for it.
But it gets worse.
Not only has Rubio gone on record as favoring the DREAM Act, he favors the same “comprehensive immigration reform” for which establishment Republicans have been calling for years — i.e., amnesty by another name. Of course, not unlike anyone else who favors amnesty, he will never call it for what it is. But any “reform” that grants citizenship to millions upon millions of people who entered our country illegally is indeed amnesty.
Rubio once called upon those within “the conservative movement” to “admit that there are those among us who have used rhetoric that is harsh and intolerable” and “inexcusable.” Presumably, he is speaking of those who oppose amnesty — regardless of what name the Rubios of the world choose to affix to it.
Rubio is typical of Republicans in supporting the PATRIOT Act, with its “roving” wiretaps, and he endorses as well the characteristically Republican idea that “radical Islam” is the largest threat that America faces. Rubio believes that America’s engagement abroad needs to broaden, and he thinks that only if America is the most powerful nation on Earth can it also be the safest nation on Earth.
While delivering a speech at the Brookings Institution last April, Rubio was clear. For those “voices in my own party” who caution America to “heed the words of John Quincy Adams not to go ‘abroad, in search of monsters to destroy,’” Rubio has no sympathy. With such a foreign policy, he couldn’t disagree more strongly, for “all around us we see the face of America’s influence in the world.”
Here’s the question: How, we must ask, is Rubio any different from John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, or any other establishment Republican? How is Rubio a real “conservative” while, say, McCain and Romney are “moderates?” For that matter, how is Rubio all that different from Barack Obama and many establishment Democrats who favor Big Government on these and other issues?
From what we have to go on thus far, it seems painfully obvious that Rubio is no conservative; he is a neoconservative.